Read an Excerpt
Not GuiltyExperience God's Gift of Acceptance and Freedom
By Creflo A. Dollar
Warner FaithCopyright © 2004 Dr. Creflo A. Dollar
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Master Key
WHAT WOULD YOU say if I told you there is indeed a master key that unlocks everything in the kingdom of God here on earth? What would you say if I told you that the key is already in your possession? What if I told you that it is God's desire for all of us to have the power to transform our lives and the lives of those around us?
To be used by God in these last days, to accomplish something significant for the kingdom of God, we must discover and learn how to use the master key.
God has not hidden full understanding of this master key from us. In fact, those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior possess this key. God has revealed this master key to us through His Word; when we use the key properly, it will open to us the endless treasure of His grace. When we unlock that treasure, we will finally be able to live in the blessings bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus.
I want to warn you, though, that when you hear the truth concerning the master key, you will be tempted to think, Oh, I know what that is, or, I understand that concept. The reality is that many of us do not understand it; we only think we do.
I know this becauseI thought the same thing years ago. Over the last couple of years, however, while searching the Word on a subject totally unrelated, new revelation proved how shallow my understanding was. I realized that I would have to hit the books again and that some of my long-held religious beliefs would have to change. I had to do this because religious traditions have robbed many of us of the deep and rich relationship God desires to have with us.
I am convinced that man-made doctrines of religious tradition are the greatest enemy of the church today. This kind of religion creates a consciousness and a system of beliefs that can cause us to completely misunderstand our relationship with God. This form of religion denies the life and power of the gospel of Jesus.
Now, after eighteen years of periodic study and three years of intense study, I share this master key with you. It will be no surprise to me, however, if the Lord is not yet finished revealing layers of understanding concerning this subject.
Righteousness is the master key. By correctly understanding how righteousness works in God's plan for man, we can more effectively use this master key to open the treasures of the kingdom of God.
Justified by Righteousness
Let's begin with a foundational Scripture that puts the various elements of righteousness in perspective. Let's examine this passage from Romans chapter 3 in The Amplified Bible. It is a bit long, but I encourage you to slowly read it all the way through.
For no person will be justified (made righteous, acquitted, and judged acceptable) in His sight by observing the works prescribed by the Law. For [the real function of] the Law is to make men recognize and be conscious of sin [not mere perception, but an acquaintance with sin which works toward repentance, faith, and holy character].
But now the righteousness of God has been revealed independently and altogether apart from the Law, although actually it is attested by the Law and the Prophets,
Namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [And it is meant] for all who believe. For there is no distinction,
Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives.
[All] are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus,
Whom God put forward [before the eyes of all] as a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood [the cleansing and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation, to be received] through faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over and ignored former sins without punishment.
It was to demonstrate and prove at the present time (in the now season) that He Himself is righteous and that He justifies and accepts as righteous him who has [true] faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:20-26 AMP
Notice what's at stake where our righteousness is concerned: justification. We are either justified by faith or not at all.
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified ..." (v. 20). That word justified means "declared righteous." In other words, we are righteous for no other reason than the fact that God has declared us righteous.
Verses 21-22 say, "being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith. ..."
Righteousness by faith is a little like being born into a family. I was born into the Dollar family. I am a Dollar based on my family's declaration. I did not have to do anything to become a part of the Dollar family. My parents simply declared me "Creflo Dollar."
The same kind of dynamic is at work when we are born again. When we realize we need a Savior to forgive our sins and bring us into fellowship with God, and we ask Jesus to do those things, we are born again. When we are born again, we are declared righteous and made members of the family of God. Being born again does not include instructions on how to do something to become righteous. They are not necessary. We are born again and declared righteous by the Word through our faith and belief in Jesus Christ.
Justified by Faith
Justification by declaration began with Abraham.
What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
[But] if so, what shall we say about Abraham, our forefather humanly speaking-[what did he] find out? [How does this affect his position, and what was gained by him?]
For if Abraham was justified (established as just by acquittal from guilt) by good works [that he did, then] he has grounds for boasting. But not before God!
Romans 4:1,2 AMP
Notice that if Abraham's acquittal, deliverance, and justification had come by good works, then he would have had the right to boast. However, the Scripture says, "Abraham believed in (trusted in) God, and it was credited to his account as righteousness (right living and right standing with God)" (Rom. 4:3 AMP).
Abraham was righteous purely because he believed God.
The righteousness Abraham received is the righteousness provided to him by the covenant God made with him. A covenant can be defined as "an agreement between two or more parties to carry out the terms agreed upon," or "a blood-sworn oath that can only be broken by death." Out of that covenant, righteousness was born.
After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
Out of God's covenant with Abraham, the everlasting, unconditional love of God was manifested toward all who believe.
What did Abraham do to deserve God's visitation and offer to enter into covenant with Him? Nothing. No righteous deeds, no salvation prayer. Yet, God showed up one day to make Abraham a promise. He promised Abraham that He would make him a father of many nations, that He would prosper and bless him; and Abraham agreed.
God was looking for someone who would simply believe Him so He could manifest His goodness toward Abraham and generations to follow. He could not bless Abraham if he would not believe Him.
Let's say, for instance, that I am a stranger. If I ask you to meet me so that I can give you $10,000 and you don't believe me, you probably will not agree to meet me. Maybe you're thinking, I don't know you, or, I don't deserve what you're trying to give me. In any event, if you don't believe me, I am unable to give you anything.
