Proto-Catholicism!

In April, 1521, Martin Luther appeared before his ecclesiastical accusers at the diet of Worms. They had given him the ultimatum to repudiate his unwavering faith in the sufficiency and perspicuity of the scriptures. Luther is said to have responded, “Unless I am convicted by scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of popes and counsels, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the word of God…God help me! Here I stand.” Like Martin Luther, may we rise above the doubts within and confront the threats without when God’s word is assailed. God help us to be loyal contenders of the faith. Let us stand with God and the scriptures alone.

When Martin Luther decided to confront the errors in the traditional religion of Roman Catholicism, he knew he was in for the battle of his life; that it may indeed cost him his life! Yet, he did not waver; but rather went straight to work systematically refuting error with scripture. Martin knew that God was a God of love, and that He did not reserve His counsel for only those in high position. Martin knew that God the Father desired above all to have a loving relationship with man – His creation; and that relationship was possible for anyone who opened there heart and called upon his name. Not just popes and counsels! In short, Martin Luther did much to advance the common man’s relationship with God through the scriptures. I think it is important to note at this point for the sake of this writing, that although Martin did much to advance the unfathomable loving grace of God, he did not fully conceptualize the absolute finality of the finished work of Christ as many do today. This assumption of course, is by no means designed to diminish the awesome fortitude and tenacity of his tremendous work. It only stands to highlight the revelationary flow of God’s grace as He continues to lavish it upon us in ever increasing measure throughout the centuries! For instance, Martin did not understand just as many Christians do not understand today the issue of God’s forgiveness. Martin was under the impression just as so many Christians are today that the forgiveness of God is accomplished in increments; in other words, little by little. We sin, then we ask God to forgive us. We sin, then we ask God to forgive us – That we may be made righteous again; or rather placed back in right standing with God. Unfortunately, the scriptures do not substantiate this claim, but in fact, outright reject it! Ephesians 1:7 tells us that in Him we HAVE redemption through HIS blood, the forgiveness of sins. Notice that redemption and forgiveness are a packaged deal. I John 2:13 says your sins ARE forgiven you because of HIS name, NOT YOUR MANY CONFESSIONS. II Corinthians 5:21 says that if we are IN HIM, we HAVE BEEN MADE the righteousness of God.

Authors note:

My friends, I believe it is important to take into consideration two things when considering Martin Luther’s position and stance: 1. He was young, or rather early in the church age; which means that it’s understandable that he would miss things that should be obvious to us some 500 years after the bible was translated into English. 2. We should take note of how tenaciously he dealt with error when he knew that the truth of God’s word was being assailed. Whether purposefully or unknowingly! The fact is, that we according to scripture are eternally righteous and forgiven the moment we received the life of Christ into our hearts. So let us not be Protestant – Catholics postured up in I John 1:9, (Father forgive me for I have sinned), but rather let us be grateful that we are forgiven people!

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

Shut your mouth!

Do you justify your life and your relationship with God and others based on your ability to measure up to your own interpretation of the law and your obedience to it? Or do you walk by faith in the One who fulfilled the law on man’s behalf? The way in which a person answers the preceding questions will determine whether or not he or she actually understands the purpose of the law. Sadly enough, for many christians because they do not understand the purpose of the law, the law stands as a tool to be observed in order to remain in right standing with God and others. In other words, the law is used in an attempt to produce righteousness which is something that it was never intended to do. The law was not given to make man more righteous; it was given to shut his mouth. That he may turn to God, and receive the only righteousness that is valid; which of course is the righteousness of God in Christ! The following verses are a short account of the laws intended purpose.

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world 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. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation, by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sin that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No. But by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. ~ Romans 3:19-28

Upon close examination of the preceding verses, what we see is this:

  1. What the law says it says to those under law
  2. No one can be justified by attempting to keep the law
  3. The law brings knowledge of sin
  4. The righteousness of God is something apart from the law
  5. The righteousness of God is by faith in Christ, the only requirement is to believe
  6. Everybody sins
  7. We are justified freely by His grace, through Christ’s blood
  8. God demonstrated His righteousness, long-suffering, forbearance, and mercy at the cross
  9. That we would understand now that God is both just and the One who justifies those who have placed faith in Jesus
  10. What is left to boast about? We can’t keep the law, and our works can’t justify us!

In conclusion, and notice this is a restatement from verse 21, that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

Authors note:

The frustrating part about this subject is that these verses from the book of Romans are taught in churches around the world on a daily basis. And yet a large percentage of the Christian community remains deadlocked under law; diabolically held captive through the co-mingling of two systems that were never intended to work together. Remember, the letter kills but the spirit gives life! The New Covenant is our hope my beloved, and Christ is our life….period!!!

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

P.S. For a closer look at how the covenants are being manipulated, go back and check out my post called Living in the substance of God’s forgiveness vs existing in the shadow of a sacrificial system written in Nov. 2015.

The music of Christ in us!

