Those in these latter days that dare to challenge the rebellious departures from God’s Word being made by many professed Christians and their chosen leader/teachers are very often accused of legalism. I know this because it has happened to me. Microsoft Encarta Dictionary defines legalism as “strict adherence to a literal interpretation of a law, rule or religious moral code.” Amazingly, I have never heard the Lord Jesus called a “legalist” and He had no concern about this for Himself in literally interpreting and applying God’s Word.1 My accusers, no doubt, are only attempting to escape their sin guilt from corrupting, compromising, setting aside and/or disobeying God’s Word.
The confusion involved with religious legalism goes all the way back to Eden when the serpent negatively restated God’s actual directive to Adam and Eve added words to it (compare Genesis 2:16-17 and 3:1-3). Obviously, God intended for Adam to give strict and literal adherence to His specific command. There was no room for exceptional situations or conditions in His command to Adam; God meant for Adam to give absolute and full obedience to what He had commanded him. The consequence of death was also clearly stated to the man for this very reason. Thus, strict obedience to God’s specific commandments and instructions is not legalism, but righteousness!
Satan’s deceitful restatement of and Eve’s added words to God’s very concise and save one prohibitive element, permissive command to Adam presents factors for the first time in human experience that lead especially to religious legalism. God’s Law and all commandments to mankind are always to be understood as for our good and beneficial. Prohibitions exist to help us avoid sin and its consequences. Himself a rebel against God, Satan negatively frames God’s Law and commandments as stifling rules and regulations that we now as sinners by nature, also reflexively rebel against (Romans 8:7). Rebels want their way and hate all rules righteous or not!
Even so, very oddly, mankind has been historically drawn to negatively framed religion. Like Eve and Israel’s religious establishment by the time the living “Word of God” become flesh arrived on the scene, they add to, embellish or arrogantly set aside God’s Law and commandments and expect the result to be legalistically kept (John 1:1, 14-18; Mark 7:1-13; Colossians 2:20-23, NKJV). In their self-made religion they appear to want to outdo God in wickedly attempting to impress Him with their outward show. But the Lord Jesus was not impressed and repeatedly challenged the areas of 1st century Israel’s invented religious legalisms involving God’s Law, commandments and Judaic rituals.
For example, Israel was specifically commanded by God in the Ten Commandments to keep the Sabbath Day holy to Him and cease from all of their normal work to rest (Deuteronomy 5:12-15). However, 1st century religious legalism went beyond God and made it a matter of law breaking to do a good deed such as healing (or being healed) and showing mercy on the Sabbath all of which the Lord Jesus did and rebuked them in the process (Matthew 12:1-8; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 13:10-17; John 5:1-16). As “Lord of the Sabbath,” the living Word perfectly knew God’s good intent in the Law was for and to bless and refresh Israel with rest in the divine presence (Mark 2:27-28, NKJV).
As the perfect Fulfiller and Interpreter of the Law along with all of the whole Old Testament’s spiritual, moral and ethical instruction, the Lord Jesus Christ continually showed the fullness of divine good intent in them (Matthew 5:17-48). In many cases, the Lord with His literal interpretations and applications in spiritual depth and required actions went impossibly well beyond what the Law on the surface demanded and sinful human nature was willing or able to do--or who really desires to love a known enemy? But this brings us to where the Lord Jesus is the bridge between the terms of Israel’s Old Covenant embodied in the written Law and those of the New Covenant (Matthew 26:26-28).2
In ushering in the New Covenant with Israel through His blood, the Lord brought into play its terms announced by God through Jeremiah the prophet which still involved the written Law and commandments (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Now, though, God would supernaturally place His Law ‘“in their minds, and write it on their hearts’” as the New Testament writer of Hebrews also affirms while celebrating the sacrifice of Christ for sin and its forgiveness that makes it all possible (Jeremiah 31:33b; Hebrews 10:11-18, NKJV). Along with producing a new heart (nature) in them, the Holy Spirit would be the Agent of placing God’s Law in their minds and writing it on their hearts (Ezekiel 11:19-20, 36:25-27).
1 See the September 16, 2018, Justifying The Means By The End, under the category, Instruction.
2 For a discussion of the New Covenant, read, God’s New Covenant, under the category, Holidays and my two-part post, Party Of The Second Part, under the category,
The Faith all in January of 2014.
The inward and supernatural character of the New Covenant is what gives rise to the apostle Paul’s rebuke of his fellow 1st century Jews still seeking to relate to God and earn salvation by attempting to keep the Law through their own strength and effort (Romans 2:25-29). Graciously included in the New Covenant, we Gentiles that believe do not have to futilely attempt to keep God’s Law and commandments in our own strength and effort either nor become Jews and practice Jewish rituals to be saved since it is impossible (Romans 3:9-20). But saved exclusively by grace through faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit does His work in us too (Romans 3:21-30; 15:8-13)!
