Category Archives: Freedom In Christ

Boxes and Freedom

When Jude wrote his short letter in the middle 60s, he was not defending either a legal or heritage box of faith.

“Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write to you about our common salvation, I felt it necessary to write to you, exhorting that you earnestly contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jd 3).

In the philosophical world today the phrase “think outside the box” is often used. It is used to encourage people to think without the constraints of the norm, that is, to think outside the confinement of either heritage or traditions.   When considering our social norms, one certainly has the freedom to think outside the old wineskins of the past.   But when we consider truth that was once and for all time delivered to the saints as the foundation of their faith, “thinking outside the box” can often infer that there are no constraints on either belief or behavior in reference to living the gospel. We must not forget what Jude wrote in the next verse after the preceding comment:

“For certain men have crept in [body of believers] unnoticed, who were long before marked out for the condemnation, ungodly men who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jd 4).

Now connect the word “faith” in Jude 3 with the word “grace” in Jude 4. Jude was writing about the truth of God’s grace. His subject in verse 3 was the faith of the gospel of grace, not an outline of doctrine. Paul used the phrase “truth of the gospel” in order to focus minds of the Galatian and Colossian disciples on the revelation of the Son of God (See Gl 2:5,14; Cl 1:5). The incarnation, atoning death, resurrection, ascension, kingdom reign, and Jesus’ coming again is the “truth of the gospel.” If one would either deny or question any truth of the gospel, then he or she loses the power of the gospel to transform one’s life.

When we speak of Christianity, we must conclude that there is gospel behavior that is motivated by our belief in the truth of the gospel. The “certain men” about whom Jude wrote were those who misunderstood grace. These were those about whom Paul questioned, “Will we continue in sin so that grace may abound?” (Rm 6:1). Grace is not a license to sin. And because it is not, then there is a box of gospel behavior outside which we must not test the grace of God.

We must consider what Jude wrote in the context of what Paul said in Galatians 5:1: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ as made us free, and do not been entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” The “yoke of bondage” about which Paul exhorted the Galatian disciples not to be brought into bondage, were those religious legal rites from which Christians have been set free in their obedience to the gospel of grace. These were those “doctrines and commandments of men” that “certain men” seek to bring into the gospel of freedom wherein Christians must walk. Therefore, when we speak of thinking “outside the box,” we are exhorting ourselves to determine what should not be a box of legal religiosity in which one seeks to justify himself before God on the basis of his perfect performance of law.

For example, some Jewish Christians sought to bring into the fellowship of the disciples the religious rite of Jewish circumcision. They were adamant about this because they believed that one could not be saved unless he was circumcised.   These were those “certain men” who taught, “Except you are circumcised after the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” (At 15:1). Circumcision as a part of the Sinai law had become a part of Jewish heritage. But when the Sinai law was nailed to the cross (Cl 2:14), all those who obeyed the gospel were made dead to that law (Rm 7:4).

After the cross, circumcision was relegated to being a religious rite. Under the Sinai law, it was a law of God that all Jewish males be circumcised on the eighth day after birth. But the cross turned this law into simply being a religious rite of the Jews.   Gentiles were not obligated to be circumcised. The law had become, as Luke wrote, only the “custom of the Jews” (At 15:1).

When one comes into Christ through obedience to the gospel, he or she must make some critical decisions concerning his or her past religious beliefs and behavior. What one may have considered “law” before obedience to the gospel, may now be only a “custom.” In the book of Galatians, the Holy Spirit argued persuasively that Christians not be brought into the bondage of old religious “boxes.” Ungodly behavior that may have been allowed before one’s new birth must never be allowed in the “box of the truth of the gospel” in Christ (See Cl 3).

Some disciples in Colosse had some difficulty with this matter. So Paul argued, “If you then were raised with Christ, seek those things that are above” (Cl 3:1). “Set your mind on things above,” Paul continued, “For you are dead [to the ways of the world] (Cl 3:3). “Therefore, put to death your members that are on the earth” (Cl 3:5).   If one were a Jew coming into Christ in the first century, there were a host of doctrines and commandments of the fathers that had to be put away in order to live in the freedom that we have in Christ (See Mk 7:1-9). Those who are set free must never again be brought into bondage.

