Tag Archive: spirit


Righteousness by The Flesh?

Many believers, in an attempt to draw closer to God, have turned to ‘keeping Torah’ (Old Testament Law) and are following the Hebrew Roots movement.  But this is not pleasing to God.  Keeping The Law is, and always has been, a work of the flesh.

To go back to keeping the letter of The Law, rather than being led by the SPIRIT of The Law, shows a lack of understanding.  (But I do not say this in condemnation–the subject CAN be confusing.)

We are plainly told that we are delivered from The Law . . . specifically, the LETTER of The Law.

‘For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not [in] the oldness of the letter.’  (Romans 7:5-6)

 

Sadly, and ironically, living by The Law INCREASES a person’s separation from God, because where The Law is, sin increases.

‘What shall we say then? [Is] the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.  But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence.

For without the law sin [was] dead.  For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.  And the commandment, which [was ordained] to life, I found [to be] unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew [me].’  (Romans 7:7-11)

 

God’s ways are higher than our ways.  The way He works is often a mystery to us.  One might reason that The Law was given so that men would be obedient.  But men who are spiritually dead, who are under the Law of Sin and Death, are unable to walk in perfect obedience.  In fact, the reason that God gave The Law to men is perplexing to human reasoning:

‘Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.’  (Romans 5:20-21)

‘[Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.  But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.’  (Galatians 3:21-22)

When the Law came, men became worse!  Sin was strengthened and sin abounded.  But this was in order that our salvation could be by FAITH, and not by works.  If we could have walked in perfect obedience, salvation would not have been a gift, by God’s grace, but rather the just compensation for our works.  By the way that God chose, He is glorified and His righteous, longsuffering, merciful, gracious character is revealed.

So, should we dismiss The Law as being useless?  By no means!

‘But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.’  (Galatians 3:23-25)

‘ . . . I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.’  (Romans 7:7)

The Law gives us a picture of what righteousness should look like.  It also shows us that, while we are still under the Law of Sin and Death, we are unable to walk in perfect obedience and righteousness.  It makes us realize our need for a savior . . . and our need for God’s help.

There is another aspect to this situation that must be discussed.  Those who have turned to ‘keeping Torah’ have often done it as a reaction to the false gospel and false doctrines that have taken over mainstream ‘Christianity’:

‘Just believe in Jesus and say this Sinner’s Prayer’ (no mention of repentance) . . . ‘Once you are Saved you are Always Saved’ (OSAS) . . . you can live as you please because you have ‘liberty in Christ’ and ‘we are only sinners saved by grace–we sin daily in word, thought, and deed’ . . . etc.

Not everybody is fooled by this hogwash.  But not everyone is grounded in God’s word either, so they have jumped from the frying pan into the fire, so to speak.

Those who have turned to ‘keeping Torah’ are not completely wrong.  They are far closer to the truth than mainstream ‘Christianity’.  HOWEVER . . . they have gone a little too far.

Jesus DOES tell us to keep The Commandments:

‘ . . .  if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’  (Matt. 19:17; also John 14:15, 15:10)

And Revelation tells us that in The Tribulation ‘the saints’ will keep God’s Commandments:

‘Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’  (Rev. 14:12 and 12:17)

The distinction is this:  there is a difference between The Law and The Commandments.  We ARE to keep The Commandments, but we are NOT to focus on the letter of The Law.

  • The Law contains 613 restrictions and commandments, including a dietary code.  The Commandments are ten.
  • The Law was written down by Moses, on scrolls.  The Commandments were written by God, in stone.
  • The Law was kept in the SIDE of the Ark of the Covenant.  The Commandments were placed under the Mercy Seat, INSIDE the Ark of the Covenant.

Furthermore, our keeping of The Commandments is not to be our FOCUS, but will be the RESULT of being led of the Spirit, once we are born again.  The Holy Spirit which is placed inside each Christian, is the (same) SPIRIT of The Law.  The Spirit leads us to keep the spirit/intent of The Law, and to DO IT WITH THE RIGHT MOTIVES.