Just because we do not attempt by any means to keep God’s written Law and commandments to be saved in the New Covenant, does not mean God has voided their authority in our lives as Paul makes very plain in His anointed teaching (Romans 3:31, 7:1-14). Indeed, he uses his own experience as a Jewish Christian to illustrate how those “in Christ Jesus” go from futility because of sin in the face God’s written Law and commandments to victory through the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our lives. For not only does He put God’s Law and commandments in our minds and write them on our hearts, but He also fills us with love and power to fulfill and do them (Romans 7:15-8:6; Ephesians 3:14-21, NKJV)!3
This is what is fully behind the apostle’s instruction contrasting the Law as the physical “letter” written on stone that kills and it written on our hearts by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:1-6, NKJV). By letter in context, he does not mean “the letter of the law” as in legalism (though it too, kills), but as representative of the whole of God’s Law and commandments with the statutes, judgments, ordinances and instructions to Israel in all of the Old Testament as part of their Old Covenant relationship. These are perfect, but kill because no sinful mortal can keep them. Despite that, as Holy Scripture, the Old Testament retains beneficial value as Paul instructs his son in the faith (2 Timothy 3:14-17).
Truly, with new revelation, the instruction by the Lord Jesus, His apostles and New Testament writers the Holy Spirit uses is an elucidation of the Old Testament as seen by how all quote from it; many using the phrase, “it is written.” From this truth, it should be very apparent that unless context or literary form dictate otherwise, the whole Bible is to be objectively understood through literally interpreting and applying it as it is written!4 So, while Christians do not have to keep any Jewish specific laws or rituals, the Holy Spirit leads us to discern and apply their spiritual, moral and ethical dimensions as well as transcendent truths to our lives (Mark 7:14-23; Acts 10:9-16, 24-29; 15:22-29).
Again, by way of example, Christians do not keep the Sabbath observance on the seventh day of the week as God commanded the Jews. Christians may consecrate any day to God for worship and rest before Him as the fullness of spiritual application of the Law taught by the Lord. Each of us enjoys personal liberty in Christ to select a day or many (Romans 14:1-13). By a voluntary consensus, most Christians have chosen to assemble together on the first day of the week as did the apostles (who as Jews, still also went to the Temple or Synagogue on the Sabbath) in homage to the resurrection of our Lord (Acts 3:1, 13:13-15, 20:7; Colossians 2:16-17).
Yet, as spiritual descendents of the 1st century Judaizers the apostle Paul had to contend with, professed Christian religionists have retained Jewish Sabbath keeping and tithing among many other requirements of the Law legalistically insisted upon in their invented forms of Christianity. Too, they have added church covenants, annual days, traditions, rules and regulations that give the outward appearance of religious devotion5 as well as created heretical doctrines upholding immoral behavior such as racism to this hour.6 These are the true legalists that insist on being saved by keeping the Law that exposes and condemns them (Galatians 3:1-14, 4:9-11, 5:1-15; 1 Timothy 1:3-11). They are also rebels in that they read what God actually commands and ignore it to do what they want.
Other rebels do the same and would corruptly have us believe that the parts of God’s Word they select are to be subjectively understood and subject to flexible interpretation and application. A case where this approach is fully evident in these latter days involves the roles of women in the home and churches. With subjective reading into and willful distorting of very plain Scripture texts as well as a high handed dismissal of Christ’s apostles (especially Paul),7 professed Christian men and women that are guilty set aside God’s order of mankind and direct commandments concerning women (1 Corinthians 14:34-37; 1 Timothy 2:11-15). I with others have stood against them on the Word as it is written as I do in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics and are branded legalists.8
Nevertheless, it should be abundantly clear by now that the spiritual, moral and ethical dimensions along with the transcendent truths of God’s Law and commandments in the whole Bible have not been set aside by Him and Christians are expected to obey them. How could God have this expectation if His Word is not to be interpreted and applied literally? Because this is the case, our Lord Jesus even makes obedience to His commandments the proof of our love for Him (John 14:15-24; 1 John 5:3)!9 Therefore, it is not legalism to obey God’s Word properly interpreted and applied as it is written. For also, as we do so in the Spirit, the fully revealed apex of His New Covenant work is accomplished in us (2 Corinthians 3:7-18)!
Woe then, to the professed Christian rebels who reproach those that obey the Lord’s Word as it is written calling them legalists. Without repentance your judgment is near since you teach rebellion against the Lord and His Word as the false prophets of ancient Judah did (Jeremiah 28, 29:30-32). Hell also waits for the true legalists since you hypocritically ridicule and mock those of 1st century Israel and are just like them; those you even teach about that receive the Lord’s harshest words of condemnation (Matthew 23:1-33)! Those that "twist" and set aside God’s Word will not escape the eternal fire either (2 Peter 3:9-16, NKJV). “Blessed” are the Lord’s obedient (Revelation 22:12-17, NKJV)! The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
3 In the image of Christ, faithful Christians are enabled by the Holy Spirit to love God and neighbor which distilled down to those two commandments as the Lord and the
apostle Paul teach, fulfills the whole Law of God (Mark 12:28-34; Romans 13:8-10)!
4 The Lord has led me to prepare a free, one sheet document entitled, Seven Principles Of Bible Interpretation that readers can download in our Strong Man Store. It will
be helpful in properly interpreting the Bible.
5 A perfect example here is the rule of celibacy Roman Catholicism has imposed on its priests. Neither the Lord Jesus or His apostles anywhere in the New Testament
of the Bible teach celibacy as a requirement for any but the relative few God gifts and calls (Matthew 19:9-12; 1 Corinthians 7:1-9). For the record, a formal priesthood
of the flesh is not taught either. The sexual abuse scandals that continue to rock this form of Christianity are a direct result of the legalism of manmade religion which
sinfully goes beyond God to add and impose on men a requirement He does not!