One certainly has the freedom to carry on with his or her former religious traditions. However, under no circumstances does one have a right to bind on the consciences of others those practices he may deem to be in the realm of Christian behavior. We are sure that the early Jewish brethren carried on with their circumcision. However, they could not bind on Gentiles this former law that had now become only a “custom of Moses.” Some Jewish brethren in the first century tried to do this, but they met head on with the condemnation of the Holy Spirit who judged that their actions were endangering the freedom that all have in Christ. In fact, in no uncertain terms the Holy Spirit said, “If you are circumcised [according to law], Christ will profit you nothing” (Gl 5:2).   Binding religious laws as a matter of salvation is preaching another gospel (Gl 1:6-9).

[Next in series: Dec. 16)

“Tree of Life Church”

For several years we have had this good friend, who in his old age as an ex-missionary, has continually encouraged the church in America to remember her responsibility to evangelize the world.   He was himself a missionary in the 1950s and 1960s in Latin America. But since those days, things have changed in the “spiritual” climate of his home church. He happens to live in the city where one of the first preacher/missionary training schools was born in America in the 1960s. It was a school to which young eager men enrolled who wanted to learn their Bibles. But in his last note to us, this school that once had over one hundred students specifically training to learn the Bible in order to preach the gospel to the world, had a new enrollment of only fifteen students. The paradigm had shifted.

We now live in a world of churchianity where Bible study is almost gone from the halls of “Christianity.” Evidence of the fact is not only in the small enrollment in Bible schools in order to study the Bible, but also in churches where gimmicks are used to attract an attendance. Those churches that maintain their attendance are those churches that have turned more to a social-orientated assembly.   “Worshipers” are called to assembly by the sound of an orchestra. The call of the church bell now sounds faint and in competition with powerful amplifiers.   When this happens, “church” changes from believers who assemble around the gospel and the word of God, to adherents who assemble around one another for a social experience. The assembly is no longer gospel centered, but social centered.

As this nature of “church” increases over the years, the defense and propagation of the “social church” turns from the foundation of the Scriptures to a foundation that is based on relationships.   The reverse purpose for assembly that identified the church in the first century is changed.

Common obedience to the gospel brought believers together in the first century. Common relationships bring people together today in many churches. Great effort is thus placed on producing an atmosphere of social development (relationships), and less on zeal for a study of the word of God. In fact, in some cases any Bible teaching that might discourage the relationships or attendance of the adherents to a particular group is suppressed.

This paradigm shift from the Bereans to the church that prizes relationships over Bible is revealed in the fact that many groups have given up the necessity for obedience to the gospel in order to be added to the body of believers. In a truly Calvinistic theology, it has gone from the necessity of being baptized for the remission of sins (At 2:38), to “believe on Jesus only” for the remission of sins. Baptism is simply a choice of the believer, a choice that is often ignored. Salvation by faith only is the prevailing doctrine in reference to salvation in Christendom today.

When the preceding happens among those of faith, an interesting paradigm is established from which there is often no escape. A religious box is constructed.   It is similar to legal religious boxes that seek to retain adherents by conforming to a legal set of interpretations that identify the particular religious sect to which one belongs.   But in the social-relational box, the rule is that there are no rules. If one would impose rules, then he or she simply does not fit the mold of the box. It is for this reason that open Bible study has left the building because the adherents of the socially focused religion might discover in the word of God something that imposes a rule that might exclude someone from the social box.

The next stage of apostasy in this movement is that an identity heritage is established. The unique group finds a unique name, possibly the “Tree of Life Church,” under which banner all adherents can be identified as members.   Thus the members of the Tree of Life Church identify the heritage of their group by their unique name. The Tree of Life Church thus becomes a sect—a uniquely denominated group—that is separated from all other bannered churches in town who carry other unique names of identity.

Over time, heritage becomes the foundation of the Tree of Life Church. If others move out to other cities from the Tree of Life Church, they also start churches under the banner of the same heritage as the mother Tree of Life Church.   In this scenario, apostasy is determined in reference to conforming to the heritage of the Tree of Life Church, not according to teachings of the Bible. And thus, the adherents to the unique Tree of Life Church will defend their church by resorting to their heritage and not the Bible.

It is a normal practice among Tree of Life churches that there is little Bible study. The assemblies of such churches will be characterized by a great deal of “Lord, Lord” emotionalism, but there will be few “amens” uttered when the speakers pronounce truth from the word of God. And since the preacher and movement is based on finances, preachers and teachers alike are cautioned not to speak any truth that might drive away checkbooks.

