This may come as quite a shock to some, but generally speaking, the vast majority of people who lived in the Old Testament although they were at times very religious, were not "spiritual". This was because in the Old Testament, the spirit of the Lord was selectively placed upon certain people by God and not universally given to everyone.
At times, I believe, we take for granted the awesome reality of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. When we get born again we receive the gift of Holy Spirit which enables us to go from being a person of body and soul to a whole person of body, soul and spirit. With the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we can break away from religion and become spiritual people who walk in and by the Spirit.
When Jesus walked this earth, he met many religious people who bragged about religiously keeping the Law. Groups such as the Pharisees went out of their way to not only do what the Law stated, but make up even more laws believing they would be even more righteous. Time and again Jesus confronted this religiosity and made it clear in John 8 and other places that the Pharisees religion was not from God.
Simply doing the Law does not make a person spiritual or enable them to walk in love. In fact, legalism usually makes it impossible to hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit and smothers the ability and desire to manifest God's love. Jesus taught that walking in the love of God represented a higher plane than being bound by a legalistic religion that eliminated the freedom to walk with God and help others.
Jesus told His disciples the last night He was with them that the Comforter was coming. That Comforter did indeed come on the Day of Pentecost in the form of the Holy Spirit given to first the twelve, and then anyone and everyone who got saved. Upon confessing with the mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in the heart God raised Him from the dead, a person is saved and receives the gift of the Holy Spirit.
God plants His Holy Spirit in our hearts so that it is as much a part of us as our liver, eyes and thought process. After we are saved, when we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit, we can be spiritual in our thinking and manifest the love of God in our actions. Instead of being religious we can be spiritual.
That which allows us to walk in peace, power and grace is our ability to walk in and by the Spirit. That which allows us to manifest the very life of God is our willingness to hear and obey His Holy Spirit within us. The Holy Spirit is not only a precious gift given to us by God but the means by which we can walk uprightly, live victoriously and love freely.
I grew up in a denomination which battles legalism frequently. Growing up, I remember the lists of "rules" and the whispers about those who broke them. In some local churches it became more about "rules" than it did about the "love of God". Although they did not call it that, shunning was a common practice and if the person was discussed at all, it was done in whispers.
Don't get me wrong! There were many people who were striving to follow God and they meant well but about 25 years ago, God dealt heavily with the leadership that they were no different than the pharisees and they needed to repent. There was a major shake-up of course and there were some people who believed that "love" meant you endorsed that which was wrong or were compromising. Those people, of course, left eventually to form their own churches.
Truthfully, I believe there are many Christians like that today. They exalt "law" above God and do you know what? I don't believe that is pleasing to God. One of the things Jesus got into trouble about was the fact that according to the religious leaders of the day, He was a law-breaker. He dared to (gasp) heal on the Sabbath, He permitted his disciples to gather food on the Sabbath, He interacted with the "unclean", etc.
Remember the woman with the issue of blood? She broke the law when she touched Jesus. This was why she was so afraid when He asked who touched Him. Remember the adulterous woman? According to the law, Jesus should have stoned her. Instead, He forgave her. Interesting...
Yes, there is a difference between living by religion and walking by the Spirit. I want to walk by the Spirit!
There is a difference between exalting law and teaching that God wants us to obey his law.
Lawkeeping is not legalism!
It is correct, law keeping is not spiritual, it is physical. It tells us what sin is.
Lawkeeping is the first step toward a relationship with God.
As John said in 1 John: This is the love of God that we keep his commandments.
I've talked to a few people who say that it is wrong to exalt the bible. That we as Christians only need to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit.
I submit that if someone gets a feeling that they should do something contrary to the bible, it isn't the Holy Spirit they are following they are following another Spirit.
Jesus said the Spirit would guide us into all truth, he also said thy word is truth. The Spirit will guide us to understand the bible. No more.
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Heb. 8:13 In that he saith, A new [covenant], he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old [is] ready to vanish away.
Now, what would God do under the New Covenant?
Jer. 31:33 But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Ah, back again to law. God will write his laws in our hearts.
Why does Christianity pooh pooh law keeping? Sure legalism, or thinking that we gain anything with God through law keeping is completely wrong, but law keeping is not wrong.
I might be "poo poohed" for pulling this from a secular source, but I believe it expresses my view on the matter succinctly and with humor. It is a Calvin and Hobbes (by Bill Watterson) comic strip.
It begins by showing a panel with Calvin's mom and a very dirty Calvin. She says to him something about how dirty he is and instructs him to get into the tub. He then gets into the tub, clothes and all, and just standing there he says with a grin on his face, "I obey the letter of the law if not the spirit." His mother then shouts up the stairs, "Let's hear some water running!" Calvin climbs out of the tub, muttering, "Nuts."
I feel as though legalism, law following, Pharisees, etc., all fall into the category of the filthy Calvin smugly standing in the tub. I believe a spirit-led believer as someone who would automatically disrobe and jump into a tub of hot, soapy water. Maybe the spirit-led may not have gotten dirty at all!
All in all, I consider a dispute between "spirit-led" and "law following" to be... Well, I can't think of the word for it. Law following is following laws, spirit-led is fulfilling the laws. Six of one, half dozen of another, with the crucial difference (to me) being that one is doing something to get it done and possibly a pat on the head, whereas the other is doing it as a natural outpouring, testifying to the love and life-changing power of Christ, whilst not being tripped up.
Clear as mud?