6 Catholic and Protestant religionists equally share responsibility for enabling and propping up American slavery and other forms of the historic oppression of blacks and
other minorities rooted not in God’s Word, but sinful racism out of the human heart. Read my September 4, 2016 post, Christianity The Religion American Style, under
the category, Call To Repent.
7 Besides disrespecting apostolic authority, professed Christian male and female feminists pervert New Testament Scripture related to the roles of women in the
churches by attempting to claim Paul among the apostles are captives of their historical context and human in origin social customs that drive their teachings on the
subject. Such a conclusion undermines all New Testament teaching (including that of Christ who does so in the 1st century as a Jewish Man) and blasphemes the Holy
Spirit as an inconsistent, inattentive and sloppy Inspirer and Compiler of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 16; 2 Peter 1:16-21).
8 The book is available at all major internet booksellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store. The Lord has had me set forth
the divine good intent involved with His order of mankind and roles of men and women in my book and many blog posts including most recently, those made April 15-
May 20, 2018 under the category, God's creatures.
9 Read the September 2014 posts on obedience beginning with, Selective Obedience, under the category, Call To Repent. Aspiring strong men and great women of God
in the image of Christ even with many sin failures (confessed, repented of, forgiven and cleansed through His blood--1 John 1:9) are eager to obey God’s Word as it is
written exactly because we love Him--our Savior and Lord--so much (Luke 7:36-50)!
It is with great joy the Lord has allowed me to conclude my 2018 blog writing service to Him and our readers with a word of instruction on tithing. Writing a post on legalism this fall, I was troubled that I was not able to say more about this important, voluntary spiritual privilege and discipline for willing Christians that has been mostly foisted on us historically as a legalistic carryover requirement of God’s Law and commandments to Israel.1 I know some were worried I was against tithing. However, the footnote I would have written explaining the sin of teaching Christians to tithe as a matter of Law, rather than faith, free will love and worship would have been this post and too long!
Now, by the grace of our God, here in summary form is the teaching the Lord gave me early in my journey as a Christian over forty years that I also taught my family and church members as a pastor. Let me begin by saying I was introduced to the concept of tithing as a Christian babe in a traditional black American Baptist church by leadership that insisted it was God’s required will straight up out of Malachi 3:8-12. As a result, out of guilt, shame, fear and inadequate faith I wrestled with how to become an obedient tither and where to begin--off of my net or gross income that either way by sight left me short of my budget needs--as most other folk when introduced to tithing.
After much prayer, I took my first shaky steps toward being one who tithed off of my net (just keeping it real), then my gross and eventually whatever financial increase came to me in addition to giving my God offerings for whatever causes I was led by Him to sow into. Along the way, He took me deeper into His Word about tithing as giving not out of the Law for a Christian, but faith and love (that authentic, always involves the will and worship) as a voluntary spiritual privilege and discipline. Building faith and love are why I am convinced God does not harshly swoop down on us as babes right away to correct tithing wrongly introduced as legalism--but woe to the unrepentant legalist!
Giving a tithe (a tenth or more) in the Bible is first introduced some 500 years before the Law as the act of Abraham, the man of faith, when he did so to “Melchizedek, king of Salem” who “was the priest of God Most High.” Melchizedek had come out to bless Abraham after his successful rescue of Lot and others from marauding kings (Genesis 14:13-20, NKJV). In that blessing, the mysterious priest declared, ‘“Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High who has delivered your enemies into your hand.'” After this blessing, Abraham gave Melchizedek “a tithe of all,” (Genesis 14:19-20, NKJV).2 What made Abraham do this?
Making offerings to God goes back to Adam, who obviously taught his sons to do so (Genesis 4:1-7). Clearly too, the practice of making religious offerings to priests as intermediaries with a tithe being the norm was common in Abraham’s day. Beyond this, no doubt, the key to Abraham’s tithe given to Melchizedek was his faith recognition in the blessing that his successful rescue campaign and all of its spoils were the direct result of the Most High’s providence who owns everything in Heaven and on earth! Abraham then--though he refused anything for himself, was giving back a portion to the priest for God what He had already blessed him with (Genesis 14:21-24).
The foregoing principle of giving was preserved by God as motive and requirement in the Covenant Law and commandments He gave Moses for Israel to support the priesthood, Levites, His house and benevolent causes among the people (Numbers 18:7-32; Deuteronomy 12:1-19, 14:22-29, 26:1-15). Later, king Solomon declared God’s principle and the associated blessings in instructions he as a father gave his son (Proverbs 3:9-10). After this, it is only for their disobedience in not giving as required in His Law and commandments that God rebukes Judah before and after their Babylonian captivity. In the New Testament and under the New Covenant there is no divine command to tithe!
