The devil has succeeded in counterfeiting the seal of God, the love of God, the work, and the word of God. Every where we look we see the signs or substitute and idols. Even the cross, the means of atonement, has become a hub for twisted views and raw idolatry.
The cross of Christ is not an add-on like the clause “in Jesus’ name “. A lot of Christians are trying to receive the Bible’s riches without the cross. Nothing in the Bible smells good without the Nazarene. In our quest for personal integrity we line up things which are neither original, redemptive, nor unending.
Seal: the Holy Spirit or one command?
Assurance of salvation: obedience or Holy Spirit indwelling?
Love: obedience or caring for people?
Middle class, upper class ministry
Covetousness and carnal desires guide positive thinking, andnone of the greater (or great) things promised by people preaching victory and abundance even come close to the gift of the Holy Spirit. By carnal desires we do not mean bodily interests but those desires that belong to the human and temporary experience. Crossless preaching is worse than looking for an accusation against Christ.
One has to violate one’s conscience to put distance between one’s beliefs and one’s practice. Whether the interest is food, drink, festivals, family or ancestral practices, chaos and emptiness follow the abandonment of Messianic atonement for sin. There is no truth that compares to “came into the world to save sinners“; not circumcision, not tireless labour, and not promises to try to be faithful. Faith establishes faithfulness, and none of the situations in which we find ourselves makes us victims. In the midst of all our chaotic situations we are assured of God’s peace and love.
How did Israel get away with open idolatry all the while pretending to worship one God? There was no freedom of religion: Babylon and Nineveh fared better on that score. How do we get from worshipping one God to having idols?
“Do not worship idols. Do not make statues of gods for yourselves. I am the LORD your God.
Could the Israelites not have arrested, charged and tried every idolater. The sentence: death. If the law is primary the churches should be executing people. If not for idolatry for the very obvious profanation of the Sabbath.
We can be sure that no church will start executing people openly. The church will do what Judea did: get the civil power to silence perceived threats. The Romans were ready. The obsession with the ten commandments is a quick and easy doorway to tyranny. They never led to justice, mercy and faithfulness.
And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.
In New Testament times the world was still in the grasp of Satanic idolatry. The Jews were not an exception. They led the assault on worshipping the one true God.
To all the revelation, insight and vision that gets paraded before believers every weekend we give an open ear and a fertile heart, but too often we struggle not to shout out a bold protest and usually end up muttering “Kingdom shmingdom” as a shield against the fatal contamination of demonic doctrine.
Sabbath and law; circumcision and faith
At least a couple of Christian thought groups have figured that they can attract attention to a retired view of God and use that view to impress their audiences that they are in a class by themselves. One prominent retired view proposes that the gospel finds fulfillment in the kingdom of priests (or priestly kingdom). Another marches to the drum of a sabbath-law foundation. These two are shaky and full of holes because they contain the same rebellion against Christ that the allied scribes, elders and chief priests mounted in New Testament times.
There is no fear of God that saves people from sin. If it is the beginning of wisdom it ought to lead to repentance. If it is the door that opens onto life’s square it ought to lead to the one who gives life to the dead.
Heaven, tent, temple, Holy Land(s), churches, altars, sanctuaries and dedicated buildings have all been thought to be God’s residences. We know that things, especially those made with human hands, are poor dwellings. They are inadequate and unnecessary for a great family life.
Shekinah – God’s residence with humanity- is a matter of loving care. Often we get terror and insularity, barriers and partiality, cruelty and false pride where we should find FATHER-LOVE.
Finding home – where God lives – should be everyone’s quest
James talks about the royal law and there seems to be no kingdom attached to that law. He is talking about the Sinai Covenant. Loving as I love myself is a nebulous and low profile pursuit. It has become an idol if we think it meets God’s design.
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:12-13