Reform Is Not an Option

Neil Girrard

Scriptures Referenced in This Article:
          (Follow the Scripture links if you want to study the Scriptures for yourself.)
Josh. 7:20-21 π Mt. 7:23 π Mt. 15:14 π 1 Cor. 5:11 π 2 Cor. 6:17 π 2 Cor. 7:1 π Eph. 4:13 π Eph. 4:16 π Eph. 6:12-13 π 2 Ths. 2:3 π 1 Tim. 4:1 π 2 Tim. 3:12 π Heb. 10:24-25 π Heb. 12:17 π 1 Pet. 4:1 π 1 Pet. 4:11 π Rev. 19:7

Where the people of Christ go next is a subject of great debate in certain circles. Attached to that very same question is how will they get there and what will it look like as they go and once they are there. Answering these four questions alone would be a daunting task – one beyond the scope of a short writing such as this. The bottom-line answer to those questions is framed in the overly simplified statement: As Jesus was in His day, so too His people must be like Him in their day.

Where we go next is summed up by recognizing that the bride must prepare herself for her Husband. ( Rev. 19:7; top ) No woman in her right mind will arrive at the wedding ceremony clad in filthy, stinking rags and expect the man she is to marry to perform some last-minute, miraculous transformation in her nature and appearance – no matter how good and powerful the man may be. In fact, the better and more powerful he is, the more honor and respect – not disrespect and dishonor – he is due! Such unrealistic expectations that any man would receive such a woman come from the realms of delusion and sick fantasy, not the realms of spirit and truth.

Where we go next also implies that we must start from where we are at. Most people who are already acquainted with the gospel of Christ Jesus have been anesthetized or have already succumbed to the spirit-killing work of the Satanic forces aligned against us by presenting and submitting themselves to an organized, institutional “church.” Many of those who have escaped mainstream “churches” have found only little differences (mostly in scale) as they have explored the idea and practice of house “church.” Don’t get me wrong – I believe that God, if it were left up to Him, would organize His people around various homes. Unfortunately, too many house “churches” are just institutional “churches” condensed into somebody’s house as one or more Satanic scheme is foolishly followed, embraced, practiced and defended.

Where we go next – if we would go to where God beckons us – requires a cutting off of where we have been. We must not bring along the fine Babylonian garment and the silver and gold of the “church” (see Josh. 7:20-21; top ) for they are merely the evidence of the sin that is in our camp. For two thousand years the people of Christ have incrementally absorbed pagan, anti-Christian notions into their practice of “following” Christ – so much so that now it is routinely expected that you are supposed to do what is right in your own eyes (lawlessness) in the name of Christ.

There are many who will stubbornly resist the notion that “church” is a scheme of the devil to keep people from being like Christ in their day. These are risking everything they stand to inherit from God in Christ for the sake of some paltry traditions of men. If they remain on the path of denying and rejecting truth, like Esau, when it is time to inherit a blessing, they will be rejected for there will no longer be any place for their repentance – even though they diligently and desperately seek it with tears. (see Heb. 12:17; top )

Those who stubbornly resist the command to separate from so-called “brothers” in Christ who are really idolaters (or worse) and to quit touching unclean things (see 2 Cor. 6:17 ; 1 Cor. 5:11; top ) will be the apostasy, the great falling away from the faith ( 1 Tim. 4:1 ; 2 Ths. 2:3; top ) Make no mistake - the falling away will be accomplished in the context of “church” - even “Bible-believing church” - and all of it will done in the name of Christ apart from genuine faith in Christ.

Those who intend to go on to where God beckons us to go must forsake the “church” and all those who cling tenaciously to its man-made traditions and demonically-inspired errors. This will lead to a war between genuine and nominal followers of Christ. How one conducts this warfare – with the weapons of God (love and truth) or the weapons of the devil (hate and deceit) – will clearly demonstrate to which camp that one belongs. Do not be deceived – the institutional “church” (and all those who still try to bring along elements of it with them wherever they go) will not submit to reform because it cannot and will not submit to the Headship of Christ. Though “church” groups of all kinds give Him lip service (at least on Sundays), the hearts and lives of most “church”-goers uses the idea of Christ and God as something under their control to improve their lives and to make them feel better about themselves. Christ could not possibly be a God (to be in complete control of their lives) who would call them to suffer pain, indignity, shame, ridicule or persecution. (see 1 Pet. 4:1 ; 2 Tim. 3:12; top ) No, “following” Christ is a culture-friendly, feel-good “group” experience for the isolated individual to do what he thinks is right and proper in his own eyes. Make no mistakes, though – such as these will be dismissed from Christ’s presence on judgment day. ( Mt. 7:23; top )

Wherever we go from here in our pursuit of Christ, it will be against a back drop of ridicule and persecution from the “church.” The “pastor” (an unScriptural position) has been corrupted by his use of power over other believers and has become ensnared by the devil. He has become a blind guide to an all-volunteer army of blind followers – none see the ditch that is just in front of them. ( Mt. 15:14; top )

Those who go on with Christ from where they are at must recognize that there is no one single aspect of Christ that we can attain to and hope for salvation. We must attain to the full measure of Christ in our lives ( Eph. 4:13; top ) or we will not be ready for His return. We cannot operate in any of Satan’s counterfeits – tolerance rather than agape love, error rather than truth, “church” rather than being His people of light, following “pastors” instead of the Head Christ Jesus, etc. – and hope to be acceptable to Christ on that day. We cannot jettison one or even many sins while retaining only a few or even one known sin. No – “let us cleanse ourselves from everything that defiles our bodies and spirits, and in reverence to God carry on our consecration to completeness.” ( 2 Cor. 7:1; top ; Williams – emphasis added)

We must also get away from the idea that following Christ is about having meetings. Traditional, liturgical, institutional “church” meetings actually inhibit, prohibit and/or prevent the assembly of the body of Christ. ( Heb. 10:24-25 ; Eph. 4:16; top ) Meetings cater to speaking gifts but neglect and even exclude those with serving gifts. (see 1 Pet. 4:11; top ) Any business that spends too much time gathering its employees into meetings and conferences and too little time attending to the realities of that particular business will not stay in business long. The same is true of armies that neglect the realities and nature of war and the penalty is ceasing to exist! Christ will bring His people together in His time and in His way to accomplish His purposes but He is not governed by our calendars and clocks! That the “church” is so governed is yet one more evidence of their refusal to submit to His Headship!

Simply leaving the “church” and even jettisoning from our lives all of the “church” deceptions does not make us perfected by any means. But it does bring us into a more honest and open warfare with our real enemies, the spiritual adversaries against whom we wrestle and stand ( Eph. 6:12-13; top ), and we can actually take the battle to them instead of being mere helpless captives in their prison system. We can be certain, though, that our every step toward greater obedience to Christ will be bitterly and viciously contested by these spirits. We can only be grateful that these spirits are restrained by God’s over-arching authority over our lives or we would be as helpless as a bug encountering a fast-moving windshield. In our flesh we have no ability to withstand such a spiritual being. But with the armor and weapons of God, we are able to be more than overcomers.

At this time, the choice is ours to make whether we will take up arms in the Lord’s army or whether we will be found at last to be enlisted among His enemies. Soon all our choices will be sealed and the roles we have most deeply chosen for ourselves will be acted out.

Let he who has ears hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.

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