The Lord Jesus commended the Jewish religious leadership of the time for their obedience to tithe, but failure in other, “weightier matters of the law” (Matthew 23:23, NKJV). In conformity with the divine transcendent principle, He also taught the blessedness of giving of one’s substance to God (Luke 6:38, 9:10-17, 12:13-21) to support His Kingdom workers, work and benevolent causes; receiving such support as did His apostles with but one exceptional exception (Luke 8:1-3, 10:1-7; Acts 20:33-35; 1 Corinthians 9:1-18; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 1 John 3:16-18). In the likeness of Melchizedek and the priests of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ is also our High Priest and formal Intermediary when we give to God.3 He receives our tithes and offerings on behalf of the Father and is also honored by us with them (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 4:14-5:10, 7:1-8:6).4
Thus, even though there is no New Testament command to tithe of our income in giving as Christians, the principle--reaching all the way back past the Law to Abraham our faith example in everything, commends it to us as normative and certainly, as I can testify, a spiritual privilege and discipline (like regular Bible study, prayer and church attendance) God blesses as a matter of walking by faith in Him (Romans 4:3; Hebrews 11:6; James 2:20-26)!5 So, then, let any professed Christian leader attempting to get God’s people to give through tithing by falsely and legalistically making it a requirement of the Law repent now if you will please God. Teach His Word faithfully!6 I wish all a blessed and prosperous New Year especially as you make giving to God a spiritual priority.7
1 Read the two-part post, Let’s Talk Legalism, under the category, Instruction, beginning September 23, 2018.
2 So much for the net versus gross question!
3 Melchizedek and our Lord Jesus also very significantly share in common being bearers of “bread and wine,” (Genesis 14:18; Luke 22:14-20; John 6:31-59).
4 As the apostle Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 8-9, Christ’s churches and Parachurch ministries have a stewardship responsibility from Him to receive any kind of offer-
ings as His agents and to disburse them at His direction in support of His Kingdom workers, work and causes. Woe to the churches, ministries and their leaders that do
not do so (Matthew 23:14; 1 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11)!
5 Learn more about the concept of spiritual discipline for the aspiring strong man and great woman of God in the image of Jesus Christ from my book, The Strong Man Of
God: Back To Basics. It is available at all major internet booksellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
6 Teaching God’s word faithfully does include examining the spiritual, moral, ethical and transcendent truths embodied in the Old Testament Law and commandments to
understand His good intent in them and to make a proper application as the Lord led me to write in the post on legalism. So, for example, we can look at Malachi 3:8-12
and see how God wanted the Israelites to obey His Law and commandments on tithing to be blessed of Him while also fulfilling His support plans for the priests, Levities,
the Temple and community benevolence. God stresses His willingness to bless their obedience to the point of inviting them to put Him to the test! The application for
Christians is to see the consistency of God in His transcendent principle of blessed giving through the proportional discipline of tithing that reaches all the way back to
Abraham which also our Lord Jesus Christ affirms. Then, out of faith and love, to act out of it to benefit both us and God's Kingdom priorities!
7 Please remember Strong Man Ministries in your giving among the ordained Kingdom workers (me--Galatians 6:6; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; 3 John 5-8), works and causes of
God in this generation. Give securely on our Web Site at https://thestrongmanofGod.org/Give. You can also mail your cash, check or money order made out to our or-
ganizational parent, Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. and send it to P.O. BOX 56704, Portland, OR 97238.
What does the racially motivated murders of the black American Bible study participants at the Emmanuel AME Church of Charleston, SC on June 17th and the June 26th United States Supreme Court decision making same sex marriage the law of the land have in common spiritually and morally speaking? Both expose again the failure of corrupt manmade Christianity the religion historically practiced by an influential majority of professing white Christians of all denominations that have sanctioned, even cherished the privileges of racial inequality and inequity which secular champions of political correctness and tolerance are wrong-headedly attempting to fix.
If with truly converted hearts in the power of the Holy Spirit the early colonists, founders of the nation and those going forward had stood firmly in the biblical worldview that the equality of humanity as persons was of God, the inequalities of racism even in slavery would not have been (Ephesians 6:5-9; Philemon). In the flesh though, religious men do no better than rank sinners and are actually worse since they corruptly use religion to justify their wicked ways. So, now, our nation--built on a flawed religiously constructed and supported foundation of racial inequality and inequity upheld for almost four centuries by the professing stewards of Christianity in their churches and seminaries--seeks to correct things by making everything equal and fair in its own flawed worldly view.
In a biblical worldview all apparent inequalities and inequities are not the same. God considers goodwill relations between human beings different from intimate same sex relationships since by His design we are expressly male and female for His purpose of procreation (Genesis 1:27-28). Also, while the eternally perfect God requires men to act by His standard of fairness in our transactions with each other, His standard does not apply to what He has forbidden nor in disagreement are we to invent our own (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Isaiah 29:15-16). Therefore, many talk defiantly now, but they will bow in absolute humiliation at the soon glorious appearing of the righteous Author of the Word of God and our Judge (Matthew 5:17-20; Philippians 2:9-11; Revelation 1:7-8)!
In the following still relevant July 4th 2011 commentary from our Ministry’s Strong Man Of God Monthly Newsletter as this week’s blog, I appeal with Christ’s heart especially to my conservative professing Christian white brothers that are guilty to thoroughly renounce your racism still so evident in your default attitudes of racial superiority and contempt as well as deeds of exclusion and discrimination bound up in maintaining racial inequality and inequity.
Originally Published July 2011
Ever since broaching the subject of equality in my commentary entitled, Childish Arguments back in March this year (see my May 3, 2015 blog), I have been deeply desirous before the Lord to deal with the issue head on and as fully as this limited space permits. The same goes for equity or fairness. Both of these biblical and highly moral terms have been co-opted and corrupted by various individuals and groups since the founding of our nation. Consequently, it is very fitting on the occasion of America's 235th birthday to call us back as a nation to the original intent of the Author of equality and equity for He is surely judging us at this hour for our failure to live out His definitions.