Then I assume that all Spirit led Christians cease from work on the seventh day that God created for them, without getting into the legalism of what is work, or what is my brother doing.
Legalism isn't keeping the Sabbath, legalism is getting too detailed in what consitutes work. Or worrying about what their brother is doing instead of what you are doing.
Some will obviously claim that my teaching Sabbath keeping that I'm worrying about what my brother is doing. No I am not. I don't care what anyone does or doesn't do on the Sabbath. All I'm doing is trying to show the Sabbath isn't done away.
Also showing we can't just spiritualize it away, we are expected to obey it physically and Spiritually.
Let me say that this blog was directed at no one and only serves to balance the written Word of God with the spoken Word of God via the Holy Spirit. If this blog disintegrates into a vicious argument as some others have, I will simply lock it down.
This is a really good message brother. We, as Christians, are part of a new creation. This new creation is a spiritual creation with Jesus our Savior being the first fruit . . . The first begotten from the dead.
Debaters of law will always be debaters of law for they are blinded to the truth of all being hidden in Jesus. We are to set our minds on things above, not on things on the earth. For, when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we died, and our life is hidden with Christ in God.
It is just this simple: "all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Fulfilling the law in our works comes as a natural consequence of fulfilling the two commandments Jesus left us with. To love God with all our heart and mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves. If we truly do these two there is no need for a conscience effort to fulfill the rest. Through doing these two, the rest happens "naturally" and the entire law is fulfilled.
Jesus is our rest . . . Jesus is our Sabbath. We are to worship God in all we do.
Once again brother B2Y . . . Thanks for being a blessing2me!
I have worked with, and known some people who belonged to religious sects that believed strictly in law keeping. It seems awful easy for many to get into comparing, or accusing, or judging. That was/is my own personal experience. If one just focuses on law keeping, they become miserable, judgemental people, or most do. Personally I believe it is because none can keep the law perfectly, and it condemns their conscience and makes them miserable.
We would not know what sin is, without the law. The more we learn of it, the more condemned we are. I could give some examples, but most know about all the laws given. And Jesus Christ, in defining some of the laws of the OT, brough even more conviction. Such as if one looks upon a woman with lust, then they are guilty as well, Matt. 5:28. Or, to call someone a f**l, or is angry without a cause, is also judged, Matt. 5: 21-26. And to just say 'yes or no', and go no further, Matt. 5: 37.
As Christians we are called to a higher standard, and that is being a follower of Jesus Christ. Love Him, serve Him, obey Him. As already mentioned, love is the true fulfillment of the law. Jesus Christ told us that, and His apostles. According to the law, it is right to judge and punish someone, even to the point of death, but as Christians we are called to a different standard, in being conformed into the image of Christ, Gods Son. Be willing to sacrifice our self, as He did. That is a much higher standard, than the law is. He was the giver of the law. He died to redeem us from the condemnation of the law. Those surrendered to Him, have the Holy Spirit, just exactly as you wrote in your blog.
There is no Holiness, or true righteousness, without Jesus Christ, and walking in the Holy Spirit of God. They surpass what the law can do. And God Bless you brother. This one comment is all for me. Godspeed.
since becoming a member of this ministry back in 2007, I thank God that it's by his spirit that he directs what blogs I read first. I say that cause the ones I do read "( does the words sandpaper on the inside) or let me just stick to pruning me. thank you my brothers and sisters for all the encouragement for your blogs and the comments that you share. be blessed
Just to point out one thing that most Christians just don't get for some reason. It was the Old Covenant that allowed judging and punishing even to the point of death. I have seen no one on here advocating the necessity of keeping the Old Covenant.
The Old Covenant was a civil administration of God's laws, it was not God's law.
That's the problem with most Christians, they think the Old Covenant and God's laws are synonymous, they are not.
Though over the years the Old Covenant was called the law, that's not what the covenant was.
The Old Covenant was an agreement to keep God's laws. Just because the Old Covenant has ended, it doesn't mean the basic laws have ended.
The administrative laws have ended because we are not under Israel's civil government, but the basic laws, the laws that existed prior to Mt. Sinai have not been abolished.
Did laws exist prior to Mt. Sinai?
Gen. 26:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
Yes they did, and it's our job as Christians to try to deternmine just what laws and commands our father of the faithful Abraham kept.
Teaching people that God expects them to obey his law has nothing to do with comparing, accusing, or judging. The arguments come when people don't want to here what the bible says on the subject.
The confusion comes because Christians don't know the difference between God's law and the Old Covenant.
B2B, this is the last time I intend to clutter your blog with this.
If anyone wants to comment to me on this, just send me a private message or post something on one of my blogs, I'll gladly discuss this on my blogs.
This morning I read: [verse=Romans 14:4 (NLT)]Who are you to condemn someone else s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord s help, they will stand and receive his approval. [/verse] I think that says it all. "Religion" seeks to take on the role which belongs only to God for we are not the servants of "religion", we are the servants of God. We seek to bring conviction upon people and to change them when in reality, that is the job of the Holy Spirit. It is small wonder that they "kick and buck" and we do so! In fact, this is the greatest complaint the world has against Christianity today... trying to force them into it.
God Himself does not do that! Why do we think it is okay for us to do so? There are people today which have very negative feelings towards Christianity as well as non-Christians because of "religion" being rammed down their throats.
When Jesus sent forth His disciples, He made it very clear that they were not to do this. They were to present His Word but if what they said was rejected, they were not to get out the proverbial two-by-four and beat them over the head with it. They were to move on.