by Kenneth Copeland
Have faith in God!
There’s no question about it, that’s one of the greatest keys to victory in every situation. When sickness attacks our bodies, faith in God opens the door for us to receive healing. When we face financial lack, faith in God paves the way for Him to meet all our needs according to His riches in glory.
But did you know we must have more than just faith in God to receive the fullness of His blessings?
We must also have confidence, or faith, toward God.
Faith in God and faith toward God are two different things. Faith in God involves trusting who He is, what He says and what He can do. Faith toward God includes another divine element: an unwavering confidence in our relationship with Him. When we have faith toward God, we are confident that He is not only able but willing—even eager—to do what we ask of Him because of the special place we have in His heart.
When we have faith toward God, we are so assured of His love for us we can walk into His throne room and relax in His presence. We can draw near to Him without the least bit of condemnation and without one iota of self-consciousness. We can bounce into His presence with a smile on our face, full of joy, and say, “Abba! Father! Let’s have a good time together, just You and me!”
Many believers can hardly imagine having that kind of fellowship with God. Even though they love Him, and know He loves them, somewhere lurking in their hearts is a fear that He is still a little bit mad at them. Lingering in the back of their minds is a sense of shame that makes them feel condemned in His presence. Because of their past sins and failures, they assume such an attitude is normal. They figure God expects, and perhaps even prefers, for them to feel that way.
But the truth is, that kind of spiritual insecurity hurts God’s heart!
He paid an awesome price to set us free from it. He sent Jesus to the cross to shed His blood so we can walk into the holy of holies with no sin-consciousness at all, and fellowship with Him. He laid down His own life to purchase forgiveness and cleansing for us so instead of groveling like sinners, we can sit beside our heavenly Father as the righteousness of God in Christ.
God gave His all to deliver us from guilt and shame because, as 1 John 3:21-22 says: “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
Stop Arguing and Agree With God!
If you’re like most believers, however, when you read the two verses above, your heart sinks. Oh, no! you think. I can’t have confidence toward God because I don’t always do what’s pleasing in His sight. Sometimes I stumble and mess things up.
But before you go too far down that track, I want you to notice something. In those scriptures, an uncondemned, confident heart precedes (rather than follows) the keeping of God’s commandments.
That’s because confidence toward God must always come first. It’s what gives us the ability to do the things that please the Lord. It’s understanding His love for us and being free from condemnation that enables us to obey His commandments by loving others.
“But Brother Copeland, how can I be confident toward God when I’ve done so many bad things in my life?” you may ask.
Here’s the secret. Stop viewing yourself in light of past failures, and start seeing yourself like God does. Instead of focusing on the sins you’ve committed in your life, He sees you the way you were created to be in the beginning: as perfect as Jesus Himself!
In God’s eyes, you are exactly as Ephesians 1 describes you: “blessed…with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:…chosen…in him before the foundation of the world…holy and without blame before him in love.”
“There’s no way anyone could call me holy and without blame—especially God!” you might say.
That would be true if He called you that because of your perfect behavior. But He didn’t. He declared you holy before you ever did anything, either good or bad. He called you blameless before the foundation of the world.
To understand how that’s possible you must realize you existed in the mind and heart of God before you were ever created. He knew you before the devil ever got a chance to mess you up. Before time began, He saw you as the pure, perfect child of God He planned for you to be.
He also knew the devil would use sin to try to mess up His plan for you. So before the earth was even created…before Adam and Eve took their first breath…and before the devil ever hatched his demonic plot against them…God put His plan of redemption in place. He established Jesus as the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). He redeemed you…and me…and all who would ever receive Jesus as Lord “with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19).
God didn’t wait until after you sinned to redeem you. He did it before you were even born. He put His redemption plan in place and declared you righteous, holy and blameless before time began. All of that came rushing into your innermost being when you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
So stop arguing with Him and start agreeing with Him! Instead of seeing yourself in the light of your old, sinful past, start seeing yourself like God does—with old things passed away and all things become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). That’s the secret to developing a confident heart.
No More Mr. Mistake
“But what if my past isn’t my only problem?” you might ask. “What if I still have sin in my life today?”
Don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, repent and get rid of it by doing what 1 John 1:9 tells you to do. Confess your sin and believe God is faithful and just to forgive you of it and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
I learned how to do that years ago when I was working for my spiritual father, Brother Oral Roberts. He has a confidence toward God that keeps him untroubled by the kind of condemnation that plagues so many believers. One day I found out why. He looked at me, smiled real big and said, “Do you know that I’ve never made a mistake?”
I had no idea what he was driving at, but I wasn’t about to contradict him. “Uh…is that right, sir?” I said. “You never made a mistake?”
He grinned at me again, his Cherokee eyes dancing. “I did a lot of things that turned out to be mistakes, but I never got up in the morning and said, ‘You know, I think I’ll make myself a mistake today.’”
Then he got right in my face and made his point. “Kenneth, once you’ve made Jesus Christ the Lord of your life, committed yourself to Him, and you are doing your best to obey His Word and follow Him, you may make mistakes, you may slip, but that doesn’t change the fact that you have been redeemed.”
