Though it is repeatedly taught in the New Testament that what is called “Christianity” cannot be lived out through the natural will and strength of human effort as a religion, from the first century until now sinful human beings have kept trying in futility and shame.1 Of course, Satan delights in this reality since it helps sell his lie that what God has gloriously accomplished in Christ to save mankind from our sins is really just another of the many equally valid religious inventions of men. Those of us that know and love the truth grieve with the heart of God that a counterfeit form of Christianity exists competing with the real thing either ruining or turning away earnest seekers (2 Timothy 3:1-9).
The Person and work of Jesus Christ crucified, buried, risen, ascended, glorified and coming again to rule this earth forms the biblical core of “the faith” (Jude 3-4, NKJV). He and the Father have sent the Holy Spirit into the earth to actualize the divine will to save souls through the preaching of the Gospel about and witnessing of Christ (Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:8). Still concerned about how Satan has confused things, I wrote this edited 2012 repost as the Spirit led to stress again how He in life changing residence and power is the central and essential superior factor that distinguishes an authentic Christian from one that is a mere professor (John 3:1-8,14:15-18; Acts 19:1-10).2
Originally Posted March 11, 2012
One of the major reasons the history of the churches on earth is filled with confusion, stained with human blood and pot-marked with evil corruptions of all kinds is the deadly, formal appearance of Christianity as a flesh driven religion not long after the first century eyewitness apostles passed from the scene. In fact, the Lord Jesus apparently deals with a church in the onset of religion first in messages He gives to seven churches of Asia through John, most likely the last living eyewitness apostle (Revelation 2:1-7). The reality that Christ not only has first-hand knowledge of what is going on within, but judges every local church in all generations accordingly should be totally sobering to us.
The once spiritually vibrant church at Ephesus had been nurtured by the apostle Paul who also foretold the devastation that would come by corrupt shepherds (Acts 20:17-31). Still, by the time of John’s recording of His Revelation later in the century, the Lord Jesus commends the church’s resistance of false apostles and teachers along with their persevering labor for His name sake. But He then calls for the individuals making up this church to repent from the one thing He had against them: they had left their “first love”--Him (Revelation 2:4, NKJV)! This matter is so serious to the Lord, He promises to remove the church from among His churches unless they repented! Why?
Is it not because our individual relationship with and corporate devotion to the risen Lord in Holy Ghost fired love is His highest priority for us (Luke 14:25-26; John 21:15-17; Romans 5:5; 1 John 4:19)? And had it not been the loveless, flesh driven works of Jewish religion that put the Lord on the cross (Acts 2:22-24, 3:11-17)? Besides all of that, the Christian life is a supernatural life that cannot be lived in the flesh nor can flesh works please God (Romans 8:6-9). All throughout the biblical record whenever men turn their hearts from God, sin and the rigor mortis of outward religion soon set in to His great displeasure (Isaiah 1:10-15; Matthew 23:1-33).
In my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics,3 Jesus Christ is shown from the Bible as a Man full of the Holy Spirit and power for His service from the time of John’s baptism (Matthew 3:13-17). Having the preeminence in all things and blazing a trail of example for us who would believe in Him thereafter, aspiring strong men of God and the churches they assemble in are all likewise baptized in and live full of the Holy Spirit. This means the Spirit initiates then leads, controls and empowers the aspiring strong man of God’s life moment by moment. It also means God’s power through the Holy Spirit not human effort characterizes his life in all things.
There is no substitute for the Holy Spirit. Not even studying and knowing the entire written Word of God can replace the Spirit’s priority and manifold work in the life of a believer. Indeed, it is of the highest form of futility to know the Word, but have no power to do it (Romans 7:14-24). But now, fully related to Christ Jesus in faith, the aspiring strong man of God is able to love, obey and serve Him in power through the agency of the Holy Spirit (Romans 7:25-8:5)! This is the Christianity of the apostles and New Testament of the Bible. Anything else is an empty knock off of manmade religion destined to destroy its practitioners and be destroyed (Revelation 17:15-19:4)!
1 See the August-September 2016 posts on Christianity as a powerless religion of human invention beginning with the two-part, Christianity The Religion Of Men on
August 21st under the category, Instruction.
2 Read my March 1, 2015 post, The Mark Of A Genuine Christian and those that follow through March 22nd under the category, Instruction.
3 The book is available at all major internet book sellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
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