Thursday, August 19, 2010

PULLING THE WOOL OVER GOD EYES

Pulling the Wool over God’s Eyes



“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28. Paul clearly states the obvious, punctuated by the true fact that we, who are born again believers, are all one in Christ. How can this verse be so widely misinterpreted? In response to a commentary I wrote on women pastors many have used this particular verse to contradict Paul’s teachings. As we all know, God’s word never contradicts itself. So in this commentary I’ll show what Paul was clearly teaching while addressing the Galatians.



It’s interesting, if we go back and read from the beginning of this chapter we see that Paul is disturbed by what’s going on in Galatia and his blood pressure must be more than just slightly elevated as he refers to the Galatians as fools. “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth…” Galatians 3:1. Paul is speaking to the Galatians as believers who, by all accounts, knew the truth. They had been taught well and the knowledge and understanding was there. So what went wrong? The doctrines of men, the pride of life, the rebellion to the simple truth of the scriptures, and we see the same thing has happened today in many of our Christian Churches. Perhaps not the same deceptions as the Galatians were entertaining but deception none the less. Letting down our guard allows Satan a foothold and erroneous doctrines will creep in, most of the time unawares.



“… who hath bewitched you…” Galatians 3:1a. Paul is speaking to the Galatians as though they are under some kind of a spell. Paul knows the Galatians and what they’ve been taught, but something has changed. He sees the Gospel of Christ, having been previously accepted by them, being supplanted with a huge error. The Galatians were in the process of adding to the simple gift of salvation with the Old Testament Law of Moses.



Jesus Christ came to fulfill the law and the prophets and the Galatians were taught that truth. But they were bewitched in their thinking and became disobedient to that truth. The Galatians were heading off course and Paul had to help them get their sights back on Jesus Christ, and Him alone for salvation.



Unbiblical doctrines have once again permeated the Church, and strangely enough, these lies have become the norm and widely accepted by those in leadership. It’s as though no one pays attention to all the warnings against such doctrines. Jesus Himself addresses seven churches in the book of Revelation and most of them have strayed way off the correct path. Only two were still hanging onto the truth of the Gospel, and that was way back in the first century AD. Like the Galatians, much of the Christian Church has moved way off base.



Man’s perception of the Bible has changed over the years. It’s now seen as allegorical, erroneous, mythological and in many instances quite controversial. When man determines the Bible contains errors, or when verses are interpreted in a controversial way, some simply prefer to delete those supposed errors and stubborn contradictions so their agenda may be easier to achieve. If this procedure is continued for any length of time we can be assured many false doctrines will infiltrate our Christian Churches. Oh yeah, they already have. When people are blindly led by the rings in their noses instead of studying the scriptures for themselves these errors will fester into huge doctrinal issues which no one will want to deal with so they’re systematically ignored. Finally, erroneous doctrines become the new truth, and as we can now see are well entrenched in present day Christendom.



Paul saw this coming and he tried to head it off at the pass. The Galatians were being foolish in their attempts to yoke the Law of Moses with salvation, and Paul knew where this would lead. Our Christian Churches today have wandered off course; sadly there does not seem to be enough men with true biblical knowledge around to affect the change needed to get the Church back on course.



Over the past few decades there has been a huge lack of spiritual maturity among Christians. They’ve grown lax in how they deal with erroneous teaching. They’ve allowed new ideas and concepts that are unbiblical to filter in among the sheep, and in the end God’s truth has suffered greatly.



If we were to somehow conjure up Paul today and allow him ability to see for himself what has happened to the Church he would be both appalled and deeply saddened. His teachings are being treated with distain each time they stand in disagreement with or contradict a person’s personal stance on a certain issue. When someone doesn’t want to agree with the Apostle Paul because his words contradict their own manipulation of scriptures, they simply say “Although I respect Paul as a man of God he certainly didn’t speak for God in all instances”. This proves their own ignorance and deceitfulness. Of course since all scripture is God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) we know that it’s not Paul’s words that are being tortured and manipulated, but God’s.



There’s an old adage that goes something like this, “If you torture the text long enough you can make it say whatever you want.” I’ve seen this many times, especially when someone disagrees with my commentaries. No matter how I try to explain various Scriptures in context and from the original Greek or Hebrew meanings, there are those who have been taught a skewed doctrine for so long that they cannot accept Biblical truth. Or Biblical truth doesn’t fit into their concept of how God should be doing things.



The Galatians were moving away from the pure teaching of salvation by grace through faith and trying to incorporate the Law of Moses into the salvation mixture. Paul basically resorts to teaching them all over again. This is what we learn as we read the entire 3rd chapter of Galatians.