How high, noble and true are the words of the Declaration of Independence that declare, "all men are created equal." The words are true not because sinful men said so, but because a holy Creator made all humanity from the one man, Adam (Acts 17:24-26). No one man is innately superior in nature to another. Though to suit His creative glory God made mankind of different physical appearance and varying abilities, we are all from the one original man and equal in standing before our Creator. There is no qualitative difference between men when God the Righteous One is doing the judging. However, when fallen, sinful men judge, now all manner of human inequality enters in.
Some contemporary white historical commentators such as David Barton and David Von Drehle in a recent Time Magazine article on the Civil War assert the "all men are created equal" statement was an attempt by the nation's founders to address the reality of human inequality involved in slavery.1, 2 In American style slavery a whole race of people were deemed inferior and suitable only for perpetual servitude. The attitude of contempt and judgment as unfit for equality held toward blacks by many whites has continued to this day even with an African-American President. Shamefully, among those whites has been and are many professing to be Christians (Galatians 3:26-28).
The moral concept of equity has come to man from the Lord as He introduced to Israel His requirement of their being just in their dealings with strangers and each other (Leviticus 19:33-37; Deuteronomy 25:13-16). The Lord Jesus came along and emphasized loving one's neighbor (whoever that human being was) as one's self as the motivation for fair dealings and then some (Mark 12:31; Luke 6:27-36, 10:25-37). The apostle Paul was later inspired by the Holy Spirit to explain the absolute reason for love as the high motive in human relations when he wrote, "Love does no harm to a neighbor," (Romans 13:10a, NKJV). Sinful humanity does not naturally possess this kind of love.
The history of slavery, Jim Crow segregation and institutional racism in America clearly demonstrates how human hearts filled with contempt for others will not treat them with equity. A devastating Civil War had to be fought to end slavery. Legal battles continue to reverse institutionalized racial inequities throughout American society. While white men chafe under the finger of responsibility for much of this ungodly legacy of American racial inequity, there is nowhere else to look historically since the Women's Suffrage Movement is evidence white women were not in control of society. This is not said to blame for blame’s sake but to call the right persons forward to lead to action.
As the Civil Rights Movement taught us, we cannot legislate our way into what the nation’s founders had in mind for us as a free and equal people. We must love our way into it. And since as fallen sinners we are not able or willing in our own strength to love each other equally and fairly, then what we are really talking about is turning back to God for help (Ephesians 3:14-21). Therefore, this is a special call to my Christian white brothers and pastors in particular as aspiring strong men of God in the image of Christ. Lead out in owning and repenting from the historic sinful attitude and willful practice of treating black and other racial minority men unequally and unfairly.
Indeed, it is because of the half-hearted effort to do this in racial reconciliation talks that have gone on since the 1960s Satan has been enabled to co-opt the righteous equality and equity quest of racial minority men for rebels against the divine order. Talking and public platitudes have yielded so very little given how pervasive this evil is in our nation and the churches. The hour grows late and time is running out to get this right. True repentance is reflected in deeds as John the Baptist chided the religious leaders of his day (Matthew 3:4-10). Therefore, let the loving begin in obedience to the Lord's command (John 13:34-35; 1 John 2:7-11, 3:10-23, 4:7-21)! The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 David Barton, Setting The Record Straight: American History In Black & White (Aledo, Texas: Wall Builders Press, 2004), 17-18.
2 David Von Drehle, “The Civil War 1861-2011, The Way We Weren’t,” Time, April 18, 2011, 40-51.
An ancient, diabolical method that has been used to side step obedience to divine commands is to confuse the issue as the Bible shows. For example, Satan immediately confused the issue with Eve on God’s command about not eating from one tree in the garden by asking did He really say ‘“You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’.” Then, he accused God of lying about the consequence of disobedience after Eve sought to clarify His command with her own embellishment. Finally, the wily serpent also accused God of deceitfully trying to hide the actual beneficial end of eating from the tree He had forbidden. Eve ate from it in disobedience (Genesis 3:1-6, 13, NKJV).
After God introduced His Law through Moses, Satan influenced the Israelites that were guilty to use an inventive way to side step obedience by again confusing the issue. God had commanded Israel, ‘“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt…You shall have no other gods before Me.’” He further commanded they were not to make any ‘“carved image,’” ‘“bow down to…nor serve them,’” (Exodus 20:1-6, NKJV). Later, however, while waiting on Moses, “the man,” they said, “who brought us up out of the land of Egypt” to return from talking with God on the mountain, the people urged Aaron to make them gods to “go before us,” (Exodus 32:1, NKJV).
Had not God plainly and audibly in His own voice declared He, not Moses or any other god had brought Israel up out of Egypt? But since they were waiting on Moses and not God as they should have been, they assigned the Egyptian exodus to Moses as its architect. And from that confused conclusion in their impatience and spiritual dullness, they blamed Moses for the long delay and possible abandonment of them. The confused issue over who was the actual driving force behind the exodus led to their blatant disobedience of the first two of God’s Ten Commandments in making for themselves gods (associated with demons) to lead them going forward.
