As more and more Christians realize there is a revolution in the earth for the church to be released from the captivity of legalism and law, the preachers of law and self righteousness are also becoming more ferocious than ever!! By reading through the websites of these ministries on the internet, it is clear that these ministries are also becoming more and more divisive, more determined to steal from believers the liberty that Jesus paid such a high price for, more clever in their arguments as so even trying to seduce and recapture those who for long periods have been soaring in the currents of grace.
It is these preachers of law that love to quote scriptures from the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John out of context, forgetting that the crowd that Jesus was preaching to were the Jews! These Jews had been polluted with hundreds of years of preaching of the Mosaic Law of Moses, hearing day after day that their obedience of the Law will cause them to become righteous, their level of morality and good performance will earn them God’s acceptance and blessings.
God never originally meant for us to try to relate to Him in this way! Just after God’s commands were written on stone and He set the choice of curse (for disobedience) or blessing (for obedience) before Israel, when He said the following to Moses in Deuteronomy 31:
Deut 31:16 And the LORD said to Moses: “Behold, you will rest with your fathers; and this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. (NKJV)
God knew that Israel would not be able to keep His laws and commands, but because Israel refused to have a personal relationship with God, always asking Moses to speak to God on their behalf, and despite all the many miracles God did when leading them out of Egypt (showing great patience with Israel despite all their continuous murmuring and complaining in the desert), they persisted in their unbelief in God, not trusting that He could and WOULD lead them to the promised land. They were self righteous and “stiff nicked” as God calls them (Ex 32:9, Ex 33:3). And then Moses also tells them the following as they are about to cross the Jordan:
Deut 6:9 Therefore understand that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people. (NKJV)
Now imagine centuries of “stiff necked-ness” later, and this is the crowd Jesus was preaching into. The Pharisees and Scribes also forsook many of God’s laws and replaced them with man-made rules and codes, which resulted in Judaism (Matt 15:1-9). They had over the centuries reduced the perfect Law of God to a standard that could be “kept”, but Jesus desired to show them that EVERYBODY falls short. Even if some claimed they had kept the Law their whole life, Jesus pointed out they still lacked in some other area. He wanted people to see that only by putting our faith in a Saviour (Him!), could we ever be restored unto God, and by faith obtain grace, mercy and justification (Gal 3:5-9). If we read Jesus’ teachings through this perspective, we see why He always got so angry at the Pharisees (who thought God would accept them by their “holy” living), and why He showed such mercy and love to those who simply believed in Him and knew they couldn’t make it without Him.
For example when the rich young ruler boasted in his own morality (Matt 19), claiming he had kept all the laws since he was young, Jesus showed him that he still fell short: he valued money more than heavenly treasures. But now the modern day law preachers will take this scripture and tell God’s precious children (who have been freed from the law) that it is wrong for Christians to have lots of money, and that you can not go to heaven if you are rich.
Be careful of those who demand a standard of holy living from you, or who put a disclaimer on God’s blessings. We are under a New Covenant, and now the Law (and all its demands of “right living”) has been crucified with Christ:
Col 2:13 He has made (you) alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (NKJV)
Remember the 10 Commandments which were engraved on stones?
2 Cor 3:7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones… (NKJV)
The 10 Commandments is called the ministry of death!
2 Cor 3:5 but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (NKJV)
This says the letter (the Law) kills!
Therefore let us continue to contend for the freedom we have been called into, the glorious liberty of the new covenant! And beware of the modern day Pharisees who with their form of godliness (void of power) try to snare us into being performance driven, legalistic and continuously under pressure to try and live up to some standard.
Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. (NKJV)
In Part 2 of this series we will look at why it’s actually impossible to live according to the Old Testament Law.