Years ago, I was shopping at a well-known shoe store and overheard a man who was inquiring about layaway for a pair of shoes he had selected. The Lord spoke to me and said, Buy those shoes for him. So, I approached the man and asked if those were the shoes he wanted. They were, he replied. I then asked the clerk to wrap them up and give the man his shoes and I would pay for them. However, the man was unable to receive the gift because he couldn't believe that a stranger would actually buy him a pair of shoes. He felt that he had to do something in return for what I had offered.
Sadly, he felt he had to earn the gift. He had a problem with receiving. As a result, I could not give it to him even though I really wanted to.
All God wanted Abraham to do was believe Him. Abraham would have never known about God's love or His giving without first believing Him. Neither would he have known about His power or His righteousness without first believing.
I believe God's plan for man is simple. Yet, you will never experience any of God's promises until you do what Abraham did: "And he believed in the Lord; and he [God] counted it to him for righteousness" (v. 6).
The Bible says that Abraham was a righteous man because he believed what God said.
From then on, whatever else God said, he also believed-even when it came to his son.
And he [God] said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
Why would God tell a man to take his own son, whom he loved, and kill him? Abraham needed Isaac because there was no way his seed could continue unless Isaac was preserved.
If Abraham was going to have offspring that would outnumber the stars according to the promise of Genesis 15:5, then Isaac had to live. Abraham had to believe God, expecting that something would happen to preserve his son. By believing God, Abraham was made righteous.
The Action of Faith
We often hear people say that they believe. Yet, until we understand the connection between belief and faith, we will wonder why our prayers remain unanswered. If it seems that our prayers are not being answered, God is not to blame. We have to look at ourselves. It may be that we have to learn the connection between belief and faith.
Belief can refer to the mental acceptance of something as truth, though absolute certainty may be absent. A problem arises, however, when you believe something to be true and never act on it. This is where faith comes in.
Faith is acting on what you believe. It is the appropriate, corresponding, suitable, and proper action. For example, when you sit in a chair, you believe that the chair will provide support. Therefore, the appropriate corresponding action is to sit in the Chair-with no thought concerning the chair's ability to support you.
For years we have declared that we were standing in faith for our healing when, in fact, we have only believed in God's ability to heal. We have also confessed God's delight in the prosperity of His servant, yet we have never moved from that place of belief.
Faith requires corresponding action, not just any action. (James 2:17,20,26.) For example, if someone believes that God is going to heal his or her eyes, there has to be some kind of action; otherwise, it is not faith.
We have to find an action that will correspond with the release of our faith. However, many of us have acted improperly by doing things that did not correspond with our faith. In the case of believing for restored eyesight, for example, some of us have stopped wearing our glasses. Well, that is not going to work if we cannot see without them. Many of us have judged our faith on the action part when it was the wrong action.
In a situation like this, you should thankfully declare that your eyes are totally healed and put on your glasses. The action of putting on your glasses corresponds with your faith to be healed.
Belief starts everything. Unbelief stops anything. You may say, "I believe," but something else is required.
Exercising your faith is the corresponding action to your belief according to the Word of God. Faith is what carries it to completion. Abraham believed God, and God called it righteousness. Belief got it started. God showed up in Genesis 15 and made a covenant with him. In effect, God said, "I have to persuade him to believe. If I can persuade him to believe, he can begin the process."
In order for Abraham to become the Father of Faith, his action had to correspond with what he said he believed; hence, the trip to Mount Moriah to slay his son. (Gen. 22.)
People often wonder if God will do something for them. Yet, they have never come to the point of completing the necessary requirements to begin the process. They pass off wishing as believing. There is absolutely no faith in wishing. In and of itself, believing will not bring anything to pass; neither will wishing. At some point you have to believe what the Word of God says and begin to move forward with a corresponding action.
Are you still believing God for something and frustrated because you have not seen it? Then come out of belief mode, and get into action mode. When you believe it so much that you are willing to say it and act on it, your faith becomes ignited. You can then expect God to do great things.
The test of belief is the movement it produces. The centurion's belief that Jesus could heal his servant moved him into the presence of Jesus. When Jesus heard the centurion say, "Speak the word only and my servant shall be healed," He also heard great faith for healing. Then the man's servant was healed. (Matt. 8:5-10.)
When the angel Gabriel declared that Mary would have a son named Jesus, she chose to believe him. Her corresponding action was her statement, "Be it unto me according to thy word" (Luke 1:38).
If you believe you are the righteousness of God, it will move you to begin exercising your rights. If you believe God can remove your debt, you will begin to apply the principles that will release you from debt. If you believe God can heal your body, you will activate the principles that will bring healing.
Say this out loud with all your heart:
Heavenly Father, I declare now that my beliefs shall not stand alone. Your Word declares that I have been given the measure of faith, so right now I add that measure of faith to my beliefs. By faith I declare that I am justified. I am the righteousness of God by faith. I live by faith.
Father, I believe; therefore, I will exercise my rights. Lord, my belief moves me, and my faith has appeared. I walk by faith and not by sight. I walk by the Word of God. This is my faith and I receive it now, in Jesus' name!
Doubt and unbelief, go! Leave me now, for I live by faith. Amen.
[All] are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:24 AMP
Excerpted from Not Guilty by Creflo A. Dollar Copyright ©2004 by Dr. Creflo A. Dollar. Excerpted by permission.
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