Even after all of God’s Law was written down, the deceiver was able to entice Israel to sin through confusing the issue of who their true God was. For by the time God judged Judah through Babylon in 586 BC, the protest of obedience to His Word by a renegade group of survivors that had fled to Egypt summed it up for all that had gone before. They gave the glory for their provision to the false gods they served (Jeremiah 44:15-30). When Jesus Christ came as foretold, the issue was confused over rightful authority and God’s Law after more than 600 religious rules had been added; Israel’s leaders had Him crucified (Matthew 5:17-20, 15:1-9, 21:23-27, 22:15-46, 26:1-5, 27:15-54).
From the first century professed followers of the risen Christ as pastors, bishops, popes, elders, deacons, other church, sect and cult leaders have done it; spouses, parents, slaveholders, business owners, royalty and some American Presidents have done it too. All that are guilty have purposely quoted or misquoted, misinterpreted or misapplied Scripture to confuse the issue of obedience involving sin in their personal, religious, political, social, economic and educational agendas, opinions and ideas.1 While some deliberately distorted Scripture, most simply lifted passages out of context and willfully read into them what they wanted to accomplish their ends.2
In these latter days many deceived professed followers of Christ and their leaders have sought for ways to legitimize biblically defined sins they have with Satan’s help decided God has changed His mind on.3 From sexual immorality to feminism that tears down the morality, roles, rank, responsibilities and order of mankind as God designed, the Bible is corruptly used to carry out their ends.4 True to satanic method, a number of male church leaders and professed Christian feminists have attempted to side step obedience to the thoroughly plain biblical instruction on the roles of women in the home and God’s house by confusing the issue on the grounds of equality in Christ.5
They falsely assert that since all are equal at the foot of the cross, this obliterates all role distinctions and cite Galatians 3:28 out of context as their main proof text--another classic case of confusing the issue and corrupting Scripture to do so! But in Galatians 3:19-25, the apostle Paul has been talking about the purpose of the Law until salvation by faith came. He launches from that to express in verses 26-29 how all are sons of God who have placed faith in, been immersed spiritually into and put Christ on; where also regardless of whether being Jew or Greek (Gentile), slave or free, male or female all are one and belonging to Him, heirs. Verse 28 is about spiritual equality in Christ and does not destroy God’s mortal roles, rank, responsibilities and order of mankind!6
Indeed, this same apostle Paul was used by God to affirm His will from creation that though equal in person, men are His assigned leaders over women beginning in the home, His house and if it was willing, the world (Genesis 3:16b; 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, 14:33-40; Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Timothy 2:8-3:13; Titus 2:1-5). But alas, the world is in active rebellion against God and His Word on this as are clearly many professed Christians who in having their way are willing to go to the extreme of purposely confusing the issue by corrupting God’s Word. Woe to the guilty for while you may not treat God’s Word with fidelity, He forever does! Therefore, He calls you to repentance. Unless you do repent, you will suffer the deadly consequences of your iniquity (Romans 1:28-2:11; 2 Peter 3:9-18). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 Read the May 14, 2017 Mother’s Day post, Mother’s Day Joy And Sadness, under the category Holidays and the two-part post beginning May 21, 2017 that follows,
Beware False And Deceitful Brethren, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
2 A very important principle of sound Bible interpretation is “context conveys meaning.” Though there are many verses of Scripture that can stand alone and apart
from surrounding verses, we must be careful to read them objectively in their natural larger and immediate contexts to properly interpret and apply them as well as
use them as references. Take advantage of the free document download, Seven Principles Of Bible Interpretation, in the Strong Man Store.
3 The Lord leads me to challenge this lie first in a three-part article entitled, Is God Doing A New Thing? I reference in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Ba-
sics and also in its second Appendix from another article answering the question, When Did God Change? Both articles are available at the FSTVEP Web Site,
https://fromslaverytovictory.org/Journal-Archives. A print copy or digital download of my book is available at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes &
Noble, ChristianBooks.com, Apple (digital only) or in the Strong Man Store.
4 See the July 28, 2019 post, Roles, Rank And Responsibilities, under the category, God’s Creatures.
5 An excellent academic resource I recommend for seeing how this has unfolded in the past century is Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth by Wayne Grudem,
Multnomah Publishers, 2004, which I reference in my book. Interestingly, while professed Christians seeking to legitimize same sex relationships corruptly use
God’s Word to confuse that issue talking of love, they speak of equality to promote women into leadership over men and make God and those that stand on His
Word as it is written prohibiting this out to be sexists. Read my May 8, 2016 post, God A Sexist?, under the category, God’s Creatures.
6 Colossians 3:11 is a similar passage missing only a reference to male and female. Here too, the apostle Paul in the context that begins at verse 1 seeks to stress
the spiritual equality Christians have in Christ as we see out of a heavenly perspective and embrace its resulting responsibilities to include living and treating one
another right. Again, however, this teaching does not destroy God’s assignment of male and female roles, rank, responsibilities and order which reading further in
the passage will confirm (vs. 12-25).
On Mother’s Day, May 8, 2011, I wrote the untitled paragraph immediately below as my second blog post ever as an author followed by the more lengthy, re-titled and edited offering readers have become accustomed to one year later as noted. What a difference one year made in my experience of Mother’s Day because of the ongoing rebellion against God’s order and morality being worked out in the laws and social policies of our nation! For this cause, no one should expect God’s judgment upon the land to diminish ahead even with a temporary repentance (Nehemiah 9:1-37), but severely intensify regardless of who the President is (Jeremiah 30:23-24; Nahum 1:1-10; Romans 1:28-32).
