The Jewish people were subject to a Theocracy as their form of government when Jesus was physically here over 2000 years ago. The Jewish Leaders (Pharisees & Scribes) were legalistic in their mindset. They believed the law supersedes love in importance.
Burt Reynolds, my fellow native Floridian died last year. As I was honoring his memory, I thought of two movies he stared in - "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Deliverance". I rented both and watched them once again. One scene in "Deliverance" really popped out as being extremely pertinent to the point I am trying to make about the dangers of a legalistic mindset. Do you remember all of the main characters argued over what to do with the body of the dead man they just killed because he and his partner in crime forcibly held them at gunpoint so his buddy could sodomize one of them? Watch the movie again and come to your own conclusion and see if they made the right decisions on how they solved the legal quagmire they fell into.
There are two schools of thought in the mainstream church today. One is Faith based and the other Works based. Another way of putting it would be one is Grace based and the other Shame based. The false gospel the Apostle Paul rebuked the Galatian church for preaching was a works based doctrine. Paul said let those who preach a false gospel be accursed. It was a gospel message based on good works or strict obedience to the law as the necessary means of granting favor and acceptance from God.
All religions in the world, with the exception of authentic Christianity, are based on good works or strict adherence to the law in order to merit good favor with God. This is especially true with the religion of Islam. Islam plays on the fears of their followers to promote their evil agenda to take over the world by whatever means necessary. This is why they use terror as their number one motivating factor to gain converts. A works based doctrine is motivated out of fear. In other words, "you better adhere to the law or else!" A faith base doctrine is motivated out of love. This unconditional love is measured by our life long commitment to be obedient to our Creator who saved us from our rebellious nature that has eternally separated us from our family relationship with Him. "Jesus is the vine and we are the branches". We will not bear fruit if we are not grafted into the vine with sincere and devoted faith that lasts a lifetime.
We are seeing the Democratic Party using fear tactics (intimidation) to promote their progressive liberal agenda. Climate change is an example of their most terrorizing fear tactic to scare the American People into seeing the need for government to dramatically raise taxes so they can stop the climate changes they say humans have caused. They say if we don’t do something about it now, we will perish in a decade. They are also using racism and identity politics as a fear tactic by making people believe our President is a racist and reincarnation of Hitler himself. These fear tactics are nothing new. They have been used many times before by the tyrants who have risen to power in the past. King Solomon would say, “there’s nothing new under sun, what’s been done before will be done again”. Please understand that the Democratic Party are masters of deception and follow their leader who is the "father of lies" himself.
Only authentic Christianity is based on faith alone as the only means acceptable to our Creator for salvation from our sins or breaking His laws.
What is a more powerful motivating factor, love or fear? The Bible makes it clear that love covers a multitude of sins, not fear. Fear is the very opposite of faith. The Apostle Paul wrote...
Legalistic churches preach a false gospel because they add good works or keeping the law as being necessary for salvation. It is very clear in the Bible that "our works are like filthy rags to God" and "whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it". There is no way on earth we can save ourselves from our sin if we base our salvation on good works or keeping the law because of our sin nature. The Apostle John says, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us". The Apostle Paul says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". The only person who has never sinned is God's only son Jesus Christ. John the Baptist said, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world". Jesus was the spotless lamb of God who was the only person who ever lived worthy of the sacrificial death on the Cross at Calvary to pay for our sin debt in full so that justice may be served for all of mankind's egregious mistakes or breaking of God's laws.
Eternal Life is a free gift granted by God to any one who puts their total faith in Jesus knowing that He is the only way, the only truth and the only life worthy of the faith needed to overcome our natural desire to sin.
Authentic Christians know they are miserable sinners and in need of salvation. We, as true Christians, admit we are sinners and sincerely make honest attempts to turn away from our wicked ways knowing Jesus will help us overcome our addiction to certain desires of the flesh. It is God's unconditional love and grace that grants us His free gift of eternal life even though we do not deserve it. There are no good works by any man that would grant favor with God to merit eternal life in Heaven. It's only by God's loving grace and our faith in Him alone that grants us a permanent place in His Kingdom called Heaven. We can never depend on our good works for salvation because we would never be good enough to meet God's standard of total perfection. Even though we are saved, we continue to sin on a daily basis despite all our best efforts not to sin. See what The Apostle Paul says about his struggle with sin in Romans 7:15-24 as follows:
"For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?"
After reading Paul's personal struggle with sin, I think we can conclude that it is Keeping the Faith that pleases God rather than trying to please Him with all of our works or good deeds. Read Hebrews 11:6 which says.
As an authentic Christian, we should be motivated out of sheer gratitude to do what is right in God's eyes, especially knowing that we do not deserve the gift of eternal life because of our sin nature. Our sin nature should keep us in constant prayer for God to deliver us from this wicked body of death we are trapped in until we die and meet Jesus face to face one day and receive our new spiritual bodies that will be devoid of a natural desire to sin. As a true Christian, we should never think too highly of our selves and like the Apostle Paul, I believe we should consider ourselves to be the worse of all sinners instead of the best of all sinners as self-righteous Christians do.