In today’s world, a common occurrence is to manipulate the scriptures by taking them out of context. This misguided approach to the scriptures has proved quite successful for those who wish to further their own agendas. This erroneous and misguided manipulation of scriptures has led many people to believe these false interpretations while completely ignoring the exegetical process of studying scriptures. This ill conceived and satanic approach to the scriptures is what’s referred to as torturing the text. If you take a pair of scissors and cut the Bible into many pieces you can put it back together to read however you want it to read. Of course that would be cheating, and there are many who revel in this deceptive process.



“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Galatians 3:26-27. Paul’s admonition through these verses is for one purpose, to get the Galatians back on the track. To the traditional Jewish way of thinking you’re standing before God was predicated on whether or not you keep the Law. Paul says we can be considered sons of God in a different way: through faith in Christ Jesus. The Galatians were heading toward instituting a major error by attempting to add the Law of Moses to salvation, and ultimately by forcing the gentiles to adhere to the rudiments of the law, thankfully along came Paul to set them straight.



“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28. Now we’re getting to the fundamental reason for this commentary. I sort of went the long way around the barn as it were, but it was a necessary route because of the misinterpretation, and erroneous manipulation of the above verse.



There is an old adage that states “The only barrier to receiving the truth is the belief you already have it”. Consequently I purposely explained the substance of the entire chapter of Galatians 3 so when I got to this verse those who might disagree wouldn’t just run away at this point. So keep reading and learn what Paul was really getting at.



You see, the problem that arose in the Church at Galatia was that some of the folks wanted the dividing line that once stood between the Jews and the Greeks to remain. It was Paul’s mission to open their eyes to the fact that in Christ Jesus no such line exists. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female. We are all one in Christ, so according to Paul what does “one in Christ” mean? There is no longer a dividing line between the three characteristics he mentions because when we become born again we are all “In Christ.” Greeks, slaves, and females are all the same when it comes to our inheritance of the Kingdom of Christ. We are all “In Christ”, one body, a group of people set apart for God’s good pleasure.



This doesn’t mean that there are no longer any differences. Paul knew that there was still a difference between Jew and Greek, and his evangelistic approach might differ to each group. “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-22.



The slave still had a daily obligation to obey his master , though they might be equal in Jesus “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.” Ephesians 6:5-8. The whole book of Philemon addresses this same thing.



There is neither male nor female? Of course there are still differences that no one can dispute, and there are still roles for male and female in the home and in the Church “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?”1 Timothy 2:1-5.



“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body” Ephesians 5:22-33. Though they are equal in standing before God there is still a chain of command set forth by God for all who belong to Him to follow. There are differences in role and in function, but none in standing before God through faith in Jesus.



“When we say that Christ has abolished these distinctions, we mean not that they do not exist, but that they no longer create any barriers to fellowship.” – John Stott



“He is not writing about a unity that comes about as a result of human achievement. He is saying that when people are saved by Jesus Christ they are brought into a marvelous unity, a unity between the saved and the Saviour and a unity that binds together all the saved.” – Henry Morris www.icr.org



“And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29. This concluding verse of Paul’s ties it all together as to just what correcting was going on with the Galatians. This chapter of Galatians and in particular the verse that states we are all one in Christ has nothing whatsoever to do with women pastors or teachers; it’s about fellowship and our inheritance. Clearly Paul is addressing the Galatians erroneous view that adhering to the Law of Moses was a part of salvation. Paul uses this chapter to set the Galatians straight.



Although I understand how when taken out of context some might think by referring to there is neither male nor female that they’ve achieved their vindication for women pastors and teachers, clearly the opposite is true. “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” 1 Timothy 2:12-14. As for the word of God, it’s clear and thus it still stands.



Women who have taken on a teaching role or pastoral role by usurping the authority God gave only to men are in direct contradiction God’s word. But I’m sure these women, as well as many mislead men, will find another way to torture the text so they can continue in their attempt at pulling the wool over God’s eyes.



God bless you all,



Ron Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

All scripture is from the KJV

Thursday, August 12, 2010

ON BROADWAY

On Broadway



Bright lights, adult theaters, jumping hot spots for socializing (among other things), fast cars, high rollers lots of fun and excitement to be had “On Broadway”. Now that’s the life, huh? “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:” Matthew 7:13.



