Will The Real Church Step Forward Please?
By Thomas Taylor
Holiness Without Man’s Religion
God’s version of holiness is not man’s version of holiness. Many teach a works method of approaching God under the title of holiness. But their idea of holiness and God’s idea of holiness are often two different things. God does want His people living clean and separate from the world. However, man’s religion would say that holiness is defined by holding to their precepts – man’s laws. Religion would say one cannot expect to have God do anything in their lives unless they go through all the hoops that their religion prescribes. But what is it that defines true holiness? And is living holy the reason God does things for us?
With the teaching on grace out there today, some would conclude we do not have to live holy. But the Bible is clear we are to live holy unto God:
Eph 1:3-4 ESV Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, (4) even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
1Pe 1:14-16 ESV As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, (15) but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, (16) since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
God telling us to be holy is not a word of condemnation ““ it is a word of freedom! Freedom from sin, praise God! It is what delights our God that we walk according to His precepts of holiness. It delights our own spirit and conscience as we walk in holiness but it grieves God, our spirit, and our conscience when we walk in the lusts of the flesh and disobedience.
Eph 4:24 KJVA And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
God re-created our born-again spirit in holiness. Because you are holy in the way you are created, it will be your spiritual nature to be holy (not your fleshly nature). Just like you were created to be a male or female and act within that nature, so it is your nature to live holy in your spirit because that is how you are created. However, holiness should also show up in action. God’ idea of holiness is obedience to His Word and His Spirit, not man’ religious laws. Holiness is separation from the world and their kingdom. It is union with God and His Kingdom.
But flesh and religion have made holiness a work – a yoke of burden upon the Church that can never be attained to. They would have you to count the grains of sand on the beach and if you lose count, you have to start over. They would have you do the impossible, making up rules with no Scriptural evidence, and make you feel condemned and guilty when you do not do it. Religion puts a burden upon man that no man can carry – even the religious leaders themselves.
Mat 23:2, 4 ESV “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat “They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.
Luk 11:46 ESV And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
Man’s religion would create numerous laws so that people can feel like they are doing something spiritual but it gains nothing in the sight of God. Man’s laws are like running on a treadmill; they are getting nowhere with God. Man’s religion and laws brings man no closer to a relationship with Jesus.
Mat 11:28-30 ESV Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Following Jesus is not burdensome like man’s laws. It is freedom and light. When we come to Jesus we find freedom from religion and legalistic precepts to come into a relationship with our heavenly Father.
We are not justified, righteous, or holy because of anything we do in the first place. We are only justified, righteous, and holy because of what Jesus did. But we should do things that are righteous and holy. We should naturally do things that would be considered law to others like do not kill, lie, and steal. However, it is no longer an external law for us to not do these things “it is now our new spiritual nature!
Before we were born again we were under the Law, just like O.T. Israel. The flesh has to be under Law because it has no relationship with God. Law was the only restraint on the actions of man that is not born-again ““ in relationship with God through Jesus Christ. But now that we are born-again we have a new spiritual nature that seeks to please God. We have God’ nature of holiness inside of us. We, in our spirits, have the capacity to do all of the laws governing our behavior like don”™t lie, steal, or kill and we no longer need the restraints that people without God need. In other Words, we are no longer under the Law to restrain our actions because we have a new nature.
Gal 3:22-26 ESV But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin“¦(23) Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned “¦(24) So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. (25) But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, (26) for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.
This is why He can say to the believer in Christ:
Col 2: 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us , which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross
Heb 7:18 Darby For there is a setting aside of the commandment going before for its weakness and unprofitableness,
The Old Testament Law is too weak to fully restrain mankind; it only held us in check until the Messiah came. Once He came, we no longer need the Law – we need Him! We no longer approach God under the old system, we approach under the new system. We don’t approach under the Old Testament., we approach under the New Testament – the blood covenant of Jesus Christ.
Heb 8:12, 13 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 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 .
The Law is waxed old and is ready to vanish away according to this verse. He is talking about the external ordinances that were put in place to restrain the flesh. He is not saying God’ Laws go away completely. The Law will forever exist for it is part of God’s very nature. Now it is part of our very nature so in reality it never goes away. Only the external yoke of it has been broken and now we do the Law of God out of love and adoration for Him, not because we fear punishment.
