Performance = Transformation; The treadmill of religious works!

I’m sure most of us have heard the old inerrancy, sufficiency speech; and though I agree whole-heartedly that the word of God is infallible and inerrant in its original context; I also believe we have run so far away from it that we need a Hubel telescope to bring it back into focus. Fortunately for us, we have that telescope in the person and works of Jesus Christ, through the lens of His life, death, burial and resurrection! I’m sure you have all heard the old analogy that all roads lead back to Rome; well in the case of the gospel, all roads lead back to the cross. This of course is fundamental Christianity at its best! Yet we have strayed so far from it that the cross is nearly lost in religious obscurity. Dogmatically taught and preached away from until it is as if it never happened, and Jesus did not literally mean what He said when He cried out from the cross, “It is finished!” The unfortunate result of this reality is that the Christian majority by means of obedience to the exterior leading of the law has set itself to the task of fulfilling in itself what has already been fulfilled in Christ; which of course is impossible. True transformation does not occur through performance. Transformation happens by keeping our minds eye on the perfect nature of Christ in us; which then begins the process of renewing our mind to a new creation reality; that in turn begins to manifest the works of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control; in other words, Christ-like behavior! Now of course, there are no time constraints here, this is simply called growing in grace!

Now, in order to truly gain spiritual confirmation, revelation of God’s grace; you must have an unconditional gospel; for if you do not have an unconditional gospel, you do not have anything to demonstrate its reality. For instance, if you have a ‘yeah but’, ‘if’ or ‘and’ attached to any of the gifts and eternal promises of God; you have effectively nullified the grace of God in one’s mind. This does not nullify the power of grace from God’s perspective; this hindrance is personal to an unrenewed mindset. This problem is the biggest error in modern Christianity! There must be no strings attached to the finished work of the cross!

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. ~ Romans 12:1-2

To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. ~ Col. 1:27

Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.  Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations – “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle”, which all concern things which perish with the using – according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. ~ Col. 2:18-23

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit. ~ Gal. 5:22-25

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. ~ Prov. 14:12

Authors note:

My friends, the operation of the spirit is a very simple yet complex subject that I by no means claim to have fully apprehended! Therefore, this work, as any other, should be left in the realm of the Holy Spirit for individual interpretation and confirmation. May the word of Christ dwell in you richly!

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

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Religious Theology – The wide gate!

 

The following statement is taken from the book of Alcoholics Anonymous; and although written by a secular author, the point of the statement itself unfortunately substantiates the position many Christians have taken concerning the New Covenant grace of God!

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”

There is a common thread amongst the religions of the world, and that thread is an adherence to a certain set of moral or ethical principles that either maintain or substantiate a person’s relationship with God. These principles and standards vary from religion to religion, or from denomination to denomination; but at their core, they all have one thing in common – They are all based on a law relationship with deity. True Christianity on the other hand, which by the way is not law based, is the only way in which man can actually and completely be united with God relationally. Yet the majority of Christian teaching not only runs away from this principle, but bolsters it at every occasion by proclaiming abstinence from sin as its main theme rather than the finished work of Christ; which in the grand scheme of things only serves to incite sin in the life of the believer! This, my friends, is the wide gate of religious theology, and many will go in through it.

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations– “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using–according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. ~ Colossians 2:16-23

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. ~ Romans 3:19-20

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ ~ Matthew 7: 21-23

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. ~ Proverbs 14:12

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. ~ Matthew 7:13-14

Author’s note:

Writings like these are bittersweet. Bitter because I know so many people caught up in religious theology; sweet because I know the unfathomable love and mercy of the One who is the solution! The One who watches over His people! The One that has victory in the end! Christianity is not an advanced course in behavior modification, with all the behavior verses in the bible plus the law as a tutor. Christianity is about a person working with our person that we may learn to walk together in love – That person is Jesus Christ Himself!

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

Fellowship or dictatorship – You decide!

