To understand the present problem of the Church, one must see the parable examples God gives us in the Word. Over and over He uses “family” as an example. Families have adults, adolescents, and babies. But one must also see that the Church itself began as a baby in need of growing up. When Jesus left the Apostles to take over where He left off, they still had many unanswered questions. They did not begin as wise “adults.” They had to learn as they went, from babyhood to become only as adult as God gave them revelation for their era. Yet we today look at almost anything the Apostles wrote as rules to live by. Perhaps there is error in this.
Further, we find Paul telling us he had not yet attained the goal set before him. This shows we must be careful taking his words as rules to live by, rather than hearing new revelation from the Holy Spirit for our own era. As for Paul’s telling us not to look backwards in our life’s race, I’ll leave it to you to decide if that was from God or from what he thought himself, with the revelation he had at that time. Besides, he may have been advising them to not condemn themselves for past wrongs. We will see that indeed to have our emotions healed, we must look back.
Jesus told us we cannot rise above our teacher, but we try to mimic Paul, making him our teacher. This means we cannot rise above what he was back then. And since he had not yet attained, should he be the one we model ourselves after? Did the Apostles in their time come to be one, as Jesus said His disciples would? Did they accomplish even greater things than He did? No to both questions. So our model should be Jesus, as shown to us by the Holy Spirit.
Paul had a lot of words to explain the difference between grace and Law. But it soon becomes obvious he himself did not know how to put grace to work in place of the Law. He kept talking about the need for obedience, which means, self-discipline, which means the Law. The Law makes you act like Jesus, but does not make you be like Jesus. There is a difference there, not to be revealed until this era.
Here, we must also understand that even though Jesus was talking to then-present people, He was also sometimes speaking specifically to future people. If you can get past staying in small context, this will become apparent and bring more sense to things He said that seemed conflicting with each other. Some things were said to the baby church, while other things were for today’s benefit.
It is no wonder the early fathers of the Church had ambivalence. They were part of the baby Church, and had not yet gained the wisdom to see God’s whole will for when the Church grew up. Back then, the real love God wants in us had not yet been revealed. The Law was still necessary just to get them through the childhood stage. Just as we do in our families in putting the law on our kids because they cannot yet understand reasons for right and wrong. As experiences come, we learn the “whys” of choosing right over wrong. And it is hoped by the time adulthood is reached, one is ready to go out into the world with wisdom to handle life. The same was needed for the baby Church, as we saw Jesus putting Law on them, too. Since we are near the time Jesus comes for His Bride, She must learn how to do away with the Law in her life, and live by wisdom, righteousness, and love instead, attaining her goal.
In a family, children are raised with the Law imposed on them, as they have no ability to choose good by wisdom. As they mature, they are allowed to suffer more consequences of their decisions, learning the hard way. By the time they move on, they are expected to know how to get along in life for themselves. They are no longer under obedience to their parents. Likewise, baby Christians must have the Law on them. Then God begins letting them suffer the consequences of wrong decisions, expecting them to use this learned wisdom. They should come to no longer need to obey God. They should by then know right from wrong, and to join Jesus in fulfilling the Law, no longer being under it.
As it is taught in our churches, we are to remain under obedience for the rest of our lives. This is not logical, as it never allows us to assume the grown adult position God has for us. It makes a lie of Jesus’ words that He is coming after a prepared Bride. And it gives us an excuse to take the easy path to destruction, assuming we have all we need, and need no more. Study the words you hear in today’s sermons. You will hear that we are to live under grace, free from the Law. But then you will hear from the same speakers to be obedient to the “Principles” of the Law. That is double talk, spoken from not knowing God’s whole plan of love. Now matter how they explain it, it comes down to obeying the Law, which is a work of the flesh and in the end, not acceptable to God.
One thing that makes it easy for us to misunderstand this is our not knowing what “Disciple” means. It strictly means, “Learner.” We do not differentiate it from the word, “Discipline,” and come to think being a disciple is being one under discipline.
What makes it confusing is that the Law still has some benefits. This is because of another law, the one of sowing and reaping. This is a law on the earth, just as gravity is a law on the earth. This sowing and reaping law was put on the earth so it could naturally occur, thus teaching us. This gives us a way to observe what is right and wrong, and to make good choices in order to reap good in return. When we are taught the Law as baby Christians, we learn to obey it, and by this, we see good coming from doing so. So there comes a time when the Law should no longer be needed in us. But, as babies, we cling to what we have been taught and never grow up in Christ. Instead, we think that the more we obey God, the more mature we are. Baby thinking.
None of this is to say that following the Law does not give one a relationship with the Lord. It does. One can have awesome experiences with Him. It changes your whole life. While under it, you can be filled with the Holy Spirit and operate in the giftings. But it is not the ultimate relationship He wants. Nor does it bring people peace on this earth, for it will fail under great stress, unless you have closed your eyes to the truth and chant your way through life. The Law is carnal, and fights carnal sin. But it does nothing to fight spiritual warfare against iniquity, which is spiritual.
The Law always fails in the end, yet leaders put their confidence in it to this day and instill in the sheep to go along with it. Consider this: The Law requires self-discipline to obey it. So if you are being taught to discipline yourself, you are being put under the Law, no matter how it is disguised by confusing words.
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