Sep 22nd, 2019
Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 44 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and over the next 7 minutes or so we are going to talk about freedom. This episode is probably going to upset some folks. But that’s OK, I don’t answer to man, I know the voice of my Shepherd, I answer to The Holy Spirit and follow His direction.
Jesus gave everyone freedom, not just from sin and death, but from every yoke of religion as well. Those of us trying to find righteousness in upholding religious law have not actually placed our faith in Christ and are lacking Salvation. In Acts 15 Peter calls this thinking, “testing God by putting a yoke on” believers necks. On the same topic Romans 9:30-32a reads, “What should we say then? Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained righteousness -- namely the righteousness that comes from faith. But Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not achieved the righteousness of the law. Why is that? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were by works…” Those of you following this line of thought have no grasp of God’s unmerited favor and blessing, no understanding of grace.
In Jesus, following religious laws or not makes no positive difference. For Christ is, as Romans 10:4 puts it, “...the end of the law of righteousness to everyone who believes…” What matters is active faith expressed through active love. Romans 7:4-6 says, “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you also were put to death in relation to the law through the body of Christ so that you may belong to another. You belong to Him who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions aroused through the law were working in us to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the law, since we have died to what held us, so that we may serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the old letter of the law.”
I’m not sure at what point the doctrine of Christians being required to follow religious laws instead of faith alone entered The (modern) Church keeping large numbers of people from following the truth, but it didn’t come from God. I shouldn’t be surprised though, it only takes a slight error by one charismatic teacher or a few preachers with a personal agenda to pervert the teaching of faith and mislead The Church.
Those preaching this alternative gospel will pay the penalty. But, I am convinced that those taking the time to listen to, or read, this message will make the time to find out what the Bible says on this issue. Now, if we teach that religious law must still be upheld then the message of the cross becomes void: of utterly no benefit, and Christ died in vain (Galatians 2:21).
You and I were called to be free, not so that we can give in to the lusts of the flesh as Jesus said in John 8:34, “...everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.” But we were called to be free so that we could love and serve each other. Remember the original intent of the law given to Moses is fulfilled when you love your neighbor as yourself. But religious law has been used to tear others down and to thwart their ministry efforts. If this continues The Church as a whole will die out. Instead, we are instructed by James 2:12-13 to, “Speak and act as those who are to be judged by the law of freedom. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has not shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
If we live our lives constantly seeking The Holy Spirit and responding to His guidance then we won’t want to carry on with the impulsive lusts of the flesh. As Galatians 6:8 puts it, “The one who sows to his flesh will reap destruction from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.” This flesh, this, our human nature, wants the opposite of what The Spirit wants, and The Spirit wants what is opposite of what our human nature wants.
These two forces are at odds with each other in us so that we don’t end up doing what we want to do. However, when we are led by The Spirit, we are not subject to religious law. Paul tells us in Romans 6:13b-14, “...offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness. For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under the law but under grace.”
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”