God made man male and female--Gen. 1:27-28. The days set aside on the calendar to honor our parents are good. In so doing, we are reminded of God’s purposeful acts to create and set in place the means by which the human race would perpetuate itself. As I discuss in The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, by His intentional physical design man is male or female in this present age. On Mother’s Day, we celebrate females whom God designed to conceive, carry, birth, nurse, and nurture our children. My own mother departed to be with the Lord just after Mother’s Day last year. I remain grateful to her and salute all of the women including my wife, Mary that embrace their calling to be mothers as God designed.
Originally Posted May 13, 2012
Today, I remember my mother, salute again my wife and divinely designed motherhood with a profound sense of appreciation tied to the incredible role God has uniquely given you for bringing human life into existence. Adam so valued the unique role his wife would play in God’s purpose of marriage and procreation (Genesis 2:18-24) that he gave her a name related to it: “Eve” which means “life” or “living,” (Genesis 3:20, NKJV). A man as God designed him cannot conceive nor can a woman do so by herself. Human procreation is the cooperative effort between the seeds of men and women along with God who gives each human conceived a spirit (Psalm 139:13-14; Zechariah 12:1).
Apart from this cooperative effort with mothers in the middle, new human life would not come into being. Out of the joy of such clarity comes now, a deep sadness. As a professed Christian this past week, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, gave a public endorsement to same sex marriage and the resulting unnaturally assembled families as a matter of living out Christian morality. Specifically, he referenced the instruction of the Lord Jesus found in Matthew 7:12 (also Luke 6:31) and made it a moral underpinning for permitting same sex marriage so as to treat all people equal and fair.
With all due respect to his office (I address this matter upon his public profession of being a Christian), Mr. Obama in his reference to the Bible gives a classic example of corrupting God’s Word to support one’s own ideas. Did not the Lord just lead me to write two weeks ago (April 29, 2012) that seeking Him in humble prayer and paying attention to context are among the important steps to take in gaining a right understanding of His Word?1 Also, a common truth every faithful Christian knows is that God or the Son of God never, ever ratifies sin. Since He is immutable, God does not evolve in His thinking either. In love, though, He sent Christ to die for and save us from our sins!
Our President said he observed his staff engaged in and talked with his wife and daughters about same sex families and felt that they should have the same acceptance as any other family. Absent from his consultation list (publically anyway) is a talk with the immutable God who consistently from the Bible’s Old and New Testaments calls same sex relations sin, wicked, abominable, vile and sexually immoral (Genesis 18:16-21, 19:1-25; Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:18-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Revelation 21:7-8). In my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, we teach men their first loyalty in all things is to God.2 A talk with the holy God to understand His Word will never yield His endorsement of what He has already called sin!
In attempting to interpret and apply Matthew 7:12 to morally support treating people equal and fair, one must do so within the larger context of Jesus’ sermon beginning at Matthew 5:1 and the immediate context of the verse which starts at Matthew 7:1. In the larger context our Lord is teaching about Kingdom attitudes and conduct. In the immediate context He warns against the practice of condemning others in their faults because to whatever extent we dish it out, it is coming back to us. He also teaches that before we spend time judging others, we must begin with ourselves (vs.1-5). The Lord next presents instances of exercising proper judgment about things holy and God (vs.6-11).
The Lord’s instruction about doing to others as you would have them do to you in verse 12 comes at this point. In saying “this is the Law and the Prophets” (NKJV), the Lord equates His Kingdom teaching with the moral instruction of these Old Testament books and particularly their summation in loving your neighbor as yourself! In no way are we to interpret our Lord as teaching in our quest to treat people equal and fair as we also want to be treated that we are to accept what they do in sinning against God. Matthew 7:13-23 (which is still part of the larger context of Matthew 7:12) makes it absolutely clear Jesus was not teaching this.
What God calls sin, we call sin and there is nothing in this about being equal or fair except to the extent we apply the same standard (God’s Word and what He calls sin) to ourselves as we do others. Therefore, heaviness of heart has overtaken me as our President is the highest profile professing Christian in the world who along with a growing number of others is corrupting God’s Word to support their own ideas. In the name of the Lord Jesus, I call Mr. Obama and all such persons to repentance knowing Christ will have the last word (Matthew 7:24-29).
1 Read the May 31, 2015 blog, What Does God’s Word Say? under the category, Instruction, then take full advantage of the offer for a free Bible Interpretation Document
Download. God will hold every single one of us accountable for how we handle His Word (2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Peter 3); a reality every prospective Bible interpreter should
2 The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics is available through all major internet booksellers and the Strong Man Store where the E-Book Edition in two formats is currently
on sale through June 20th.
I open Black History Month 2018 as the Lord leads yet again to speak the truth from His Word to professed Christian black Americans to inform our ongoing uplift in this and the three reposts that follow. Having been publically upbraided many times for speaking the truth in love, I do not relish naming names to address grave spiritual error that exists as impediments to our progress. However, in these instances, it was unavoidable. My Christmas Eve 2017 post entitled, “Hedging One’s Religious Bets,” under the category, Instruction serves as the general backdrop for this edited 2012 repost warning specifically about abandoning the faith that has brought us this far.