This mindset will keep us in a constant state of humility which is the most important Godly attribute that Jesus demonstrated when He became flesh and dwelt among us as a man 2000 plus years ago. God taught the Apostle Paul that his addiction to certain sin was a blessing instead of curse because it would keep him in a constant state of humility. God told Paul that His power is perfected in our struggle to overcome our addiction to certain desires of the flesh. Now do you have a better understanding of our sin nature and how addiction affects all of us in the body of Christ? Point 20 should add some perspective to this complex issue.
Let me tell you a true story about teaching my daughter, Hannah, how to ride her bike. As her Father, I knew she was going to fall off her bike a few times before she got the hang of what it takes to stay upright. Well, as the story goes, she did fall off her bike and bumped her knee and started crying and went into the house with out trying again. I tried my best to convince her to try again but she refused. I was very disappointed in her because she lacked the faith to try again. I believe this is how our Heavenly Father looks at us as His child. He knows we are going to make mistakes in our attempts to learn how to live in a dangerous and competitive world. What pleases God most is when we are not afraid to step out in faith when we are unsure of what the future may bring. Hebrews 11:1says;
God tells us in the Bible that each human being is given a different measure of faith. What does this mean? It means that each person is limited to what he or she can accomplish in life because of the differences in these measures. People with large measures of faith accomplish more in life than those who do not have a large measure of faith.
Do you remember the movie, “Forest Gump”? The main character played by Tom Hanks is a man who was not blessed with a whole lot of smarts. The moral of this story is that his lack of intelligence was overcome by the very large measure of faith that God had blessed him with. In the movie, he becomes a war hero and a very successful multi-millionaire businessman because of his child-like faith. This is a perfect example of how his large measure of faith allowed him to overcome his low IQ. In Matthew 17:20, Jesus said,
Jesus is teaching us that people who have large measures of faith are supernaturally going to be the most productive people among us. As a rule of thumb, they are going to have more possessions, more status in the community and more money in the bank. In other words, they have more to show for their faith. That's why the Bible teaches faith without works is dead. In other words, our faith is what unleashes God's infinite Power!
Did you know that President Trump's Pastor was Dr. Norman Vincent Peal? He wrote the all time best seller book "The Power of Positive Thinking". I read this book while in the Navy. Isn't that what faith is? Being optimistic about what we can accomplish in life? Pastor Peal ranks right up there with Dale Carnegie and Will Rogers in my book.
Unfortunately, many people who have not been blessed with a large measure of faith, covet what they do not have. They don't realize that God is going to judge each of us on how well we utilize our own measure of faith and not how rich and powerful we may become.
God will judge us by the fruits of our labor. What does this mean? It means that He will evaluate the quality and quantity of the fruit we produce, how well we followed our assigned role in the production of the fruit, how well we manage the resources needed to produce the fruit and how well we treat our customers with the sale and delivery of our fruit which would be called products and services in today’s terminology. In other words, it is how well we supply the demand of our customers when our product or service is sold and delivered. How we go about our works should demonstrate how sincere and devoted our faith really is. This is what distinguishes us from all the self-righteous hypocrites in the world who are all talk and no show. As a result, people who are addicted to coveting other people's fame and fortune become resentful of those with larger measures of faith, especially someone like Donald Trump who is everything they are not. This is the main reason so many people hate our president. One of the seven deadly sins is envy and jealousy which go hand in hand. Most people who follow the ideology of liberal elites are guilty of this sin. As the old saying goes, "Birds of a feather flock together".
I think about the tremendous amount of faith Christopher Columbus had to sail west in uncharted waters to find a quicker way to India because he believed the world was round instead of flat as his peers believed at the time. He did not find India...he found America. What a wonderful find that was. Can you believe that we have many in our country today who want to erase his memory?
Satan is alive and well on planet earth! Satan and his followers have always been losers and resent those who exercise great faith. This is why most Teacher Union members hate competition and believe tenure is more important than performance in the work place. This lazy and self serving mindset is the reason we will always have the poor among us as Jesus stated in Matthew 26:11. Please note there are many poor people who truly understand their physical and mental limitations and don't play the race card or victim card as an excuse to justify their lack of production in life.
Don't you think it's time to start exercising great faith again so we can make our country great again as our President encourages us to do?
