Thursday, May 24, 2012

LEGALISM IN 2012...TWO THOUSAND YEARS LATER!!!


In the prior posting we discussed early legalism and its roots some 50 years after the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ in approximately 32 AD. Back then circumcision in particular and OT law were the driving forces for division and gospel fraud, causing Paul to write that famous rebuke to the church at Galatia. Make no mistake, that Epistle was a firm, no-nonsense REBUKE from our most famous Hebrew disciple himself. Early in his life he epitomized legalism as a Pharisee, while passing judgement on all those who broke the "laws" of God. Then he believed that the path to heaven was restricted to only those righteous Jews who followed the OT formulas for sin and sacrifice. Gentiles were not part of the "chosen," so we had two chances at an eternity with God: slim and none. It took blinding him for 3 days on the road to Damascus by a visitation from an archangel, and the healing power of our Holy Spirit through Ananais to crush his arrogance and pride. Our Lord is amazing, and if you notice, He accomplished two important things with this amazing conversion.

  1. An arrogant persecutor of early believers was humbled and made whole through the blood of Christ.
  2. An early disciple, who would have sooner run from Paul was ordered by the same angel to heal Paul's blindness. Ananais got to witness first hand how God can take any sinner, with any background and bring him into the fold.
Modern day legalism has morphed over the last two thousand years, as scholarly men and new religions have gotten involved. Simplicity was replaced complex, complicated man-made methods of salvation and hollow piety. This surreptitious undermining of an individual's personal responsibility to God Almighty is not only alarming, but deadly...Legalism causes our focus to shift from that all-important, singular, daily relationship with God to a mountain of do's and don't's having little or nothing to do with gaining knowledge and wisdom from on high. I was taught years ago that listening to God, directly or through his Word was of prime importance in the life of a believer, not the edicts of the Pope or the rules set up in any church. The early church was set up by the disciples to assist one another, not take control of one another. 
Having been in many churches, synagogue's, and cathedrals over the years, I became more than a little dismayed with what I observed. People of all faiths entrusting their relationship with God to someone else. Some say they can forgive sin, some say that your salvation was predestinated by God long before you were even born, some say that salvation has to be re-earned every day of your life, and most say that you have to follow certain rules, certain doctrines and certain new age applications of Word of God. The true Church of God is made up of all of us who believe on our Lord Jesus Christ. Our souls have been inexorably bound together forever and, in truth, there are very few rules to live by, and they do not and will never decide your fate at the judgement seat of God. Here is what matters:

  1. Commune with God all day, every day...Talk to Him like he is right beside you, because He is! Prayer does not have to be formal and on your knees, it just has to be often and kept real at all times. There is no need for platitudes and lengthy, well thought out mini-epistles, just what's in your heart. As the Bible says, the Holy Ghost will take it from there, and convert your words into a divine language that God will hear. This is the key to Christian living, and without it, you are just treading water.
  2. Read God's Word every day...Every word is there for a reason. Every sentence has meaning and every verse will communicate with your eternal soul, if you let it...Cherish your Bible, not because someone told you to read or memorize it, but because it is God's words, not only to mankind, but to you personally. It's like your earthly father talking directly to you times infinity. Here you will find divine hope, here you will find divine solace, here you will find divine knowledge, and here you will find divine wisdom that will inspire true spiritual growth and development. 
As you can see my formula is quite simple, not scholarly or erudite, not approved by the papacy or any other religion. It is however, the gospel of the Apostle Paul, as written in each of this letters to the early Christian churches. He got to listen to God, before, during and after the crucifixion and resurrection. He even denied Jesus once to avoid confrontation, even though he knew Him personally!

So, do I have issues with organized religion globally? You bet I do! Any organization, group, theology, or doctrine that gets between you personally and God is a problem. The simple formula above is the foundation of a believer's life, not only in this world, but the next as well. It's all about you and God, because He is the Alpha and the Omega of our lives in Christ. 

With this foundation working on all cylinders, you will now be capable of discerning the "wheat from the chaff," whenever and wherever you are physically, emotionally or spiritually. Attend your church of choice with these simple truths in place, and you will be a better follower, a better father, a better mother, a better son, a better daughter, and most of all, a better example of a changed life that shines brightly to all those who meet you.

Remember that God ignores the outside...Some say he doesn't even see our flesh and bone! He sees your heart and soul every minute of every day, so stop obsessing and worrying about what is going on around you. God has promised to take care of everything external in your life, if you take care of what's on the inside. Fill your mind with the Words of God and talk to Him as the Divine Father that He always has been, and your "religion" will be pure, and our Heavenly Father will smile on you.

Read Proverbs 2 over and over again this week, at least once per day. Commit this to memory and you will be armed with a key piece of God's armor...

The Digital Disciple

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

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Hearing from you is certainly not a requirement. Consideration of what is researched and written is all I ask of anyone who stumbles upon my writings. I believe that my God will take it from there. With His help I try to separate fact from fiction, sense from nonsense, and ultimately clarity from chaos.

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