That was shouting ground for me because up to that point I’d always seen myself as Mr. Mistake. But from then on, I decided I am Mr. Redeemed!
Entering the Rest
As I’ve discovered since then, that kind of attitude irritates some people. They think we should have to work hard to please God and be confident toward Him—that we must struggle to win His blessings.
But that’s not what the Bible says.
It tells us to enter God’s rest.
What is “God’s rest”?
It’s the rest of redemption! It’s the rest that comes when we put our faith not in our own efforts but in the finished work of Christ. It is the rest we enjoy once we dare to believe THE BLESSING God spoke over Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is operating in our lives today simply because we are in Christ.
Have you ever thought about the fact that once God spoke that blessing on the sixth day of creation, He considered His work done? It’s true! When God said in Genesis 1:28, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion,” He released all the power necessary for His perfect will for mankind to be accomplished for all time. Through that blessing He put His plan in motion—the plan that would culminate in our redemption and restoration, bring forth His eternal family, and expand the Garden of Eden through THE BLESSING on that family until it filled the whole earth.
Once that blessing was released, “…God did rest the seventh day from all his works” (Hebrews 4:4). He didn’t intend to rest alone, either. He planned for us to enter into that rest with Him. That’s why Hebrews 4:9-11 says: “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
It’s entering God’s rest that gives us confidence toward Him. It’s daring to believe we are holy and blameless before Him, not because of anything we’ve done but because of what He did for us before the world began, that gives us the confidence to bound into the throne room of grace, and say, “Good morning, Heavenly Father! I’ve come to sit here and visit with You awhile. I’d like to just watch You run the universe and learn a little about how You do it!”
A Lesson From Einstein
If you think we shouldn’t say that kind of thing to God, think again. That’s exactly the kind of fellowship He wants with us. One person who discovered that was a little, silver-haired gentleman named Albert Einstein.
When he started coming up with his “theories,” the scientific community got so mad at him they totally ostracized him. They couldn’t understand how he was getting his information. After all, they’d been to the best schools. They were supposed to be the smartest people around, but somehow Einstein was outsmarting them.
When they asked him how he came up with his theories (which, of course, turned out to be true) he told them he would just sit for long periods of time with a tablet in his lap (and a Bible, as people learned later). He’d say, “God, let me come up there with You and look down on this universe so You can show me how You made it.”
Most people consider that kind of thinking sacrilege, but God doesn’t. That’s what He has wanted all along. He always planned for us to come up there with Him and see things through His eyes. He “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6) for that very purpose!
But we can’t fulfill that purpose as long as we’re hanging back from God, hiding behind the throne-room door feeling unrighteous and ashamed. No, we must be able to relax in God’s presence and enjoy His company. We must have the confidence that comes from entering His rest.
I don’t mind telling you, I haven’t always had that confidence because I grew up hearing religious folks tell me I wasn’t good enough for God’s company. For years, they told me I would never amount to anything, and I believed it.
Even after I got saved, I still thought that way because of my sinful past. I’d been born again several years before someone told me I was a new creature in Christ Jesus and those old things had passed away. When I finally found it out, I got so excited I could hardly stand it.
Oh dear heavens! I thought. I’m a joint heir with Christ Jesus! When I come to God, I come in His righteousness, His Name, His blood, His Word, His life, His Spirit, His past and His future. My past is gone! God doesn’t hold it against me anymore because it doesn’t exist!
Get With God’s Program
Even after I got that revelation, I still found myself stumbling at times over the old, religious mind-set I grew up with. It takes awhile to renew our minds and get totally with God’s program. I was reminded of that a few years ago when I got irritated with a bunch of folks who were just too rowdy and happy to suit me. I wanted to be spiritual and they were bothering me by whooping, dancing and hollering all over the place.
That’s enough of that! I thought. Why can’t they just calm down and be quiet?
About that time, I heard the voice of the Lord in my spirit. Kenneth, did you know if it hadn’t been for sin, I would never have had a serious thought?
Huh? I thought, certain I hadn’t heard Him right.
It’s the truth! He said. If it weren’t for sin, there’d be nothing to be serious about. We would have just had a party every weekend. If you doubt it, look at the feasts I prepared in the Old Covenant. I commanded My people back then to have fun, shout and make a lot of noise!
It was unbelieving, heathen Christians who didn’t know anything about My Word, about the Old Covenant and about Me, who decided to be sad about this whole thing. They’re the ones who thought it was spiritual to cry and wear a long face at church.
Of course, I don’t mind you being sorry when you sin, but don’t stay that way. Repent for your sin, get rid of it and get right back in fellowship with Me!
That revelation changed my attitude. I began to realize that if I keep repentance at hand, God and I can have a big time together. If I quit majoring on my failures and shortcomings and focus instead on the love God has for me, I can spend the rest of my life—and all eternity—enjoying the kind of relationship the Apostle John wrote about in 1 John 1:3-4, where he said: “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”
You can have that kind of relationship, too. If you’ll enter God’s redemption rest, you can have more than just faith in Him, you can have faith toward Him. You can have the kind of unshakeable confidence that sends you bouncing into His throne room, grinning from ear to ear, and shouting, “Abba! Father!”
And when it comes to living in His Blessing, that confidence makes all the difference.
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