This is why Jesus can say He came not to do away with the Law but to fulfill It. In fulfilling it He is doing It. The Law does not completely disappear so that we can live in lawlessness. The Law was Jesus’ very nature and that nature is passed on to His offspring…us! That Law, which was Jesus’ nature, can simply be summed up in one word: LOVE. His nature was love and He passed that nature on to our spirits. When we walk as He walked, in love, we are fulfilling all the Law!
Old Testament moral Laws are not done away with for the believer. They are now fulfilled in Christ and have become a part of our very nature. Our nature is love for the Love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost (Rom. 5:5).
Jas 2:8 ESV If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.
If we are walking the Royal Law, we are no longer under a Law written in stones meant to subdue the passions of the flesh. We have a spiritual nature created after God that fights the flesh and can win those battles. If we walk in the flesh, we are putting ourselves back under that Old Law and will feel condemnation and guilt. If you mess up and sin, admit to God your sin and repent. That frees you from guilt and condemnation and gets you out of the devil’s territory (1 Joh 1:9). The Bible says to walk in the spirit, in love in other words, and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
We no longer do Laws out of an attempt to be approved of by God and get His blessing. We already have His blessing and we are already righteous and holy. Holiness is not something you do so much as it is something you are born into being. God created us righteous and created us holy. There is nothing we can do to be more righteous or holy. Our righteousness and holiness is from the Lord and not from performing certain acts dictated by men.
It is man’ religion that wants to keep us under laws, always trying to make us do things to obtain something that we already have. It is like telling a man that is sitting to sit down. So many in the Church are so foolish to fall for it and they conclude, ” The preacher is telling me to sit down so I must not be sitting.” So they get frustrated trying to sit down and cannot see that they are already seated. Why can they not see it? Because the Church does not know the Word of God. They listen to legalistic preachers instead of reading the Word for themselves. If they would read the Word they would find out that they are already holy and trying to do something to become holy is a complete waste of time leading to utter frustration.
How to Know Man’ Religion from Truth
One of the earmarks of man’ religion is the preaching of an external holiness obtained by doing things. However, the Truth of God’s Word declares we are born holy by the work of Christ, not our works:
Eph 4:24 KJVR And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Another sign of religion is a focus on doing superstitious things to obtain God’ blessings.
2:21-23 AMP Do not handle [this], Do not taste [that], Do not even touch [them], (22) Referring to things all of which perish with being used. To do this is to follow human precepts and doctrines. [Isa. 29:13.] (23) Such [practices] have indeed the outward appearance [that popularly passes] for wisdom, in promoting self-imposed rigor of devotion and delight in self-humiliation and severity of discipline of the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh (the lower nature). [Instead, they do not honor God but serve only to indulge the flesh.]
It is not about eating certain foods to be blessed, or observing feasts to be blessed, or keeping certain days during the year or the week to be blessed. The truth is that we already have God’ blessing we just need to know the Word, believe it and do it.
Eph 1:3 ESV Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
We already have ever spiritual blessing in Christ so how can you do something to obtain something you already possess? The devil would have the Church running on the treadmill of religion; a constant activity of doing things but getting nowhere.
Another indicator of religion is a lack of power. Religion has a dry repetition and ritual but no Holy Spirit. By following certain rituals they think they will be blessed. The services are always the same; there is no variation and no moving of the Spirit of God. If you are in such a church, get out now! They are the ones the Bible is speaking of in Second Timothy:
2Ti 3:5 KJVR Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
They think that the doing of certain motions pleases God but in fact it does not. They do not know Him with their hearts only with their mouths.
Isa 29:13 AMP And the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips but remove their hearts and minds far from Me, and their fear and reverence for Me are a commandment of men that is learned by repetition [without any thought as to the meaning],
The real Church will have power and a moving of the Holy Spirit of God!
1Co 2:1-4 KJVR And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. (2) For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (3) And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. (4) And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
If your church is not demonstrating power, then it is time to find one that does. There should be the signs declared in Mark 16:17, 18 happening: the casting out of demons, the speaking with tongues, the healing of the sick. Religion will tell you those things do not happen any more and there is no such power. However, they tell you that because they know they cannot do these things because they do not have faith in God’s Word. They know people who do those things have been validated by God so religion must tell you that those of us that claim these are happening in our churches and ministries must be charlatans. However, a charlatan cannot raise the dead or heal the sick documented by the medical profession! The real Church of the Lord Jesus Christ can. Jesus Himself said, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do. ” Did Jesus heal the sick, cast out devils, and raise the dead? Then so should His Church!