Legalists find it rewarding to judge Tree of Life churches. But in their spirit of judging, they become the same as that which they condemn. It is always true that those who are most cultic in their beliefs and behavior are the most critical of cults. The same is true of heritage-defined churches.

[Next in series: Dec. 13]

 

 

Tunnel Vision

If we could for a moment extend the term “Christianity” to include all faiths that in some way consider Jesus to be the Son of God, and “church” to include everyone who in some way separates themselves religiously from all “non-Christian” faiths, we would discover that something astonishing is transpiring within the ranks of “Christianity” today. It is something that will eventually lead to the demise of true Christian faith as it is defined in the Bible. Does this sound shocking? It should!

This demise is nothing new. It was happening to Christianity by the end of the first century, and continued into the second. In the second century the apostasy from Christian faith was so drastic that historians believe that about half of those who “believed on Jesus” had gone astray into believing that Jesus was only a good rabbi who led many away from the original Jewish faith. Those who refused to believe that Jesus was the “Christ” relegated Him to only a man who lived, and then wander off somewhere into obscurity and died of old age.   To many, there was no such thing as an incarnation and sacrificial atonement. The same is happening throughout the world today.   Christianity today has a weak biblical foundation. The faith of many is an open black hole that is sucking in any religious fantasy that can be imagined in the minds of religiously misguided people.

To those who have not read Acts 17:11, the term “nobility” was used by the Holy Spirit in reference to those Jews in the city of Berea who eagerly considered what the evangelists Paul, Silas and Timothy related to them concerning the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies that Jesus was the Messiah. He was the “anointed One” sent from God. And if He were the Messiah, then all those prophesied characteristics and functions of the Messiah were relished upon Him as such. The “nobility” of the Bereans was in the fact that they were seriously interested in studying these things.

The Holy Spirit of God forever wrote the epitaph of the Berean Bible students in the following words:

“These [Jews in Berea] were more noble-minded than those [Jews] in Thessalonica, in that they received the word [of the gospel] with all readiness of mind and search the [Old Testament] Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (At 17:11).

These were rare people of faith at the time Paul, Silas and Timothy passed through the idolatrous city of Berea. Such Bible students are more starkly rare in a world of Christendom today. Most “Christian religionists” now feel that they are fine without a desire to search the Scriptures. Faith is now more often based on either tradition, religious heritage, or a concert assembly wherein the entertained are stirred into emotional frenzy. If the assembly is so great, why would one want to complicate the assembly with Bible study?

We now live in a world that is characteristic of the times that prevailed about thirty years after the earthly ministry of Jesus. It was in that time when there were no written Scriptures concerning who Jesus was and what He taught.   Information was transferred only through word of mouth. Stories from the first witnesses of Jesus were handed down to eager recipients who were looking for the Messiah. When “walking Bibles” came through town and preached that Jesus was the Messiah, those who had the Old Testament Scriptures opened their Bibles—unrolled their scrolls—and searched to see if the verbal information that was spoken by the traveling evangelists coincided with the prophecies of the mission and message of the Messiah. If prophecies matched the message of the messengers, then the waters in the area splashed with people who were eager to obey the gospel.

But the message had to come to the ears of those whom the Holy Spirit considered “noble-minded” within the city of Berea.   These were God-fearing people who loved their Bibles and hoped for the coming Messiah. They were not religionists who were content with their religious heritage. Their religious heritage may have brought them to the point of receptivity.   However, they would in no way sacrifice that for which they and their fathers had hoped in order to preserve and maintain the religious traditions of their heritage. The Bereans believed what they studied in their Bibles. They believed in the One that the apostles preached.

The Bereans were certainly the product of the faith of their fathers (See Mk 7:1-9). Nevertheless, when the message of the messengers matched the prophecies, they knew that change had to happen. As the 3,000 on the day of Pentecost, religious heritage had to be sacrificed for the new Head of the new church of God’s people (See Mt 16:18,19; At 7:38).   Their heritage of legal religion had to give way to the gospel of grace. New wineskins had to be found.

The foundation of their paradigm shift depended on their knowledge of the prophecies of the Scriptures that they knew.   The Bereans could make a judgment concerning the fulfillment of the prophecies that was based on what they read in their Bibles. Unfortunately, this culture of Bible-oriented believers to a great extent does not exist in Christendom today. Throughout the world today there is a dearth of Bible knowledge among those who cry out “Lord, Lord” (“Jesus, Jesus”) on Sunday morning (See Mt 7:21-23).   The lack of a Bible-based faith is so serious that it will eventually lead to the total corruption of what is in the New Testament defined as Christianity.

