I read some regular news mostly from CBC here in Canada. I also read some alternate media sites on the Internet. What I have found for myself is that there appears to be error in both camps of news. On the Internet there are opportunistic web sites, propaganda sites, gossip sites, false teaching sites, exaggerated and hyped up sites, and so on. We have ongoing nuclear disaster problems in our world that are not mentioned in regular news broadcasts. We have important news that happens in the world and in our governments that is not covered by regular news outlets, we have news that is reported incorrectly, and so on. Where can someone get reliable trusted information in our day?
In my mind the Bible is the only correct information that we can rely on and depend on in our day. There is so much confusion, disinformation, false teaching, biased propaganda, deception, and outright lies in our day. The average person is changing into thieves, liars, and brutes. Scripture says this about the Cretans during the time of Paul the apostle. There comes a time in society when things are turned upside down and inside out. I think this is what is happening today. We in the world are being shaken. Everything we’ve known and believed in the past is being dismantled and questioned. Someone recently said that you read what the left news is saying, then you read what the right news is saying, and choose something to believe that is in the middle somewhere. I don’t think this is where a person finds truth either. This position is just more moderate thinking about untruths. Is everything we hear and read a lie? No. But how does one know what the real truth is? We don’t know. This is the reality in our day and time.
The Bible is also being questioned and dismantled in our day. This assault is coming from Biblical teachers,and preachers. The Bible’s truthfulness is being questioned today. We are being told that we can believe some of the Bible, or maybe even most of the Bible, but some parts of scripture are unreliable. Scholars say that there were wrong translations made in the past and so what the Bible says today can be questioned or set aside. I believe it is the Bible that will keep the believer on the correct path and will teach the believer what truth is. We absolutely need the Holy Spirit in our day, but we absolutely need to trust what the Bible says as well. Jesus says in the Bible that he is the TRUTH. Where else could we find this information other than the Bible?
Hebrews (chps.7-10) talk about the reasons that the covenant with Jesus and his priesthood is superior to the covenant with the law and Aaron’s priesthood. The tabernacle set up in the wilderness by Moses was a shadow of the true tabernacle that is in heaven, the book of Hebrews says. The regulations for the earthly tabernacle in the wilderness were external and could not change the heart of the worshiper. The worshiper failed in their obedience to God under this covenant. This failure caused God to deny the people access to his rest. They died in the wilderness. It was their children who entered the promised land with Joshua, the Bible says.
The new covenant with Jesus clears the conscience and sets the worshiper free from sin. He did away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. There are realities under this second covenant with Jesus available to the worshiper that are superior to first covenant. The new covenant with Jesus requires the worshiper to be called. The worshiper is made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ. This sacrifice does not need to be performed over and over again. It was a once for all sacrifice at the end of the ages made by Christ. The first covenant is a system of religion. The second covenant with Jesus is a restoring of a relationship with God. It provides an eternal inheritance to the worshiper as a son of God.
The book of Galatians makes it clear that if the worshiper tries to mix the first covenant with the second covenant they will be required to keep the whole law for their righteousness with God. Hebrews states that God has now written the law in our minds and on our hearts in his second covenant with Jesus. We have an internal ability to discern good from evil. We have an internal ability to fight our sin and defeat it by God’s Holy Spirit. We have grace to help in the time of our need. We have access to the presence of God through Jesus, the mediator between God and man. What this means is that the worshiper who is under the second covenant with Jesus can obey and please God. We are not at the mercy of sin under the second covenant. We can make choices to obey God, take up our cross, and die with Christ. In fact, these choices are not optional for the worshiper under the second covenant. The Bible says we must make them. This is the measure of the second covenant with Jesus. Christianity is dying to ourselves and living for God. Leave behind the foundation teachings of Christ, the book of Hebrews says, and go on to maturity. For the sake of God and eternity…..are you willing? God will make it possible for you by his Holy Spirit. A truly magnificent gift.