About 15 years ago, I began to tinker with the guitar. My friends told me that the quickest, most proficient way to learn was to actually study music theory. They instructed me to start with the basics, so that in the end, I would understand the fundamentals and be able to find my way around the fret board. In short, I did not listen to them because I found the study of music to be quite challenging. The result of this error of course is, that I still don’t know how to actually play guitar! Sure, I can fake it and play some songs; and to the untrained ear, my capabilities may look good and sound fine. However, to the trained musician, this will most certainly not be the case; because what he or she will see are the wanderings of the lost. In other words, what they will see is a person that doesn’t know what key he is in, or where the root notes in any given scale begin or end. Quite simply put, the trained musician will know that what they are observing is someone that does not understand the basic principles of music. Which brings us to point!

I have been a christian now for nearly 13 years, yet it has only been in the past three or four years that I have actually experienced the music of Christ in harmony in me! Prior to that, I did not understand because I was not taught that the basic principles of Christianity are all wrapped up in Christ Himself via the New Covenant. In essence, prior to this understanding, my attempts to live the Christian life weren’t much better than the way I had pursued playing the guitar! Of course this analogy falls short when one considers the fact that Christ enters us at salvation, and never leaves us nor forsakes us; nevertheless, the riches of having a New Covenant understanding surrounding God the Father, the word of God, and Christ Himself are without parallel in terms of our relationship with God!

The following statements are taken from a short study series by Bob George called: ‘A Closer look at the New Covenant”:

The New Covenant

 Forgiveness, reconciliation, sanctification, righteousness, justification, identity, life – These New Testament words make up the very essence of the gospel. For most people, however, these are just nebulous doctrines dangling out in space somewhere, as if they don’t belong or connect to each other.

Historically, some groups have been so focused on these “individual doctrines” that great division has resulted. New denominations and sects have been formed based on single doctrines. In the process, the true meaning of the doctrine has been totally obscured. As a result, the average Christian knows something about each piece that makes up the gospel message, but is unsure and confused about how they fit together.

God has given us a framework that holds the various elements of the gospel in place: this framework is called the New Covenant. It encompasses everything that Christ has accomplished for us through His death, burial and resurrection. That is why it is of utmost importance for every believer to understand the New Covenant. With a proper understanding of the New Covenant, all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

Authors note:

I was unable to experience the harmonious music of Christ in me because I was under the bondage of the Old Covenant; and the fact of the matter is, that it is impossible to experience life in the new while remaining under the old! For the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.

And we have such trust in Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the New Covenant, not of the letter but of the spirit; for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. ~ II Cor. 3:4-6

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

The author of doubt!

The serpent told Eve that she would not die if she ate of the forbidden fruit! Eve did not even consider what God said; thus took the fatal bite! The enemy effectively producing two of the worse hindrances known to man in regards to our relationship with God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. These two things are of course: doubt and spiritual death!

As I am writing this, it is Sunday morning and my wife and I are sitting at home! The reason we are sitting at home is because we refuse to go to a church building and be tempted by the devil via the same tactics he used thousands of years ago to create doubt in Eve. Only now it looks like this: God did not say it is finished; you can walk away from your salvation. God did not say you have been perfected forever; you gotta work for that. God did not say you’ve been made holy, blameless and without accusation in His sight; you better walk worthy of your calling to achieve that. God did not say you are the righteousness of Him in Christ; you better keep a short list in order to maintain that position. And the list goes on! I believe Andrew Farley caught the gist of what I am saying in one phrase, stating, “The devil has a theology for us Christians; and he is using it quite effectively in our churches today!”

Author’s note:

I do not understand how a pastor or teacher can say they are believing when they do not believe what God said! To rephrase this I will say it like this: How can anyone really say they are believing when they don’t believe what God said? I know this is harsh, but it is what it is! Either it is finished, and Christ is the author; or it is not finished, in which case the devil remains the author!

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1

“You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.” Galatians 5:7-8

“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit according to the traditions of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

Pastors, teachers beware!

My friends, the gospel of our Lord and God Jesus Christ cannot be chained; nor can it be held captive by unreasonable men that refuse to give God’s Spirit preeminence in what they teach. The ax is at the root of the tree again my beloved; and our time and liberty are at hand! For God Himself has raised up a generation of men and women that cannot be silenced. Vessels chosen for just such a time, in whom the unbridled power of God shines forth via the pure proclamation of Christ Himself! Humanities only hope of glory!

The apostle James put forth a very clear warning in the opening statements of chapter 3 which states the following:

‘My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.’ ~James 3:1-2

In short, this is what I believe James meant: Be careful my brethren and remember that we all stumble in many ways; yet for God’s sake, be mindful to the best of your God given ability not to be double-tongued when teaching or preaching the gospel! Because should you fail to do so, the men and women under your tutelage will strictly judge you for being double-minded and teaching them error.

Authors note:

God is great my friends, and I believe He is unveiling Himself to His creation like never before. So with that said, let us pray that we all pray towards the same end; knowing that our Father loves us; that He is in us; and will be with us for eternity! That this message is the only message we proclaim. God bless you all!

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

P.S. Here are some scriptures for thought-

Likewise, deacons must be reverent not double-tongued. ~ I Tim. 3:8b

In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility. ~ Titus 2:7

In this the love of God was manifest towards us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. ~ I John 4:9-11

This is what it is all about. Law based theology will not produce love!