There’s a Broadway in every town, in every community, in every nation. And I’m not talking about the street called Broadway, although many have become trapped and lost on that street. No, what I’m talking about is the Broadway Jesus speaks of as a particular path that each of us must choose to walk or avoid. It’s actually a simple path to follow. That’s why so many end up there. Fun, thrills, games of all kinds. A plethora of perversions and distractions from the woes of life can be found “On Broadway”.



What is the Broadway? It’s interesting when we look at the Greek word it actually means spacious, there seems to be no limitations on just how many people Broadway will accommodate. Any decision we make or any path we take which opposes Jesus Christ is the Broad-way that leadeth to destruction, and that my friends is just a simple fact.



There are many cults circulating the globe which teach their followers concepts that are diametrically opposed to God’s inerrant word, and those teachings culminate “On Broadway”. When someone says “There are many paths that lead to Heaven”, that’s Broadway. “All religions claim their own path to Heaven, Christianity is no different,” that’s Broadway. “I’m basically a good person; God won’t send me to Hell”, Broadway. “I don’t believe in God, or Satan, or Heaven and Hell”, okay, everybody say it together, Broadway.



Even in Christian colleges there are those who conspire with Satan to lead their students to Broadway. Anyone who teaches contrary to God’s word is conspiring with Satan. Satan, the father of all lies, invented the lie “…ye shall not surely die ” Genesis 3:4. In other words he called God a liar. That is precisely what we see happening whenever a pastor or college professor tells their parishioners or young impressionable students God didn’t really mean what He said. I’ve received letters from students confirming this to be the case. Be careful where you send your children for a Christian education. Many Christian colleges have successfully robbed that name from God and are currently well entrenched on Broadway.



A dear sister in the Lord recently wrote to me about the co-pastor “a woman” at her Church who line item vetoes verses from God’s word which she doesn’t like – Broadway.



Many Christian denominations come close to Broadway because they won’t recognize Israel’s legitimate claim to the land God gave them. “The Church has replaced Israel in God’s eyes”, that’s Broadway. God never reneges on a covenant. Those covenants He made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David are binding. Refusing to accept the truth of those covenants and thinking the Church has now replaced Israel in God’s eyes is just another way to call God a liar – Broaaadwaaay.



“Jesus is not God” – Broadway. “Jesus was a good teacher but He didn’t die on a cross or arise from the grave”, do you get the feeling Broadway’s filling up fast? Are we beginning to see why the Broadway is so easily followed yet so destructive? And why Jesus says many will enter thereat? There are so many lies infiltrating the minds of men that over time the truth of God’s word becomes diluted, and of non-effect.



“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:8. The word “spoil” above actually means to give place to. In other words, when man gives place to the doctrines of men instead of adhering to God’s word – Broadway.



Today we see many doctrines of men being adhered to in the church. One which is a sure path to Broadway is by adding to the sufficiency of the cross. This concept, in effect, is saying Jesus didn’t pay the whole price for my sins so I must perform my own works, such as being baptized to complete the process, or I must speak in tongues, or be a member of a certain congregation… these doctrines of men (lies) go on and on. Instead of being saved by grace through faith, according to man’s doctrines , faith alone just won’t do. This lie will lead people away from believing that through faith in Jesus Christ are we saved by God’s grace. Ultimately many who go to Church to find the truth only find Broadway.



When believers in Christ fail in their assigned task of spreading the Gospel of Christ, Satan will take full advantage of that failure, and he has. Besides all the Christian cults, and demon possessed professors, many of our Christian leaders are vacillating when it comes to standing firm on the word of God. When the scriptures are allegorized, marginalized, or even discounted as mere fables by pastors and teachers, Satan gets elevated. This very real satanic promotion has and will in the future lead many to – Broadway.



“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:15. Basically liars, these are men and women who have perfected the skill of lying to an art. They’ve made their father the devil proud. The only way any of us can keep from participating in their dance, “the Broadway shuffle”, is by being ever diligent in our studies of and believing in God’s inerrant word. God warns us again and again about liars. Sadly many just don’t pay attention or they don’t believe Him, and of course yet another path to Broadway.



“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. Of course this claim by the Creator of the universe is widely disputed among false religions, and even many so called Christian college professors; thus this disputed truth has been responsible for more people wondering onto Broadway than almost any other lie promoted by Satan.



Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14. Here Jesus drives home a fact. “Few” is His word when referring to just how many will eventually follow Him. The Greek word “oligos” can be translated as: little, small, few, or slight. In other words we’re looking at a Greek word which, when used in the above context, represents a very slight numerical value. God is telling us in no uncertain terms that huge multitudes of folks will find Broadway much more advantageous than to accept the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just who are these people? Well, some of them you know. Some may even be related to you.



