Month 11:19, Week 3:4 (Revee/Shavu'ot), Year 5935:306 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 11 February 2012
Anarchistic Salvation vs. True
Continued from Part 1
Every true believer knows in his heart of hearts that he or she should be maintaining Yahweh's moral standards and yet the sad truth is the majority do not even uphold the minimal standards of conduct - the Ten Commandments - and not much better than the world around them at that. If you think these are hard enough, consider that Yah'shua (Jesus) raised an even higher standard for us when He said that even hating someone or lusting after a married woman made you guilty of respectively breaking the commandment not to murder or commit adultery.
The excuse is often made that we have these kinds of thoughts floating our heads more or less on a continual basis, that it is impossible to
make every thought captive for Messiah. But Yah'shua (Jesus) knew that repeating thoughts create habital thinking; and habitual thinking will eventually break out of its cage when opportunity presents itself for you to act on it. Thought precedes action - we rarely do anything without first having throught through an imaginary scenario in our head. The trouble is, according to Yah'shua (Jesus), the world of thoughts is a world every bit as real as the physical world outside and we are as accountable inside in that world of pre-deeds as we are in the world where deeds are born or incarnated in works. And that, essentially, is the difference between the Tanakh (Old Testament) and the B'rit Chadashah Scriptures (New Testament): intent didn't count as much under the Old Covenant as it does now in the New.
Do you you think that the New Covenant is easier than the Old? Think again! A man in the Old Covenant could lust away at a married woman and get away with it before Yahweh so long as he didn't actually go and commit the sin in the flesh (it would cost him his life). And yet people believe that the Law under Moses was tougher than it was under Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ).
As ever, wrong thinking about this matter has led to wrong theology and wrong lifestyles. Most of the Christian world teaches that all you have to do is accept Christ and everyone will go to the same heaven no matter what you do. Theirs is a 'gospel' of anarchism which appeals to those who would lower even the divine standard of behaviour - the expected morals and ethics - revealed again through Moses!
The idea that there are two classes of believer is repugnant to those who insist the bar of morals and ethics be lowered to accommodate their lawlessness. They do not want a brigher light to be shone on them to expose their sinfulness. Yet there absolutely are two classes of believer described in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) and there totally is a different group to these amoral spiritual anarchists - they are described as the Righteous Woman, the Bride of Messiah or the 144,000. These are described as the overcomers. They are identical to those who strove to walk with the real integrity of character that won the first century Jerusalem congregation its deserved acclaim from all the people:
The "narrow way" (Mt.7:13) of these early believers is absolutely not the four-lane highway of the modern Torahless anarchists. It's hard to find because the gate leading to it is tough to find - it too is small. But anyone can spot a highway afar off.
"Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of lev (heart), praising Elohim (God) and having favour with all the people" (Acts 2:44-47, NKJV).
Once you start teaching the mitzvot (commandments) you have to start teaching repentance too. And repentance is not a popular theme with 21st century megaministries and megachurches because they need lots of members to cover their expensive way of life. Most just are not comfortable with 'repentance' because it isn't 'seeker-friendly' enough. Where there is an absence of Torah-teaching there is invariably an absence of teaching repentance too.
It is very important to note there that John's definition of right actions of making teshuvah (repentance) were not his invention as part of some new religion be was creating - he was not, as some Baptists have insisted to me, the 'first Baptist'. Rather, John's teachings were simply a summary of Yahweh's mitzvot (commandments) that define His tzedukah or righteousness and justice. They are identical to the same right behaviour that Nehemiah before him had to remind the returning Judahites from Babylon (Neh.5) and they are the same right behaviour that Yah'shua (Jesus) focussed on too (Mt.5-7). The idea of a basic set of mitzvot (commandments) is thus fundamental to both the Old and the New Covenants. Yah'shua (Jesus) and the apostles did not establish a new religion or 'church' but were simply bringing the Nation of Israel to spiritual completion.
"Then [John the Baptist] said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, 'Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of teshuvah (repentance), and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that Elohim (God) is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.' So the people asked him, saying, 'What shall we do then?' He answered and said to them, 'He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.' Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, 'Teacher, what shall we do?' And he said to them, 'Collect no more than what is appointed for you.' Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, 'And what shall we do?' So he said to them, 'Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages'" (Luke 3:7-14, NKJV).
The lack of these high standards of conduct amongst professing believers is an indictment against all Bible-based religions today. Yah'shua (Jesus) insisted that those who followed Yahweh's ways, as He taught them - that included not just the action-mitzvot (commandments) but the intentions of the lev (heart) and the thoughts of the mind - would be recognised by their ahavah (love), a quality that sets a soul apart in this selfish world:
It is impossible to realise this high goal of ahavah (love) in a lawless environment. The fact that you do not murder, commit adultery against, or rob someone is the proof that you love them. You cannot separate ahavah (love) from the mitzvot (commandments) and Torah (Law). But you can expand the definition of ahavah (love) to include thoughts and feelings in addition to the expected outward behaviour revealed through Moses. The idea of the anarchists (and indeed our modern 20th century hippies) that you can somehow separate ahavah (love) from the mitzvot (commandments) is a logical absurdity. There was never any such thing as 'free love', an oxymoron if ever there was one - true ahavah (love) costs dearly: it requires considerable self-sacrifice. It isn't just having a good feeling that leads you to disobey Yahweh's social conventions. It isn't lawless eroticism. It is proscribed by very clear Torah boundaries erected for man's safety and happiness.
