My wife and I had some old church friends over a couple of weeks ago to discuss where we might go from here. They had openly admitted and agreed that the main premise of our contention regarding the church was correct. That these churches were in fact mixing the old covenant with the new in ways that hinder the saints. Basically holding them under law!
Now here is where it gets ridiculous! They said they believed what we were telling them; and they seemed to have a fair understanding of the ramifications of such teaching; yet here is what they relayed by stance in parting. ‘We believe what you are telling us, however, you are going too far. We don’t want to upset the apple cart; we don’t think it’s healthy, after all, they aren’t actually saying that a believer has to be circumcised to be justified! They are just confused.’
My friends, confused they are, and unhealthy it is! The following is a snapshot of how the law is used and manipulated in common time. First you are told that you have an impure heart, which is not true because you have a new one; then you are directed back to a sacrificial system to keep or get yourself clean and remain forgiven over and over again. Example: Well you know Joe, according to Jeremiah 17, you have a wicked and deceitful heart that tricks you into all kinds of ungodly activity. Oh, but not to worry little faithful one, for there is a solution to your problem! God is very clear in 1 John 1:9, that if you confess all these nasty little ungodly habits which your deceitful and wicked heart leads you into, which by the way God hates with a passion; then He will be faithful and just to forgive you. That is if you really believe Him this time, since apparently you did not believe the original covenant which He swore by Himself, stating that our lawless deeds and sins He would remember no more. Oh, I am sorry! I don’t know where that last part came from. I guess I am just kinda confused myself! Folks, this stuff is straight bondage, period!
In conclusion, here is a reminder for those of you that are currently being persecuted by the lawyers for refuting their traditional, erroneous teaching. I do not suggest that we remain downcast nor socially strangled; just remember that God is with you in this uncomfortable, yet necessary season in life. And that He loves you with an unfathomable love that cannot be chained to circumstance, nor bound by even the enemies attempts through other people to control. You are a child of the Most High God, and as such, He will see to your care! As well as the work He has pre-ordained you to accomplish!
Here is where the Apostle Paul found himself at the end of the day for endeavoring to keep the unity of the faith and proclaiming the gospel of Christ with purity. He was not enjoying sweet fellowship with the brothers and sisters at potluck in an attempt to make sure he did not rock the boat! He was pretty much abandoned, cold, and praying they would bring his coat and paperwork before winter.
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. Be diligent to come to me quickly; for De’mas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessaloni’ca- Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalma’tia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. And Tych’icus I have sent to Ephesus. Bring the cloak that I left with Car’pus at Tro’as when you come- and the books, especially the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words. At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen! Greet Pris’ca and Aqui’la, and the household of Onesiph’orus. Eras’tus stayed in Corinth, but Troph’imus I have left in Mile’tus sick. Do your utmost to come before winter. Eubu’lus greets you, as well as Pu’dens, Li’nus, Clau’dia, and all the brethren. The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
George L. Miller
P. S. Note the use of the word fables in 2 Tim. 4:4. It is used the same way to describe the same group of folks in Titus 1:14; those of the circumcision.