I was pretty shocked when I began to hear the Lord speak quietly to my heart that it was time to quit church. “Not so, Lord,” I said, in the spirit of Peter from Acts 10 and 11.
But I finally relented. . . . Although it seemed as though I was having an inner temper tantrum in my “obedience” to my Lord and Master, Jesus the Messiah. (Good job, Lisa.)
The following Sunday, it was a huge surprise to me when Jesus made Himself known. His presence was manifested to me. “Oh!! Jesus!” I said. “Well, hello there! It’s been so long!” And His glorious joy was poured out to my spirit.
Of course He had never left me nor forsaken me. But I had forsaken Him. For 15 years. Why? Well, heck, I was trying to be a “good Christian.”
Before quitting church, the Lord had been stripping me of a belief system that was based on rules and regulations. I was all about, “you have to do this, and you shouldn’t do that.”
He led me to quit church in 2004, and by 2006 the only ‘law’ I was still holding on to tenaciously was that we “have to ask forgiveness for our sins.” Finally, the Lord gently removed that one last requirement through learning the proper meaning of 1 John 1:8&9. Simply put, John was speaking to unbelievers (most likely the Gnostics in his audience) in verses 8 and 9 of chapter 1.
So, I came to understand that I did not have to ask for forgiveness; that His death on the cross had already accomplished my forgiveness, and I simply had to believe that “it is finished.”
Realizing that I no longer had a Christian To-Do List, there was simply nothing left for me to do. Except to love Him back. To trust Him. To rely on Him. To depend on Him. I began to live my life in a totally different way. I trusted Him to lead me and guide me.
The way I parented our three kids became completely different; the way I viewed God began to line up with reality; I began to give my husband grace, and stopped trying to change him into a repentant and obedient ‘godly man.’ The TREE OF LIFE became my daily food; I had left behind the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I now live every day with Jesus, worshiping Him in spirit and in truth. It’s a glorious life.
And if you’re wondering, no, I don’t go to “church.” Well, I never went back to “formalized” church. Yet to this day, I do gather together with believers on a regular basis, and there is more true fellowship in my life now than there ever was in the days when I went to church four times a week.
Does an understanding of our freedom in Christ motivate us to sin? I don’t think so. I would argue that an understanding of our complete and total forgiveness motivates believers to receive something better: our true purpose and meaning.
Personally, although I know that I have total freedom in Christ, that freedom doesn’t provoke me to sin; instead it encourages me to live according to the New Covenant with its new law: the law of the Spirit of life.
The law of the Spirit of life! Have you heard of it? Paul mentions it in his letter to the Romans…
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:1&2, NASB)
So what is the law of the Spirit of life? As Romans 8 makes clear, it is the complete opposite of the law of sin and death, the Mosaic Law. This means that believers should not be led by the commandments and laws of the Old Covenant (or any set of laws!) Just let the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, lead you.
You know? ‘Cause you are free! 😀
“It is for freedom that Christ Jesus has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1, NIV)
Paul the apostle is constantly encouraging us to live a life of freedom. In his letter to the Colossians, he tells us that living a life according to a bunch of rules is not a REAL life. It’s a fake, false life; a life in the shadows.
So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. (Colossians 2:17, NLT)
Interesting, huh!? 🤓 The religion of the Old Covenant was the shadow, “For these rules are only shadows of the reality.” They were a shadow of things yet to come. The life of faith in which we are governed by the law of the spirit of life is the reality that has come!
Paul says, “don’t let anyone condemn you.” A logical warning, because we can’t escape religious people. And for those Christians who still live in the shadow, condemning others is natural. Why? Because they themselves are governed by the law of sin and death.
You know what I am talking about, right!? We all have regularly experienced condemnation from the Christians with whom we interact.
It was common for me to come home from work feeling “beat up” by condemnation during the five years that I worked at a large Christian K-12 homeschool enrichment program. It was simply status quo for the ladies and teen girls that I interacted with; condemnation just sort of flows out of their mouths like a leaky faucet.
Why? Well there is a reason. It’s because they are still under “the law of sin and death.” They are still under the Old Covenant, which means that they mistakenly think that God still holds their sins against them. Living under this delusion makes them mean!
They do not intend to be mean . . . but they can’t help it. On one hand, they are sweet and kind and friendly and were fun to work with, but on the other hand, condemnation flows out of them nonetheless. (Usually during Staff Meetings when we are discussing “everyone else.”)
I am sharing this with you – not to bad-mouth homeschoolers — but to illustrate the point that most Christians are still under the law. They need to be set free!
So then, how shall we live? Well, we no longer live according to rules and regulations. We allow the law of the Spirit of Life to guide us. We no longer try to earn God’s favor by obeying the laws He gave to Moses. Instead we believe the truth that HE was obedient to the law on our behalf, and then died for the forgiveness of all sin.
Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. (Matthew 5:17, NASB)
He fulfilled the Law, and then nailed it all to the cross. Obedience to the law has come to an end.
God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law of Moses. He took them away and nailed them to the cross. (Colossians 2:14, CEV)
The result of all of this is that we are SET FREE to live according to the Spirit! The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the Law of Sin and death.
So when you feel that someone is condemning you for not obeying some rule; for not keeping the Sabbath; for not being good enough or holy enough . . . for whatever standard that they feel you are not living up to . . . just remember Paul’s word to the Colossian church: don’t let anyone condemn you. And remember his words to the church in Rome: there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
My site is called Mom for Freedom, because I just so happen to be a Mom who is FOR freedom. I am pro-freedom. I desperately want my brothers and sisters to be set free – set free to live a life of peace and rest, growing in grace and getting to know Jesus better with each passing year.
Hey guys, I don’t know the answer to this question, so maybe you can help me out by sharing your thoughts in the comments section. Or, perhaps you would like to simply RANT along with me, because this post is basically a complaint.
WHY are the books of the Bible NOT in chronological order?
WHY are the stories out of order?
Ezra should come after Daniel. But they put if after 2 Chronicles.
Haggai should come after Ezra, but it’s way in the back by Malachi.
There are probably other examples, but you get my point: this is really annoying!
Were the unregenerate non-believing Jews who put together the Old Testament trying to confuse people on purpose!??
Don’t get me wrong, I adore the books of the Bible, cherish the stories, delight in getting to know Old Testament saints like David and Elijah, and rejoice in the complete redemption that is described in Romans through Revelation . . .
But I just have to say that things would be a lot clearer if the books of the Old Testament were consistently chronological.
And to quote Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”