Awesome series by Andrew Farley called: Is that really in the bible!

http://www.andrewfarleylive.com/series-is-that-really-in-the-bible.php

Hotel Rwanda

My wife and I watched a movie last night called Hotel Rwanda. The movie was centered around a Hutu hotel manager, who actually turned the hotel into a refugee camp in the midst of the genocide of his people. The hotel was owned by a wealthy Belgian who did step in towards the end and help. However the international community did little or nothing; expressing a callous indifference that ultimately culminated in the slaughter of a million people. The entire movie of course had my attention; and I was sadly indignified by the lack of concern shown by the United States. But there was one particular scene that caught my attention and brought the entire theme of the movie home in an instant. This scene involved actor Nick Nolte, who portrayed a U.N peacekeeping general and actor Don Cheadle as Paul Rusesebagina, the hotel manager. As the scene unfolds, a U.N. force that had been promised to rescue the people had arrived. However, much to the surprise of Nick Nolte, the U.N. troops were only given orders to evacuate and rescue the U.N. citizenry. In other words, the Hutu’s, men women and children were to be left behind. And it was Nick Nolte’s unfortunate responsibility to deliver this news to Paul. Basically what he told him is this: Paul, in the eyes of the world, you are worse than black; you are African. You are a non-person! Therefore, it is easy for the international community to turn a blind eye. Now here is the part that struck me personally; not that the whole thing did not strike me personally; this part gave credence to some of what my wife and I have experienced since being cast out of what we used to consider church. Paul was not so surprised by even the brutality of his own people killing each other as he was by observing an entire international community’s response! Because it is completely understandable that men in leadership lose their heads sometimes and make terrible decisions; which in turn draw others in. It is an entirely different matter, however, and becomes down right shocking, when an entire community witnesses with sober mind these injustices, and does nothing. Or worse yet, continues to serve and protect the guilty!

In retrospect, I was not overly shocked by the religious men I encountered in this ordeal that stuck to their tradition with the proud tenacity of a Pharisee. I was shocked however, by friends and family members that agreed we were telling the truth yet did nothing to stop these men from leaving us behind. Friends and family members, which by the way, and worse yet still protect and serve the guilty! I don’t know about anyone else, but I would find it very hard to sleep at night if I were on the other side of the page!

Author’s note:

My friends it is not a pastor’s job to rule over us! The position of the man of God is given by the authority of Christ Himself to come alongside the saints, and oversee to their spiritual needs. That we all come to the unity of the faith through the knowledge of the Son of God! If a pastor is abusing the honor of pastorialship by belittling or bullying the saints; it is our job, our obligation towards one another in love to stand up and use our voice to stop the injustice!

Lord, embolden our spirits with the unfathomable power of your love for us, that our love not be in hypocrisy! Fill us with the power of Your Presence, that we may go boldly before the throne of grace; when the hour is at hand, and we must step up to the plate to refute injustice! We thank You Lord that You hear us, and that You always hear us! We love You Lord! In Jesus precious Name…Amen! God bless you all!

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

This poem grasps the theme of this commentary with brutal clarity and finality. Thank you Christal for bringing it to our attention!

“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

― Martin Niemöller

Kings with us!

‘You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us, and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you! For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored.’ ~ 1 Cor. 4:8-10

To fully understand what Paul said in the preceding verses, we must back up to chapter 3 and take in verses 1-4. Here Paul warns against the worship of men. ‘And I brethren, could not speak to you as spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you are not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, ‘I am of Paul’, and another, ‘I am of Apollos’, are you not carnal?’ The following is simply a restatement, ‘Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.’ (verse 22) Meaning simply that we have been given everything we need to know God because we are His and He is ours, and we are all God’s children. In other words, the only shot caller in God’s kingdom is God Himself! Who by His own gracious hand has made us all kings individually with Himself!

The sufferings and persecutions Paul speaks about in chapter 4:8-13 are a direct result of those that have declared themselves kings and queens of their own little castles while Paul and the apostles suffer dishonor like common criminals. Hence Paul’s statement, ‘You have reigned as kings without us.’ In other words, while you’re in church singing songs about the Lord, we are outcasts in the streets getting beat to death. Sound familiar?

Unfortunately most christians will not experience this until it’s too late and has actually happened to them. I say unfortunate because if we were discerning enough we could stop some of this nonsense before it occurred. However, it is not until we actually stand against religion and the worship of men in an organized church that this horrendous, yet enlightening experience is actually felt. Sadly enough, the worst persecutions are almost always in house! This is a terrible, yet very true and present reality.

Authors note:
My friends, if you have been disfellowshipped by a clergy gone wild and your suffering persecution in regards to the purity of God’s loving grace and the gospel of Christ; here is what I believe Jesus would say to those coming in like prisoners at the end of the procession:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the poor in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Commentary by:
George L. Miller

P.S. Since leaving the physical church, i.e. the building; my wife and I have begun to see and experience God like never before! Because now ours truly is the kingdom of heaven! God bless you all!