 

Over the course of the last five or six years, my wife and I have continually been subjected to making choices and decisions which have left us in a position of very little to no fellowship with other believers. At least not face to face; which is to say that most of our fellowship is done via the internet. My wife and I do not make a lot of money, and I had a stroke several months ago, which means that we cannot drive all over southern California in an attempt to find a church whose leadership can keep the message of Christ straight. And by this I mean, a church that teaches and preaches the finished work of Christ; i.e. the New Covenant. I’m sure someone reading this commentary at this point would say that I am just being too dogmatic; that I need to compromise, etc., etc. And my reply to that is simply, there is only one gospel message; and the glue that holds it all together is Christ Himself via the New Covenant! If the pastor i.e. leadership of a particular denomination or institution does not have at least a basic revelation or understanding of New Covenant principle, that institution, pastor, congregants will not receive someone that does. Because the message of the old does not blend with the new! In other words, the message of a New Covenant believer will be in direct conflict with those that are under sway of a mixture; and they will not put up with it! Which of course means that they will not allow you to preach and teach the message of grace as the apostles did, (or even Jesus for that matter!)

The following statements are just a very small example of the arguments these folks, these institutions will use in an attempt to dictate, and thus squelch the message; as well as eradicate you, the New Covenant believer from their presence!

If I say that we have been eternally set apart, cleansed, and forgiven, (Col. 1:14), they will say, ‘Yeah but… What about 1 John 1:9’ If I say the law is the ministry of death and condemnation, (II Cor. 3:7-9), they will say, ‘Yeah but…. We need the law as a moral compass for life.’ If I say that we have a new heart that we can trust, (Eze. 36:26), they will say, ‘Yeah but…. What about Jeremiah 17:9? Doesn’t that say that we have a deceitful and wicked heart that is beyond knowing?’ If I say that God remains faithful to the covenant that He swore by Himself; not only to fulfill but to uphold, (Heb. 6:13-20, II Tim. 2:13), they will say, ‘Yeah but…. You better do your part, or you will lose it.’ And if I say that we have peace with God, (Romans 5:1-2), they will say ‘Yeah but…. You better not get too comfortable.’ And the yeah but’s go on and on until there is nothing left but unfruitful contention!

‘But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonishing; knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned. ~ Titus 3:9-11

Authors note:

My friends, true obedience to the gospel message is a relationship with reality! If you are unable to present the gospel of Christ in its pure form in your church, you are under a dictatorship!

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

P.S. To gain a better understanding of the position I have taken in this commentary, please look up the scriptures I have cited to substantiate my point!

Unmitigated audacity!

I would rather be a dope addict that at least in part believed Jesus, though still under the bondage of drugs; than a pastor of a church that had been warned about teaching law, yet in his religious pride continued to do so. Because I can assure you that if God is in the business of placing numerical value on sin as some would suggest; it will not be the dope-addict that tastes the fires of hell, but rather those that scared him into the bushes with their teaching.

The unmitigated audacity expressed by a clergy still under law just blows my mind. The fact that one man could beat another man with the law while simultaneously teaching another gospel I find incomprehensible. It reminds me of that old Frank Zappa song, ‘Yellow snow”. Watch out where the huskies go…don’t you eat that yellow snow.

“As I urge you when I went into Macedonia, remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith. From which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.’ ~ I Tim. 1:3-7

By the way, these passages come right off of the front page of one of the so-called pastoral epistles! Hmmmm!

Authors note:

If you get trapped by the following verses in I Timothy 1:8-11, remember that you were made the righteousness of God apart from the law. These verses were and are directed at the unbelieving not the struggling.

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

Confession!

The whole principle behind confession is in identifying unwholesome or unedifying areas in our lives that we may in turn seek God for solutions. I do not regard confession as a New Testament task that we must focus on or else; but rather a life sustaining reality born in the knowledge of the fact that we are actually walking with the Creator of the universe. If we view confession as a task, it becomes just another form of slavery to sin because it can perform no more than the law. It can show us that we are in error, dirty or missing the mark; but confession in and of itself has no power to heal. At least not in terms of our relationship or standing with God.

Authors note:

There is one area where confession does have the power to heal. Unfortunately this area is too often overlooked! It is in regards to our personal relationships with one another; and the topic is transparency. That we would bring our offenses to the table and honestly discuss where we have hurt one another; that we may be healed and seek reconciliation. 

‘Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.’ ~ James 5:16

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

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The top of the mountain!

When Moses went up Mt. Sinai to meet with God, the nation of Israel stood at the bottom in fear; waiting for the man of God to return. My friends, the Lord has come to live in our hearts! Why are so many still waiting at the bottom of the mountain; living in fear; and subjugated to another man?

Jesus is God, Emmanuel, and He is with us eternally! So let us take our rightful position with Him, all fears removed at the top of the mountain!

‘Then they said to Moses, ‘You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.’ ~ Exodus 20:19

God, who at various times in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things.

‘While He was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!’

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

Right life – wrong message!