This reality takes us back into the days about thirty years after the ministry of Jesus. It was in those days after the cross, resurrection and ascension of Jesus that twisted information about Jesus was propagated throughout the world.   Many of those who were far away from Jerusalem and Palestine understood that Christianity was only a sect of Judaism.   From Rome to Babylon to Ethiopia, the twisted rumors of Christ and Christianity went into all the world.   So when one of the messengers of Christianity came bound with chains into the city of Rome, those who were similar in hope as the Jews of Berea, said to the messenger, “But we desire to hear from you what you think, for as concerning this sect [of Christianity] we know that it is spoken against everywhere” (At 28:22).

So the eager recipients set up a Bible class wherein the Old Testament Scriptures would be studied.

“And when they had appointed him [Paul] a day [for the Bible class], many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning until evening” (At 28:23).

This Bible scenario rarely happens today.   Instead of coming together for a Bible class to search the Scriptures, religionists today under the heading of “Christianity” usually come together only for a musical concert wherein a great deal of noise is made to mesmerize the attendees. Walk into any city today with an open Bible, and usually no one of the “Christian” world will show up. There are very few noble-minded Bereans today in any given city of the world.   If one would have a guitar in his hand, the crowds would come. But generally, when it is announced in brochures and over the radio that there will be a “Bible class” in town, there will be no one there.

 

So we are still in the days when Luke wrote to Theophilus. It is interesting that the social religious environment in which Theophilus lived at the time was not much different than the world in which we now live. The religion was different in those days in that most religions were based on idolatry. In the case of the Jews, religion was based on the traditions of the fathers (Mk 7:1-9). And because the Jews’ religion was based on the traditions of the fathers, its true foundation was the heritage of the Jews (Gl 1:13,14).

Theophilus stood alone with the Bereans and those in Rome who desired to learn more. By the time Luke wrote the books of Luke and Acts, false rumors were commonly aired over “World Radio Rome” that Jesus was only a zealous rabbi of Palestine who inspired a small sect of believers who were going about the Roman Empire propagating their heresy. The believers of this “Christian sect” were so zealous that they turned the religious world upside down (At 17:6). Many thought, therefore, that the success of the movement was based on the zeal of deceived religionists who accepted Jesus as their “messiah.” There was no consideration that the gospel revealed through Jesus was God’s message to man for his own salvation.

It was in this chaotic religious world that Theophilus lived. Because Theophilus was one of some influence in either Roman politics or government, the Holy Spirit deemed it necessary to write two inspired documents to him. In the first—and we must quote in full—the Spirit-inspired hand of Luke revealed the problem that prevailed throughout the world in reference to Jesus:

“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of those things that have been believed among us [Christians], just as they were delivered to us [who did not personally witness Jesus] by those [Christ-sent apostles] who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word [of the gospel], it seemed good to me [Luke] also, having an accurate understanding of all things from the very first [of the beginning of the church] to write to you an orderly [inspired] account, most excellent Theophilus, that you might know the certainty [of truth] of those things you have been taught [through the preaching of others]” (Lk 1:1-4).

Theophilus lived in a religious world of confusion that is not much different from the one in which we live today. There were “Christian” religionists then who proclaimed all sorts of distorted beliefs concerning Jesus. The same people today stand in pulpits throughout Christendom.   These are those who have little knowledge of the word of God, and thus spout off their imaginations of the One in whom people are to believe and obey. Open Bible study has vacated church sanctuaries in order that the ignorant and unlearned teachers are not embarrassed for their lack of knowledge of the Scriptures.

We have had the privilege of visiting many “Christian churches” throughout the world. Few of these churches sit down as the Bereans and open the Scriptures in order to test the teachers as to whether they are from God (See 1 Jn 4:1).   When we speak of diligence in Bible study, we have determined that the number in these days is few (See 2 Tm 2:15).   In such a world, therefore, it is only a matter of time until the vast majority of Christendom has gone astray from the simple gospel that was believed and lived by those of the early church in the first century. In fact, some areas of Christendom are often now so far removed from the gospel that it is now time for a gospel restoration movement among those who thirst for the simple gospel message upon which to base their faith.