It is very apparent in the Gospels that Jesus is not a Legalist, but in actuality, He's a Pragmatist in the way he thinks, talks and transacts with other people. The Apostle Paul and President Trump are also pragmatists in their mindset. I told many people in the past that Donald Trump is a "pragmatist on steroids". Study General George Patton's biography. He is a perfect example of what a God fearing pragmatist is all about. In other words...Jesus, Paul, General Patton and President Trump believe in implementing what ever method works best according the circumstances at hand. Their approach to problem solving is more productive, realistic, efficient and less time consuming. Paul said, "I have become all things to all men for the sake of Christ." Can you see the pragmatism (whatever works best) in this statement? Look at all the times the Jewish Pharisees and Scribes confronted Jesus for breaking various Jewish laws as mentioned in the Gospels. Read Mark 2:23-24 as an example of this nitpicking. Look at all the frivolous rules and regulations that President Trump has eliminated with a stroke if his pen since his election. Praise God for Donald Trump. He really is a modern day prophet (professor of God's truth). History will prove this to be true.
Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Mike Huckabee, Pastor Jeffress, John Hagee and myself see the hand of God on this man. Franklin's father (Billy) is the reason I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. My late maternal Grandparents love Billy Graham and always watched his crusades on TV. This is when I heard the Gospel message for the first time and realized it was Jesus who was missing in my life. I invited Jesus into my heart when I was sixteen years old after contemplating suicide. My prayer to Him went like this, “Jesus, I never invited you into my heart to save me. I don’t want to live in this awful world of selfish people anymore. If you are who you say You are, please come into my heart and save me from all this sin and anguish I am experiencing. I will serve you forever if you do...I opened up my heart as much as I knew how to do and waited…Almost instantaneously the RUSH OF THE HOLY SPIRIT FILLED MY HEART with a peace that the Bible describes as beyond our imagination. The burden of my sin was totally lifted off of me in an instant. Jesus has been my soul mate and best friend ever since. My decision to follow Jesus and no one else was the most important decision I ever made. I have been blessed with His unconditional love and protection from evil ever since. I am so thankful that I have been wise enough to keep my eyes focused on Jesus instead of looking to church leaders on how I should conduct my life. This is how I am able to discern what is of God and what is not.
Jesus gave us two commandments to sum up the law in a more pragmatic way rather than be tied down to countless frivolous legalities that stand in the way of progress. Jesus said in Mark 12:30-31 to:
If we just obey these two commands, the letter of the law becomes irrelevant. Look what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 8:2.
"The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death."
This falls in line with the KISS principle which believes in keeping things simple in how we go about establishing plans of action. I learned this principle in the Navy. Jesus believed there are exceptions to every rule when doing the right thing is more important than doing the law thing if you know what I mean. Jesus also believes all is fair in love and war. Look at what Jesus said in Matthew 10:16,
Jesus is telling us to be wiser than our enemies and do what ever is necessary to overcome evil because Satan is lawless in his fight to undermine the will of God. I am very surprised that there are many naive Christians who do not see that President Trump is beating the progressive liberal elites at their own game by giving them back their own medicine. In other words, He’s beating them by using their own intimidation tactics against them by firing back with both barrels of his shotgun.
I have quite a reputation in Junior and Senior High School by meeting bullies off of school grounds and teaching them a lesson on not to bully others. All bullies use intimidation tactics to get what they want. I read the book “Winning through Intimidation” in the early 80’s to enhance my ability to close sales presentations with certain prospective buyers who use intimidation to close deals. Here is how I deal with someone who likes to win through intimidation. All bullies use intimidation to get what they want. The only thing a bully respects is someone who is not afraid to intimidate back. President Trump is not afraid to intimidate back.
Here is a fact Jack - there is not a person on earth who can intimidate Donald Trump. Did Goliath intimidate David? No one is going to intimidate our President. This a a good thing, is it not?
It is very disappointing to me that so many professing Christians can be so naive when it comes to their understanding of the mindset of our President. We don't realize how shrewd President Trump really is. He is use to dealing with snakes. Most every successful businessman who grew up on the streets of New York City knows how to deal with snakes because the city is infested with them. Jerry Nadler, Michael Cohen and Michael Avenatti are perfect examples of these snakes. The Apostle Paul knows we are at war with Satan. Paul writes in Ephesians 6:10-17...
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
If God were a legalist, He would have had many rules for Adam and Eve to follow in the Garden of Eden instead of the one rule He established which was not to eat fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Isn't that what the law is - the knowledge of what is good and what is evil?
Here is a classic example when it is appropriate to break the law. It is the story of Anne Frank who was harbored illegally by a Danish home owner in German occupied Denmark to keep her and her Jewish family from being taken to a German Concentration Camp. This story is a great example when love trumps the law and is an example of why "all is fair in love and war". Read Romans Chapter Two for a better understanding of this spiritual concept.
In conclusion, it is very apparent to me that Jesus hated the legalistic mindset. Do you see the truth in what I just described? Another tidbit of information to note is that Jesus is also a Capitalist in His view on how to achieve financial prosperity. Read Matthew 25:14-30 to support this view.
Bottom Line - Legalism restricts the AWESOME POTENTIAL of our faith.
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