As it stands today, many denominations with preferred teachings preach and confuse a gospel that is not recognizable have rendered it un-relatable to those who have yet to receive Christ as the Son of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
While there are a vast conglomerate of churches of all varieties, they all have one thing in common, legalism. Legalism is the act/belief that physical behaviors lead to salvation and/or righteousness. Some examples may be; church attendance as as condition for salvation. Tithing, fasting, keeping of certain days, be it the Sabbath or other days, as a condition of salvation. Some of you may know, I was a member of the World Wide Church of God (WCG). We believed we were the true church of God and kept Jewish holidays (Days of Unleavened Bread, i.e. Passover, Pentecost etc. ) as mandatory observance days. Anyone, who did not observe these days were deemed to hell. This attitude lessened prior to doctrinal changes in 1995, but was real nonetheless.
The common thread of legalism in Today’s Christian Culture is extremely telling of how Christians in this climate view sin.What has made the Gospel irrelevant to unbelievers is the widely accepted perception of sin as physical condition, in which it is corrected by physical means...legalism. In this way, Christians, at large promote, moralistic and “right living” actions as an avenue to “correct” sin or to be seem “right” and saved in God’s eyes. This “gospel” is typically promoted to unbelievers whose see such a “gospel” as unrealistic and burdensome as they assess their humanistic ability to be “right'” by physical means. Be it tithing, fasting, church attending or even bible studying. This “gospel” which focuses on behaviors as a measure of righteousness and salvation. Automatically, it includes condemnation and hypocrisy with it…the two very things Christ spoke out against.
Sin, A Condition of One’s SpiritIt is by this perception that the Christian culture has created a system of institutionalized churches that caters to this understanding of sin, implementing a variety of legalistic worship styles/routine to pacify guilt or one’s need to be righteous in God’s eyes.
The fact is this, sin, in its pure, singular form, is not a physical, but a spiritual condition. Jesus describes sin as this…
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.Sin is unbelief. It originates from the inward parts of a person, in thought (mind) and desire (heart). Unbelief is a departure from the Living God.
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
Of sin, because they believe not on me; – John 16:7-9
Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:Take note that the people spoken about in this passage are those who the Lord miraculously delivered from Egypt. They considered themselves God’s people. Departing from God in thought and desire manifests itself in behavior and speech.
When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.
Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.
So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. – Hebrews 3:8-12
A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. – Matthew 12:35
For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. – Luke 6:43-45
SinFUL, A Manifestation of One’s Spiritual ConditionNo one can doubt that our utmost desires, be they right or wrong, motivates and dictates our actions and speech. Hide it as you will, they will always reveal itself in some way, shape or form. It is by this basic principle we can confirm the teaching of Christ that the heart, dictated by departure, is where sin (singular) originates.
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: – Isaiah 29:13As sin originates from a departed heart, it is this event that defiles a person…
Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait. – Jeremiah 9:8
And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. – Ezekiel 33:31
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. – Matthew 15:9
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.…and the result of a departed heart are manifestations or evidence of itself Christ lists in verse19.
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: – Matthew 15:18-19
The Erroneous Perception of Sin Destroys the Integrity of the GospelHerein lies the problem. The Christian culture transposes the manifestations of sin for the sin itself (departed heart/unbelief) and has established legalism in various forms to combat, if not pacify, one’s guilt in attitudes/behavior. Legalistic behavior can be ANYTHING that contributes to the belief that physical actions as opposed to spiritual actions corrects a person’s righteousness in God’s eyes. This perception has destroyed the integrity of the Gospel. For it is a Gospel that Christ neither preached, nor sacrificed for.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light…” it is HERE in which Christ explains the condemnation of man. The light, which is Christ and His holy mission (Gospel) exposes the truth of one’s heart by their rejection of the light, their rejection is evidence of their spiritual condition.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. – John 3:16-21
Revisiting the Gospels in the Word, we see the only condemnation Christ gave was not to adulteresses and thieves, but to the Pharisees who considered themselves righteous and holy in lineage and legalistic behaviors.
Because the wages (consequence) of sin (departure from God) is death, (Romans 6:23) without blood, there is no remission for sin. (Matt. 26:8, Romans 3:25, Hebrews 9:22)So the Lord offered up His only Son as an atonement for sin (Romans 5:11). Christ’s sacrifice was not only an act of supreme love, but it was the final and only way one could be received and seen right in the eyes of God. Let me be clear, believing that Christ of Nazareth was the Son of God is one thing, but accepting his atonement for the remission of our sin, as FINAL is what is meant by “believeth on Him”. It is what is meant by FAITH. It is only by this act of Christ’s offering of his Body by which we are sanctified, NOT through any physical act on our part. (Hebrews 10:10)
The Power of the Holy Spirit of The God of Abraham, Isaac and JacobNow this phenomenon of FAITH ushers in the blessing of the Spirit, not any Spirit, but the HOLY Spirit, the Spirit of God Himself. By it, we grow in knowledge of Him, as we grow in a reconciled relationship with Him, we become whole, we have peace with Him and ourselves.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:Lip service may be given to the power of the Holy Spirit today, but it is clear by a divided Christian culture that shares a systematic model of legalism that their message is that the Holy Spirit is not enough to change a person’s condition of sin. The truth is, it is ONLY by the power of the Spirit, in FAITH, can the heart evolve and thrive from its isolated and condemned state! From the mouth of Christ He speaks…
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. – Romans 5:1 -5
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. – John 6:63The Hebrew/Greek Lexicon’s number for the word “quicken” is G2227. The English equivalent of that is “quicken, give life, make alive”. We who are (were) dead in sin can only be revived with life by the Holy Spirit! And if we walk after the spirit (Romans 8:1-2) the manifestations of that are evident and real!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Yes, impossible, in other words, it cannot be done. Why?? Faith is representative of a heart that has ACCEPTED it’s exposure to the light. It is representative of a heart that has ACCEPTED Christ, the Son of God, His work at the cross as TRUTH and final. Without faith, there is no humility, no understanding of God’s order by which He sent His only begotten Son to establish. In essence, there is NO GOSPEL. What you have without faith, is self righteousness and acts that hide a hard and false heart. What you have is pride by which is impenetrable by a Holy Spirit that cannot lead it. Finally, without faith, one is left to the devices and leading of their own “wisdom”, fatally flawed and further cements our separation from Him.
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. – Galatians 5:22-25
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. – Hebrews 11:6Truly the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a powerful Spirit, in which ALL things were made! How intelligent and wise is a God who can fix what was broken, by restoring a heart unto Himself that has confessed a genuine confession of belief on what His Son has done was was the only method of salvation and righteousness ever needed?
If Christians do not understand even the basics of sin, how can they understand and relay the power of the life-transforming Good News? By the evidence of division, doctrines, legalism followed by condemnation of “sinners” and hypocrisy that they do not.
What they can do is repent while there is time! Recognize and identify the truth of the Gospel by faith!
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. – Romans 13:11