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Which Road?

As believers, we should want to live a righteous life before God.  The question is; how do we get there?  I’ve been posting through Galatians and talking about legalism vs. faith.  Aren’t they simply two different roads that get you to the same place?

There are those who teach that they are.  They tell you that the way to a righteous life is hard work, tears, and a lot of self-control.  After all, it’s a hard road to keep yourself holy.

In reality, that’s not the teaching of Scripture.  Look at what Paul writes to the Galatian believers.

Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God?  Absolutely not!  For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.
Galatians 3:21

The word, opposed, in the above verse is a common word with many meanings depending on the context.  I believe that Paul is asking if the Law is opposite – or the other side of the coin – to the promises.

In other words, you can follow the Law or you can trust the promises, but you can’t do both.  They’re opposite paths.  So what Paul is asking is, are they different paths to the same goal of righteousness?

I believe that this interpretation is correct because of the way Paul answers his rhetorical question.  He clearly tells us that there is absolutely no way that righteousness can be obtained through following the Law.

As a matter of fact, Paul goes on to tell us that there is only one road that brings you to this destination.

But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Galatians 3:22

Scripture is clear on this subject.  Every human being on earth is under the cloud of sin.  The only way out is through faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross.  There’s nothing else I can do to take me from sin to righteousness.

This means that apart from faith in Christ, the Law is needed simply to keep things in order.

Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.  So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.  Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
Galatians 3:23-25

That’s why society needs laws.  Without the Holy Spirit at work in us, there’s nothing to maintain peace and order.  The more godless the society; the more laws that are needed.

This verse goes so far as to tell us that the law is like a prison.  It locks people up until they come to faith in Christ.  Think about how true this is.

If a car thief gets sent to prison, does that mean he’s no longer a thief?  No!  He just doesn’t have the opportunity to steal any cars.

In the same way, I might get mad at someone, and feel like beating them up.  But because I know that the law says it’s illegal, and I could go to jail if I act on it, I keep myself in check.  Does that make me any less of a criminal in God’s eyes?

So we have a society of people who are prisoners of the law.  They want to do things that the law says they shouldn’t.  So they act correctly, at least while others are watching.

The only answer to this dilemma is faith in Jesus Christ.  By submitting to Him, we allow the Holy Spirit to change us from the inside out.  This is the promise of God.  That His Spirit would be in control of us, leaving us free to serve God with all of our heart.

Question: Why do so many believers choose to serve the Law after accepting Christ’s salvation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

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Posted by on August 21, 2017 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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What does it take to be a Disciple? #discipleship

ClassGod wants us to walk in the full rights of sonship as His children.  This means that we’re walking in the authority and responsibility that comes with it.  To get to that point, we must undergo the process of discipleship.  What does that mean?

At one point in His ministry, Jesus was speaking to a crowd about why He came to the earth.

Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him.
John 8:30

This was a good response.  There were believers sprinkled through the crowd, listening to His every word.  They were the ones that the Lord was focusing on as He continued.

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32

Talking specifically to those that believed, He explained that faith is not the goal.  It’s merely the beginning of the journey.

Here in America we’ve gone through the “Faith Movement”.  Regardless of how you feel about it, this movement changed the entire face of the church.  But there’s still more that God wants to do in us.

What comes next is that little word that changes everything. IF!  Its conditional – “If you live, remain, dwell in my Word…”

The next step after faith is to live in God’s Word.  Its living in the Word that makes you a disciple.  There’s a difference in Scripture between believers and disciples.

When you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, you become a believer.  The Holy Spirit takes up residence in you and you’re on your way to heaven.  Becoming a disciple is a whole other choice.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.”
John 15:1-3

This is the result of discipleship.  Once we know the truth – by remaining in His Word – we are set free from sin by that Word.

This is the foundation for all that we do in Christ.  It’s by the Word that the power of God is manifest in us.  What I’m talking about is the Word you hear as you’re intimate with Christ.

That’s how Jesus operated.  By remaining in the Father’s Word, He had 100% results.  The Lord could heal, walk on water, calm a storm, raise the dead, or feed five thousand.  All this because He remained in the Word He heard from the Father.

Question: What will it take for us to walk in this level of discipleship?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2014 in Faith, Revival, Word of God

 

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All You Need is Christ

JesusIn my last post I talked about how Christ has fulfilled the requirements for the promises.  This teaching is carried on throughout the New Testament.  It’s not just a verse pulled out of context, but a scriptural theme that has been all but ignored by the church.

For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath.  And where there is no law there is no transgression.
Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring – not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham.  He is the father of us all.
Romans 4:14-16

This is a foundational passage in our knowledge of how the promises are obtained in Christ.  The blessing is received, not by my working to do the requirements, but by faith in the One who has already fulfilled them.

This truth is not only given to us by Paul, but also by Peter as well.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
2 Peter 1:3-4

The phrase through these obviously refers to the glory and goodness of God, not our works of righteousness.  As a matter of fact the implications of this go deeper than we have yet discussed.  According to this verse, the reason God blesses us is so that we might actually be participants, sharers, in His divine nature.  You will not find the call for us to fulfill the requirements of the promises anywhere in the New Covenant.

If that’s true, then what are the promises for?  We can look at it this way; each promise has two halves.  There are the requirements and the blessing.  According to the New Testament, Jesus came to fulfill the requirements of the promises.  Because of His finished work on the cross, we receive the blessing of the promise because we’re in Him.

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
Galatians 4:4-5

What really began to set me free was when I realized that the promises are the rights of sons.  For instance, this means that the promise associated with tithing has been fulfilled.  God rebukes the devourer because I’m a son.  We need the revelation that we now receive the promises based upon sonship.

As I’ve said before, you need the whole truth to be effective.  In my next post I will deal with the most important part of this series.

Question: Why is it so hard for us to accept that Christ has finished this work on the cross?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2013 in Faith, Power of God, The Church

 

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