"A new mitzvah (commandment) I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My talmidim (disciples), if you have ahavah (love) for one another" (John 13:34-35, NKJV).
At the other end of the spectrum, bordering on legalism, is the idea that if you are diligent about adhering to the Bible's mitzvot (commandments) in right action and thought, that you're somehow secure. The story of the Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-31) underlines the impossibility of getting right with Yahweh purely through Torah-observance for you will recall he had a fatal weakness that undermined everything else he had done and was doing:
That "one thing" was enough to exclude him from the Kingdom for he refused to follow Yah'shua (Jesus). In a word, he rejected salvation! Why? There was something this young man had not overcome, something that was so much greater than his own committment to the mitzvot (commandments) of Torah that it undid everything else he had ever done! He loved wealth - not that wealth was wrong, but he loved wealth more than Elohim (God). That is hard to measure, and harder to live by, because it can't be done without spiritual regeneration. It requires a transformation of the mind and lev (heart). And that can only be done supernaturally, without the works of Torah for self-justification, by making a complete surrender of the Self to the Master. It meant wholly yielding the toqef or authority over his life to Yahweh, something he had never done before.
"One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me" (Mark 10:21, NKJV).
This was a very moral and upstanding young man, and he was very obedient to Elohim (God), but he had a secret sin to overcome, hidden away inside his lev (heart). Yah'shua (Jesus) exposed it but he would not make teshuvah (repentance). Instead, he walked away heavy-hearted, determined to continue pursuing the self-righteous legalistic religion of the Pharisees which took men and women down to hell.
We all have our own personal addictions, obsessions, anxieties and other secret sins whilst living Torah like that rich young man. When Yah'shua (Jesus) said He had come to bring the Torah to completion (to "fulfil" it), He had in mind the inner world of spirit, that included mental and emotional drives, which the Old Covenant did not fully cover, for it was concerned primarily with regulating outer action. The New Covenant was inaugurated, not as a 'renewed' covenant (as many Messiancs would prefer to believe), but as a totally new one with a wholly different basis, one that begins with the inner man to govern his impulses and working its way outward to govern outer action by means of a wholly new set of supernaturally-derived set of divine impulses! This supernatural government of the inner man was not - and is not - acquired by mere self-discipline but can only come into existence in the soul by complete surrender to Messiah that leads to complete spiritual regeneration - a new birth. By means of this, the outer Torah commandments are then lived by a means wholly different than that in the Old Covenant, not now just a matter of will-power (which cannot overcome in the flesh anyway). We live Torah in the New Covenant on a totally different basis to that of the Old. This is something a lot of Messianics still don't understand.
Idolatry is thus seen to have as its source the human lev (heart) which a man by his own will-power can never overcome...which is why he can never save himself. Under the Old Covenant, he had to have these failures covered again and again by blood sacrifices whilst he kept on failing. When modern believers claiming to follow Messiah simply do what those of the Old Covenant did, they are betraying not only a fundamental flaw in their understanding of the Besorah (Gospel) but are exposing their lack of the supernatural empowerment than comes from total surrender. And that is the essential difference between the 144,000, who have stopped sinning, and the rest who have not. And that is why the lawless anarchists are so baffled and filled with disbelief when they read the Apostle John who insists:
These passages of Scripture alone disarm the whole anarchistic, lawless gospel of the majority. They are actually shocking, if we're honest enough to care to admit it. They still shock me. It means that habitual sin is at an end when you are truly born again, and if habitual sin remains, then it means you are still keeping some part of yourself back from Yah'shua (Jesus). Indeed, that is the only reason we keep on breaking the same mitzvah (commandment) by sinning again and again.
"[Yah'shua/Jesus] was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him" (1 John 3:5-6, NKJV).
"Whoever has been born of Elohim (God) does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of Elohim (God)" (1 John 3:9, NKJV).
"We know that whoever is born of Elohim (God) does not sin; but he who has been born of Elohim (God) keeps himself (guards his soul), and the wicked one does not touch him" (1 John 5:18, NKJV).
Looking out for these sin issues and overcoming them habitually is what making teshuvah (repentance) means. Yah'shua (Jesus) said that this overcoming would be rewarded both in this life and the next, one of the rewards thereof being the chance to understand Yahweh's mysteries contained in Scripture. Once you do, then certain passage of Scripture will personally apply to you such as:
I can testify for myself that had I not, for example, striven to both love and be obedient to Yahweh's moedim or appointments that I would never have understood all the divine tavnith (pattern) of the cosmos that has been given me over the last two years, a revelation that has helped me understand so many other things in the Davar (Word)! So I guarantee this promise holds good.
"Then He turned to His talmidim (disciples) and said privately, 'Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it'" (Luke 10:23-24, NKJV).
The doctrine of the spiritually lazy and careless that claims there are no divisions of believers either now or in the eternities is seen, then, to be a pernicious lie that makes people over-confident in watered-down gospels that promise cheap grace and modern escapist myths such as the rapture and promote soulish babble instead of intelligent searching of the Davar (Word). The Bride of Christ is not 'everyone who believes', irrespective of how much they surrender and obey, but only those who consciously seek to overcome through complete surrender to Messiah and who receive thereby the divine empowerment of their new birth to be obedient, Torah-observant talmidim (disciples).
May you find that strait and narrow way that leads to victory in overcoming and an end to sinning!