Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Modern Galatian Church

I suspect that when a Bible-believer reads this title he/she will assume that I'm speaking about the Messianic Church movement where many charismatics/evangelicals are returning to some of the rituals and laws of Judaism.

Well, no! Although they might be included in the larger grouping. The fact is that the modern Christian church is way more Galatian than we'd like to think.

In the book of Galatians, Paul warns people against attempting to work through law to get to God. He meant Judaic law but he also meant laws of behavior, as in the knowledge of good and evil. He even goes so far as to say that if we try to get into heaven through law, we are cursed and bewitched. It's sad to ponder but it's probably true that most Christians think that worshiping God and being good Christians is a matter of keeping rules. And we often judge our brothers and sisters by the rules we think they ought to keep. Although Paul has told us that we cannot judge our brothers and sisters in Christ because we are no longer under law.(I could go into the impossibility of judging folks but it'd be a good exercise to go through the Bible and to see how God dealt with different people who did different sins under the law. Often one person does one sin and is punished and another person does the very same sin and goes unpunished or is even rewarded. So we have to be careful. As a small example: witness how lying is considered a sin in most of the Bible...yet Samson gets in trouble when he doesn't lie to Delilah. And that's just one example. We don't know what's going on in other folks' lives... so we can't judge.)

So we who should be living by grace and trust in Christ's works are often living under the and trusting in our own righteousness under some human tradition or law --

Thus... Roman Catholics have their rules which they keep and because Protestants don't keep those rules...therefore protestants are judged by not obeying the rules.

Or Baptists have certain rules which they keep and because Episcopalians don't keep those rules, then Baptists feel free to judge the Episcopalians about it. (Ever had to deal with one of those "We don't drink wine in communion" discussions? People really get worked up about if not taking wine is part of the gospel. Heck, wine isn't something one should drink too often but it isn't a sin to drink it.)

When the first disciples preached the gospel to the first converts, they told them the basics: (The great council in which they decided what the basics they should do.) And they said to preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, baptize people. The average Christian rarely does these things...(but we Christians are always doing stuff other than what God tells us to do. I mean, honestly...we have so many traditions of men that fight against the word of God...and we don't question them.  

Honestly...if you're in church and you have a minister who always talks in such a way to make you feel guilty, you should leave that church. Because if you're in a church that makes you always feel guilty then you're in a church ruled by an Accuser of the Brethren. You'll end up either judgmental of others or full of self-condemnation. Because such a church has become an enemy of the grace brought by the blood of Jesus which delivers us from bloodguiltiness.

Jesus came to free us from our own works and to make us sons of God. Not to give us other works of our own righteousness to do. Satan's sole purpose is to belittle the work of Christ and to not allow us to show forth God's glory by preaching the kingdom, healing the sick, raising the dead. As long as we believe we are unworthy and as long as we live under the law... we are victims of a counterfeit church and in the Galatian heresy.

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