Therefore, in the religious world of Christendom today, where are all the Bereans? Where are all those in Rome who would set up Bible classes in order to study their Bibles?   Where are all those as Theophilus who have heard so many twisted stories about Jesus that they want to hear the truth of the gospel? In view of the dearth of a knowledge of the Scriptures, we call for a restoration of the gospel as the center focus of our faith.

We now live in a religious world where the word “Bible” is shunned by many people who believe in Jesus. It is as one Internet producer of Christian videos recently wrote to us, “If I use the word ‘Bible’ in my videos, the viewers of the video are much less than when I do not use the word.”

This is the world in which we now live. It is as one zealous person once said, “I wanted to start a church, so I had to learn how to play a guitar.” We are in a world of Christendom today that if one would “start a church,” but do so on the foundation of Bible study, few will show up at the church house doors. Those in the realm of Christendom today who do show up and huddle around the rich word of God are now anomalies of faith.

[Next in series: Dec. 10]

Untethered Objectivity

There is nothing like writing.   When an author feels unleashed from the constraints of tradition, or heritage, he feels free to reach into the inner sanctuary of his heart in order to bring to light gems that are free from the barnacles of time. And for this reason only those who are truly free from the restrictions of imprisoning religious prejudices are worth reading. Those scribes who are cowed by the forces of opinion around them should be questioned. Intimidated scribes are rarely objective.

Selfish ambition subtly finds its way into the mind of the writer who would allow his conclusions to be warped toward a hearty slap on the back. A “humble pride” may lurk in the heart of one who has inscribed for himself words that bring satisfaction to himself alone. But when pride is coupled with selfish ambition, no writer can dig deep into the recesses of his mind in order to lay on paper with ink true objective thoughts.

Plagiarism only reveals the inadequacy of one who is either intimidate by his peers, or lacks confidence in revealing his own thoughts. Though one may unknowingly duplicate the thoughts of another, he must not be tried in a court of plagiarism.   Accusations of plagiarism more often come from those who are too frightened to pen their own thoughts that can be footnoted with another’s document. Since the wind of spoken words can vanish into entropy, there are those who are quick to be policeman for plagiarists, but cowards to inscribe their own words for others to judge. Unless one is writing in the field of atomic physics, there are few revelations that can be made of anything new under heaven.

It was only when Dietrich Bonhoeffer took a moral stand against the social morals of Nazi Germany that he wrote the modern classic The Cost of Discipleship. After his arrest in April 1943 by the Gestapo, he continued from prison to live unrestrained from the intimidation of those who would bring into bondage his mind. He remained free in thinking unto the death of his imprisoned body by hanging took place in April 1945.

Bonhoeffer’s imprisonment for his moral beliefs was a blessing to the rest of the world who wanted to start inscribing from the platform of free thought. His religious heritage offered no aid in generating in his mind powerful thoughts that changed the thinking of those who thought they were free, but had no bars in their faces. His unflinching determination to write what was right led him to his death. It was his brave stand to release free thought that unleashed on the world a host of fellow prisoners who were themselves imprisoned by established theology.

For those who think they can see, the bars that incarcerate their minds is their religious heritage and the judges and lawgivers of their present religious establishment. We have found it incredibly curious to hear some say, “We think liberal, but speak conservative.” Such forked-tongue faith betrays the heart of a coward, whose spoken words that come forth from his mouth, should be questioned. If such a person should write a thought—which rarely they do—then his words will have been “misspelled” by the cowardice of his own weakness. Such people are often willing to remain mentally imprisoned because of either weakness in character or the strength of a pay check.

There was a reason why the Holy Spirit put the saints on guards about being deceived by the smooth and fair speech of some.   Their fair way of sayings things in a beguiling manner is the first sign post along the road of deception. There are ulterior motives. There is selfish ambition. There is the desire of smooth speechologists to reveal only that which will marshal people to their own camp. No speaker should be trusted who seeks, through smooth and fair speech, to recruit the believers to his system of theology.

There are those writers who write well. If they are truly free from the restrictions of religion, then their writings are not with “smooth and fair” words. Such gifted writers only have the ability to captivate our minds with words and phrases that clearly and distinctly reveal their precise thoughts. We appreciate those writers who are honest, and thus, leave us with exactly what is on their minds. When open-minded and uninhibited scribes write, we seek to interpret them outside our own prejudices. We seek to define the words they use by their dictionary of experiences, and not ours.