Originally Posted September 9, 2012
While awaiting my turn at the barbershop recently, I picked up Ebony Magazine--that ubiquitous print icon of the black community from my childhood--and once again encountered an approach to Christianity that has clearly become a liberalizing trend away from the faith of the Bible and our faithful Christian slave forefathers. Oh, the magazine still features prominent black religious figures and churches. However, as in most Western societies over the past generation, there has been an unmistakable shift away from honoring the unique message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the absolute truths and morality of biblical Christianity.
Today, what is frequently offered is a more generic, politically correct and culturally tolerant form of the faith as one of many possible means a person choosing religion as a path can make it work for them. As historically, pastors and churches are leading the way. A case in point is the May 2012 issue of Ebony I was browsing through that featured an article by Rev. A.R. Bernard, the founder and senior pastor of Christian Cultural Center out of Brooklyn, N.Y., entitled, 9 Habits That Lift The Soul.1 According to its set up information, the article is intended to help those wanting to “breathe new life into your spiritual journey” to do so.
This was a great set up and I actually began to read the article with hopes this “Christian” preacher would share some great biblical insights for those seeking what can only come from a personal relationship with the One, true God through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God alone (John 14:6). But alas, in the opening sentence my discernment warning lights starting flashing off the charts. In introducing the nine principles to “keep stress and chaos at bay” he has taught members of his congregation, Rev. Bernard writes, “Although these principles are God-centered and Biblical, they apply in general, no matter what your belief system is,” (emphasis mine).
His nine principles are prayer, spiritual study, worship, solitude, giving and service, fasting, reflection, discernment and sharing your story. I will not go through them all, but the first three certainly do speak in a general way to persons of any religious persuasion, but makes some incorrect assumptions in a biblical worldview. He says, for example, “daily prayer is a way to practice an awareness of God.” On the surface, of course, this is true of praying to God. The problem here is with thousands of religions in the world, it appears this “Christian” preacher is falsely assuming as many non-Christians do that all of them really have the same deity or the deities are all equal.
He goes on to counsel not just talking, but listening to “God.” For Christians who take the God of the Bible at His Word that He is the only true God, this is excellent counsel (Isaiah 43:10-13, 44:6-8). But who will everyone else be talking and listening to? Of spiritual study Rev. Bernard says, “Every religion is based on its writings. Whichever faith you subscribe to, become intimately acquainted with the writings that inspire it.” Has God truly made thousands of religious texts among different peoples that all harmoniously present His essential truths and bring them closer to Him? No (Deuteronomy 4:5-14, 32-35; Psalm 147:19-20; Romans 3:1-2, 9:1-5; 2 Timothy 3:14-17)!
Concerning worship, Rev. Bernard writes, “This means practicing the sovereignty of God over your life. It’s a reminder that you’re part of something much greater than yourself.” Even atheists can get in on this since they “believe in the universal moral principles that govern humankind.” “Worship,” he goes on to say, “is about acknowledging the power of that which rules your life.” But while this all sounds noble, Jesus Christ says worship of God the Father is done in “spirit and truth” exclusively through Him (John 4:23-24, 14:6, 17:17, NKJV). What then are those outside of Christ worshipping?
No doubt for the sake of the liberal minded inventions of political correctness and tolerance in this 21st century, Ebony Magazine as so many other Western media and institutions of men feel obligated to speak broadly to the widest possible swath of humanity without offending anyone--anyone except Bible believing Christians anyway. However, for the record and those professed Christians that for whatever motive would attempt to create a generic Christianity for mass consumption, the Scripture is plain that Christianity is not a religious invention of man that is generic enough for non-believers to live out bypassing Christ, His cross and the empowering work of the Holy Spirit. To teach so is heresy and a doctrine of demons (Galatians 1:1-10; 1 Timothy 4:1-2)!
We preachers especially walk in Christ’s footsteps heralding the message He brought from Heaven to proclaim to humanity (Matthew 4:23). We do not have the right or authentic release ever from Christ to preach our own or any other message. If you are doing so: fear (2 Corinthians 5:9-11)! Our faithful Christian slave forefathers as aspiring strong men and great women of God did not practice some generic version of Christianity.2 They “got over” trusting solely in the God of the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ.3 They prayed to Him; they stood on His Word; they turned from idols, witchcraft and ancestor worship among other religious practices to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob alone.
“We have come this far by faith” in the Lord God of the Bible and no-one else!4 Are we now so free and in with the world so good we can turn our backs on Him? Repent anyone who thinks so (James 4:1-10)! Or, do you also despise the example and lessons God has given through the written experience of Israel in the Bible (1 Corinthians 10:1-11; Hebrews 3:7-19)? And with regard to enjoying real peace in a chaotic, trouble and stress filled world, let every seeker find it where it can only be found in Jesus Christ who is the “Prince of Peace,” (Isaiah 9:6; John 14:27, 16:33; Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 Find the article at Ebony.com.
2 Learn more about strong men and great women of God in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics available through all major internet booksellers, by order
from your favorite brick and mortar bookstore and in the Strong Man Store.
3 Read a previous Black History Month post, How We Get Over published on February 16, 2014 to understand what is meant by “got over.”
4 Step through the short presentation giving a biblical worldview of the black experience on The From Slavery To Victory Education Project Web Site Home Page at
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