Welcome to art and life well designed - I am Sheila Atchley, preacher’s wife, artist, life coach, mom to four amazing adults and grand mommy to three perfect littles. And it is a gorgeous day here in east Tennessee, I am so happy my Preacher is back from Haiti - after a week long trip there, along with his son in law Jonathan Howe and our good friend Katherine Kear. This was the Preacher’s first trip to Haiti as the president of Bethanie Missions - he has been many times before, but this trip was special, because of the new responsibility he bears. He and the team went in to document the extent of Bethanie Missions (a new website is currently under construction) in Haiti through photography and videography.
The subject, this July 4th, that is heavy on my heart is the subject of freedom.
The cry of the human heart is a cry for freedom. Grace is a truth we need to be continually renewed in - almost all our issues stem from operating in the wrong covenant. Know which covenant is in force, right now. Colossians 1 says “the Gospel is bearing fruit and growing among you, since the day you heard and understood God’s grace in all its truth.” Grace is something you have to understand - not just hear about, not merely mentally assent to.
Our minds need refreshed and renewed in grace continually. God’s life becomes exceedingly dynamic in us, when grace is properly understood, and more than that, when it is lived out, even in secret.
The law, for the Christian, is outdated information. When you operate on outdated information, you end up mis-informed, and therefore you are both misled and what is even worse - you mislead.
Everyone born into this world is born under the law. The law is exacting in its demands - it is unrelenting in its perfection. It is both perfect, and it demands perfection. The law is clearly in charge as a schoolmaster to point us to Christ. But once we come to Christ, we are dead to the law. We died with Christ, and we have been raised up together with him. In no way are we blessed by the keeping of the law, we are blessed because of the finished work of Christ.
All around the world, people think they understand grace, but their pastors and leaders insinuate that we are still under the law, a tiny bit…because after all, "we are blessed when we keep the law, when we do good." This neutralizes the entire gospel. The perfect law of liberty declares that God has imputed His righteousness to us. The “have to’s” become the “want to’s”.
The gospel is so far from behavior modification. Behavior modification is manipulation and legalism. Grace frees us to operate from a basis of love, and let me assure you - lovers outperform workers, every time. Lovers outwork the workers, every time.
You, dear one, are in what is called a NEW COVENANT. If you have come to Christ, you are out from under the law - even the law written on stone. The law was created to drive you to Christ. Religion drives you back to the law, and you must resist that with all that is in you. You must live, move and have your being in total freedom.
You will be amazed at your fruitfulness and productivity in grace! You do not need the law to be productive in your Christian walk.
Romans 5 talks about the fact that the whole human race is either under the demands of the law, or they are under the freedom of grace. No exceptions. Your righteousness is either given to you as a gift, or you do not possess any righteousness at all.
When Adam disobeyed God, that sin was imputed to the entire human race. By contrast, in second Adam, His righteousness is imputed to those who believe and receive. Good works will never, never, never bring you into relationship with God. At the same time, under grace, good works will flow and abound in your life.
Listen to Romans 5:12 and forward:
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—
13To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.
15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
18Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
20The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Dear one, this freedom from sin and its consequences applies to you. This freedom applies to your children, when they hear this message of the scandalous grace of God, and believe it. So you’d do well to share the truth of it with them. God is no longer counting our sins against us. Because of the sacrifice of Christ, the demands of the law have been fully satisfied, and we are free.
Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. I just want to remind you that if you’d like more information as to my background and who I am, you are invited to visit me at my website, www.sheilaatchleydesigns.com, where there is a lot more of this kind of stuff available. You can also see my art, and get an idea of my coaching philosophy. Also, if you are ever in the Knoxville, TN area on any given Sunday morning at 10:30, I invite you to drop in and visit us at Harvest Church, 6720 Kern Rd. Knoxville, or feel free to tune in via our webcast at harvestchurchknoxville.com
You and I are created as triune beings - we are spirit, we are soul, and we are body. Therefore, any counseling or coaching that addresses you as a whole, the way you are created, is the best counsel or coaching you could possibly receive. I will always be unapologetically spiritual in my approach, dealing with clients as a whole person, including Biblical/spiritual issues - as I am convinced that that is the best approach.