There are those who have difficulty revealing their inner thoughts with words. We appreciate their struggle. One thing is always true about writers: There are no perfect writers. But when one is intimidate to write nothing because he or she is afraid that his or her words might be laid before a court of self-appointed judges and lawgivers of the kingdom, then the religious establishment has gone too far. The movement to which they attach themselves is on its way from the word of God. It has digressed into the Dark Ages of religion wherein all were intimidated to believe that the earth was flat and the center of universe.

When brave writers arose among us during the Middle Ages, which were truly Dark, in order to remind us that we are free, they were often torched at the stake for thinking freely. This era of wicked history taught writers for the rest of the history, that we should never allow our religious heritage to cage our pens, or dictated our personal studies of the word of God. If ever we move into a “dark” time again when there is no free thought, then we will step aside and allow that time to pass by. We will have no part with “Middle Age” theological behavior. One the contrary, we will sharpen our pencils and fill our fountains with ink in order that we never again be brought into the bondage of the heritage policemen. We will never forget the following exhortation of the Holy Spirit:

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Gl 5:1).

[Next in series, Dec. 6]

Untethered

To be tethered to something means that one has boundaries beyond which he or she cannot freely go. This can be either good or bad. It is good that a mean dog is tethered by a chain that restricts his movement. If he were not tethered, then he would cause certain harm to others. But a good dog that has gone through obedience school is different. Tethering such a dog means that he cannot do his “dog thing” and be friendly to others.

People naturally want to touch or pet an obedient dog who knows his boundaries and sees himself as man’s best friend. But when a mean dog is untethered, he sees a person as an object upon whom he can release his aggression. People run from mean untethered dogs. They reach out their hands to pet a good dog who wishes to make every person his friend.

Not much changes in this illustration when we apply the analogy to people. Mean people are shunned. Those people who have gone through “obedience school” in their obedience to the gospel have voluntarily tethered themselves to Jesus. They are untethered from the ways of the world.   They are free to let their gospel light shine before everyone because the source of their light is Jesus.   They are thus free to think within the bounds of the gospel of freedom. People gravitate to gospel-obedient Christians who are untethered from the evil ways of the world.

On the other hand, those who are bound to the ways of the world are the roaring lions who are walking about in order to deceive the hearts of the innocent. They are looking for innocent souls who are free in Christ, and because they are free in Christ, they are free from the world. This freedom makes them the ideal target for roaring lions who are untethered from the truth of the gospel.

Untethered Christians must first learn how to walk in the freedom that they have in Christ. But at the same time, they must learn how to guard themselves from devouring lions. Some make the mistake of guarding themselves from being devoured by lions by tethering themselves to a legal religiosity by which they feel assured that they are have justified themselves before God through their law-keeping, and at the same time escaped the lures of a roaring lion. But what they have actually accomplished is untethering themselves from Christ in order to be tethered to religion. They find comfort in the traditions of their fathers and the heritage of their religion.   They give up their freedom in Christ in order to self-sanctify themselves in the bondage of their own religiosity.

There is no freedom in being tethered to the traditions of the fathers. Being tethered to traditions, or one’s religious heritage, may bring a sense of security before God. The problem is that the mental tether is man-made, not gospel founded. And we know this. We know that our faith is based on subscribing to the traditions of the fathers, while we leave the gospel on the side. When the Son of God came into the world to reveal the gospel, it was His task to untether the Jews from the religion of their fathers in order to be tethered to Him. It was a daunting task.

At the time the Word was made flesh, an entire generations of people were tether to God through the religious traditions of their fathers Subsequently, there arose a great conflict between those of the religious heritage of the Jews and the Son of God. The Spirit-inspired records of the confrontation that the Word in the flesh had with those who sought to base their connection with God on the tether of their religious traditions was clearly defined by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

It took the Holy Spirit half of the writings of the New Testament in the four preceding books to explain the necessary paradigm shift that was necessary in order for one to shift from man-made religiosity to a gospel connection through Jesus. Such is our challenge today. We are diligent students of how Jesus taught how one could disconnect from the security of human religious traditions in order to connect to God through the Son of God. This is indeed a daunting task by which we walk by faith in the gospel of Jesus and not by our sight in the religious traditions of our father.

[Next in series, Dec. 4.]