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Holiness and Goodness a requirement

If we look at the books of the New Testament (NT) we see a recurring theme.  Avoid sin at all cost, and do good.  This is a requirement for the believer.   The NT books declare and teach what sin is.  These books also declare that fruit has to be produced by the believer.  The modern church teaches that this fruit consists of inviting people to church services.  The NT declares that this fruit is a person’s goodness, righteousness, fairness, and justice.  This fruit demonstrates holiness by the believer.  The church today in the West teaches that a believer cannot be holy.  Churches here teach that holiness is not about your behavior, that holiness is an abstract concept applied to you after you have said a prayer to God.

This teaching is clearly not correct when we read the NT.  The believer has been moved from the power of darkness to light in the NT.  They are no longer defenseless against sin.  They have protection against temptations in Christ.  A believer is to use the tools that Christ has given to them to increase their goodness and holiness.  The reading of the Word to renew their mind,  praying to call upon God and to hear from God, the accepting of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and with this acceptance the believer receives power to resist sin.

The idea of a believer needing to obtain holiness is also portrayed in the Old Testament within the statutes and rules given in the Law of Moses.  The OT Israelites were to perform certain requirements such as washings, learning what was clean and unclean and abstaining from the religious activities and practices of other nations, sacrifices were to be continually made for their sins, etc.  These were actions and requirements that had to be done and performed by the priesthood and the people.

The current teaching in the West undermines the importance and even the requirement of the believer to seek after righteousness.


God’s Covenant with his people

In the book of Jeremiah we read that the covenant God made with his people during the time of the Exodus was not the Law of Sinai.  He did not establish the decrees and the Ten Commandments as the covenant with his redeemed people until after the Exodus.  The Law was added later by Moses and confirmed through angels, the Bible says.  This is the covenant that God established with his people at the beginning. ” Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you.” “So shall you be my people, and I will be your God, that I may confirm the oath that I swore to your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as at this day.”  This is also the covenant that God established with Abraham.  The Bible says ‘Abraham believed God, and it was  counted to him as righteousness’.  In Hebrews we are told that it was Abraham’s obedience in his willingness to sacrifice Isaac that typifies God’s sacrifice of his own son Jesus on the Cross.

Obedience is better than sacrifice, the Bible says.  “If you love me”, Jesus says, “you will obey my commandments”. ” If I am in you and you are in me you will not sin”, Jesus says. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind and all your strength.  It is the overcomer who inherits the kingdom of God the scriptures say.  “Be faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life”.  These are not the sayings of someone who has already done it all for us.  We have a part to play in our salvation.  We have a covenant to keep with God.  We have a cross to bear.  The word of the Lord to us today is “my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.

God is a covenant keeping God, we need to be a covenant keeping people.  It is becoming more treacherous for the believer in the world and we need to be able to run to God and to the everlasting arms and protection that only he can provide.  Nothing else will protect you in the coming days.

 


Legalism

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.


Christian youth interacting in today’s world

The Scripture says ‘be ye in the world but not of it’. We look around our communities as Christians and things seem at least somewhat ‘normal’. We see families out together, people going about their business, people smiling and laughing, and children tagging along with their caregiver. This means that the world is alright doesn’t it? Things can’t be that bad. Then we hear that some of the middle school youth at our church are struggling with feelings of homosexuality. Feelings that they don’t want and that they hate. What has happened?
There is a spirit of homosexuality in our land right now in the West. This spirit is increasing in its scope and in its power in the lives of youth. Especially those who involve themselves in today’s media of gaming and other influential technology such as the easy access to pornography websites through the Internet.
Government laws have gotten behind the enforcement and acceptance of homosexuality and political correctness in society has demanded alignment in the thinking and actions of everyday people. Differences of thought are stomped out quickly by authorities as discriminatory, bigoted and subject to possible fines and imprisonment.

Youth are active in media. They like gaming. They like technology that entertains them. They like being exposed to ‘new and exciting things’. They want to try everything to see what it is about. They are very susceptible to peer pressure and want to be the same as their friends. They want to be thought of as progressive in their thinking and in how they live their lives. Through these mechanisms and influences the youth are coming under the control of the homosexual spirit that is currently in the world.

If the youth want to break free of this control they are going to have to be taught to be very careful of what they are engaging in. Many of the current games they play may have to be set aside for other choices. Some of the music they listen to and some of the television programs and movies they watch may have to be avoided. If the youth continue to engage with media indiscriminately then there is a strong possibility that they will lose control of themselves and become captives and slaves of the spirit of homosexuality and of other unwanted and hated powers of ungodliness.