I don’t know about the rest of you but when I read God’s word about how few enter in through the narrow way (Jesus Christ) vs. the many that will go through the broad way (the path that leads to Hell) it’s not only sad but depressing. But imagine how our Creator God must feel when even one of His creation rejects His Son? God offers all of humanity a free gift of salvation, yet He tells us that Broadway will be packed. What a sad commentary as we see multitudes upon multitudes of deceived folks looking to Broadway (Hell) for their eternal future.



God knows something none of the rest of us can ever know. He, being outside of the restraints of time and space, has a unique advantage over us. He can see the beginning of all things as well as the end of all things simultaneously. This unique advantage allows Him to make statements such as “few there be that find it” (that is the narrow way – Jesus Christ), and “broad is the way that leads to destruction” (Satan’s way – Hell). God knew, even before He created the universe, who would believe in and follow His only begotten Son, and who would take the Broadway turnoff. This in no way diminishes our responsibility to choose for ourselves which path to take.



Yep, Broadway is a turnoff in more ways than one. It means going against the truth. It’s a deliberate choice that folks make to stand in complete rebellion against their Creator. The lies which the enemy supplies to all humanity are damning and he knows it. Satan cannot see the beginning from the end and thus all he can do is work day and night to corrupt God’s creation. Satan is a very powerful and intelligent supernatural being but he can’t hold a candle to God; as hard as the enemy tries to usurp God, God never loses control. But He, being the loving gracious God He is, will never force anyone to avoid Broadway. He gives us direction through His word and has placed the Holy Spirit on earth to guide us to Jesus Christ, but the final choice to follow Christ or to jump “the Broadway train” is entirely our domain.



Jesus gave us those verses in Matthew 7 as a warning to all who wish to occupy eternity with Him. He’s telling us that there will be much obstruction ahead (that’s another commentary), but the simple way will be the Broad way. The narrow way, which is only through Jesus Christ, leads to life, “and few there be that find it”.



Should we think that the more the lost see Christians being persecuted for their faith the better Broadway will look to them? Not hardly. Foxe’s “Book of Martyrs” tells of millions of early Christians being persecuted and executed, but they remained steadfast in their faith. He describes many scenes of Christians as they are being eaten by beast or burned at the stake all the while their faces resembled angels. It was as though they were looking at Jesus and He had given them a peace to endure the pain. These martyrs, by holding fast to their faith, are prime examples of how the Church, though hugely persecuted, grew to the size it is today.



The lies which permeate our current Christian culture are, on many occasions, voiced by those who over the years have gained our trust. During the dark times of persecution which are surely coming what can we expect from these fearless leaders? A new mantra of political correctness. The old adage “if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen” is changing. Many of our Christian leaders today simply turn down the heat (water down the word of God). Christianity is currently perceived as politically incorrect; therefore many Christian leaders are simply falling in line with what society wants. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4. And what will those itching ears, and fables get them? Broadway.



Salvation through Jesus Christ alone is becoming more and more unpopular. The Muslims hate us for what we preach, and yes I mean all Muslims. There is no such thing as a moderate Muslim. They wish to inculcate Sharia Law across the globe and here in America the religion of Islam is spreading like wildfire. One main obstruction to their achieving their goal is Christianity; it must be eliminated so they can proceed with their agenda. Oh, and by the way, Islam and it’s 1.5 billion adherents – Broadway!!



Broadway is Satan’s undisputed path. Is it easy? Is it comfortable? Is it fun? Some may think so, but it’s actually deadly and Satan knows it. Satan hates humans, he even hates those who openly worship him as their god. It is not in his character to be benevolent. He is determined to lead and guide, through whatever deception seems to fly, as many people as he can down – to Broadway.



Jesus admonishes us to enter through the straight gate and narrow way which at this point in time obviously remains open. If this were not the case He would have shut the door and taken us home by now. Consequently there must still be time and room for anyone who chooses Him, albeit precious little time remaining.



Therefore we, as His followers, still have work to do. We are to hold fast to the faith ‘til He comes. We are to spread the good news of His Gospel to the world. We are to make disciples of all nations. And we are to do all this no matter how much persecution comes our way.



Question: Is the straight gate and the narrow way the only path to Heaven? Give that some real thought before you answer. Are there other roads that lead to the Father? If you believe, as many do, that there are many roads that lead to Heaven then you’ve just called Jesus Christ a liar and your future is secure – On Broadway.



May God bless and change lives,



Ron Graham

twotug@embarqmai.com

All scripture is from the KJV