My early experience in the nineteen-eighties as a new Christian was in a non-denominational, charismatic style church. When we were taught to prophecy it took about 10-15 minutes of instruction and some encouragement from the leader of the church. Why do we have to go to a prophetic school for several months to learn how to prophecy?
Maybe a school of the prophets is more about being indoctrinated into a certain system, indoctrinated into a certain teaching belief by a certain leader. Maybe it’s about mind control and other methods of getting control of believers. Perhaps this kind of school is about establishing a ‘ministry’ for the program director. Maybe it’s about ‘money’ and a ‘career’. Whatever this kind of school is, it is not necessary. If a believer is familiar with Scripture and has the gift of the Holy Spirit, they can prophecy if they want to. The Apostle Paul says that all believers should covet the gift of prophecy because it edifies the body.
It is very difficult to discern correct spiritual teaching in our modern times. My own solution (to date) has been to largely ignore popular Christian ministry that is being presented to believers through electronic media and books. It is virtually impossible to discern a self-proclaimed prophet by his/her messages. How can we know what they say has come to pass when their prophecies are ambiguous, mystical, non-specific and general or are interpretations of their own dreams? This is not how the prophets of the OT and NT gave their prophecies. For example, the prophecy given by an unknown prophet in the NT who prophesied of Paul’s chains if he continued with his trip to Jerusalem. We can check if this event happened or not. It did. The Bible says that this is how we can discern a true prophet, when their ‘word’ comes to pass. If their ‘word’ does not come to pass we are not to fear them.
There is little room in the Bible for the tolerance of false teaching. The Apostle Paul declares that they needed to be stopped because whole households were being subverted. The issue at that time was about those who were teaching that the Gentiles needed to keep aspects of the Mosaic Law in order to be saved. We have such a hodgepodge of questionable Christian teaching today that it is like a giant, complex maze to a blind man. I am not ignorant enough to believe that I can discern it all and find the ‘truth’. False teaching is diabolical, intelligent, attractive, powerfully spiritual and wicked. I am no match for it. Are you?
The scripture says that Christ gave gifts to men. Two of these gifts mentioned in the NT are apostles and prophets. What is the gift of an apostle or of a prophet? To mature the saints the Bible says. There are true apostles and prophets and there are self-proclaimed apostles and prophets in our modern day. Many churches discard these gifts as not needed today, yet we see mostly weak and ineffective believers struggling to live victoriously and failing to conquer sin and their old nature. The majority of Pastors of churches seem to think that this is fine. They fail to accept equals in church leadership. In their mind leadership is earned through works. A degree from an educational institution is first and paramount. An agreement with most, if not all, of their thinking is required. An acceptance of mediocrity is enforced by Pastors in order to not rock the boat of attendees adhering to the ‘their’ church. According to the Bible this is not church leadership. This is something entirely different that is using God’s people and the name of Christ. We have largely false or inadequate church leadership in North America today. There can be no other conclusion after reading the scriptures.
Legalism, in my view, is relying on the Mosaic Law for our righteousness. The Bible says that the law was good as it was originally given. The issue was that the hearts of men could not be changed by the law. If righteousness could have come through the law the scripture says it would have been done that way by God. Man needed to be reborn into righteousness after the fall of Adam and Eve. This was accomplished through Christ, a righteous man, dying on the cross and being raised again to new life. The Law was instituted as a tutor of righteousness until the appointed time of the birth of Jesus Christ. God’s requirements have not changed in Scripture. Beginning in the OT and then into the NT God teaches us about his requirements for right living, right thinking, and right hearts. What Jesus did was to make our transformation in these areas possible. We can now do through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit what we could not do under the Law. We can become a new creation in Christ. The scriptures teach us how we are to make these changes.
Today’s modern teaching on legalism has made it about overlooking God’s requirements for righteous living. That we have no choice but to continue to sin. This teaching denies the new birth in Christ. It puts believers in the camp of the unrighteous, with no real power, and at the control of sin. This is false teaching according to the Bible.