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

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

Obedience to the gospel – a relationship with reality!

When I look back at my life to when I first received Jesus, all I remember is how free and full of joy I was! I remember the man that led me to the Lord and how patient and kind he was, as he explained how much God loved me even in the midst of my self-imposed miserable life. He told me how precious I was in Gods sight, and that all God wanted to do was to be my Father; and to walk with me, and talk with me. To love and encourage and instruct me through this life! He told me that the Father was not mad at me; that He just wanted me to know Him so that I could experience His love for me firsthand. So I took him up on his offer and received Christ into my heart, and it was exactly as he said – beautiful! Suddenly I was alive, at peace, and full of his love! Yet, what I did not realize then, and in fact, did not totally realize until just recently was that within that brief conversation, I had become obedient to the gospel of Christ; and as a result had opened my heart and received His life. The reality of a relationship with the Creator of the universe had begun for me! I was like an eager child exploring life for the first time! Everything had become new! I loved life for the first time, and loved other people as well! I was full of the joy of the Lord because I was at liberty to follow my new heart!

Then came church – Where I was instructed to do all these things: sin management of course being at the top of a very long list surrounding all the ways in which I could either please or displease God. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much discussion surrounding the beautiful thing that had already happened to me. In other words, telling me to rest in that place because that’s where the Christian life flowed from.

What I got instead was, if you gain much wisdom you’ll get closer to God; or if you do this or that you’ll get in better standing with Him. What they failed to tell me is that I was as close as I was ever going to get because He actually made Himself one with me, and that I was already in perfect standing with Him! In essence, what happened to me in church is that I had picked up an alternate reality. I had exchanged at least on the surface, or rather in my mind, simple obedience to the gospel for that of obedience to the law, and an advanced course in behavior modification. It wasn’t until I stepped out of the church that I once again stepped back into obedience to the gospel I had first received!

Author’s note:

My friends, obedience to the gospel is simply to open your heart in belief, that you may receive the eternal life of God Himself; at which point He becomes our eternal Daddy! Please do not allow yourselves to be distracted by an alternate reality. Obedience to the simple gospel is in reality an eternal relationship with God the Father!

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy, has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. – I Peter 1:3-5

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

P.S. Please remember as Andrew Farley so beautifully stated, ‘There is a Daddy behind the doctrine!’

 

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

God is not mad!

Good morning everybody! This is what my loving Father has asked me to put forth today: He wants everyone around the world to know that He is not mad at you! That in fact, He loves you beyond measure. That if you think He is mad at you, it is only because you do not know Him. The desire of the Father’s heart towards His creation can be summed up in the following words:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promises, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. ~ II Peter 3:9

For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. ~ Romans 10:13

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. ~ John 17:3

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. ~ I John 4:9, 10

My friends, God is not mad, and He wants you to know it to know Him. Please meditate on these things; and if you have any questions about getting to know Him, please ask! You will not be judged, you will only be loved.

Sincerely,
George L. Miller