Keeping the letter of The Law leads to death, but the Spirit leads us in the way of life.

‘Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.’  (2 Cor. 3:6)

The Holy Spirit is NOT leading people to keep the LETTER of The Law, because that would be in contradiction to what is written in God’s word.

Therefore, there is no way around it: those who are ‘keeping Torah’ are NOT being led of the Holy Spirit.  They are walking in the flesh.  Romans 8:1 applies to them, in reverse:

‘[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.’  (Romans 8:1-2)

Those who are keeping Torah are NOT walking after the Spirit, but are walking after the flesh.  They ARE under condemnation, and they have submitted themselves again to the Law of Sin and Death.

‘For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.’  (Romans 8:3-5)

Those who are ‘keeping Torah’ have their attention occupied with walking in the letter of The Law–all 613 requirements of it.  And they cannot keep it.  Nor will the Holy Spirit HELP them to keep it.  They are walking in the flesh.  Hopefully, in time, they will realize the miserable condition they have fallen into, and their need for a savior.

Ironically, those who are walking in the Spirit, who ARE focusing on loving God and loving their neighbor, ARE keeping the spirit and intent of The Law, and are not under condemnation.

‘So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.

Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.’  (Romans 8:8-14)

If YOU have gotten caught up in the Hebrew Roots movement, understand that God sees your heart and knows that you wish to please Him.  But we please Him by walking in the way that HE has ordained, even if it doesn’t make sense to us.

The Scriptures clearly tell us that The Law cannot give us life (Col. 3:21, 2 Cor. 3:6) and that The Law has been done away with (Romans 7:6, Gal. 3:23-25).  YES, we must walk in obedience–but obedience to what?  (The Commandments, not The Law.)  And how?  (By the Spirit, not by the flesh.)

I hope you will prayerfully consider what I have said here, and turn back to a walk of faith and obedience, being led by the Spirit.

I didn’t sleep too well last night, because what I studied in Romans yesterday was starting to come together.  It began with a short dream–a dream where I was indulging my flesh, and enjoying pleasant feelings.  From there, the Holy Spirit lead me on a trail of understanding, bringing different scriptures to my remembrance.  Here is how it went.

Our physical bodies are under ‘the Law of Sin and Death’  (Romans 8:2).  What this law is, is not clearly defined in Scripture.  However, from what the Bible teaches, I think it can be summarized thus:  we are born with a ‘sin nature’ or ‘sin tendency’ in our physical body.  If we allow ourselves to decide how we will behave based on what our BODY tells us would be best (through its cravings, passions, and desires), it will automatically lead us into sin.  This sin brings forth death.  Our bodies are programmed to sin and die.  (This is a result of Adam’s willful sin.)

From the time of Adam and Eve, people have sinned.  But sin was not laid to people’s account until The Law was instituted.  The Law is holy and right, and instructs us as to what is pleasing and acceptable to God, and what is not.  The Law makes us aware of our sinfulness, and the need to ask forgiveness of God and choose to walk on the right path.  However, the Law also has another effect: it increases sin (Rom. 5:20, 7:8; 1 Cor. 15:56)  For some reason, when the Law is present, sin is empowered.  (I don’t understand this completely yet.  It may be because sin is rooted in rebellion.)

However, where sin abounded grace did much more abound.  God Himself (Jesus) came, in sin-prone human flesh, to defeat sin and set us free from the Law of Sin and Death (Romans 8:2-3).  Because of His acceptable sacrifice, the Father has pardoned our past sins.  Because of His death, He REDEEMED us–bought us–from our master (sin), that we might now become HIS servants.

Man is not born a sinner–but he IS born a POTENTIAL sinner . . . a human being in a fleshly body that operates under the Law of Sin and Death.  And all of us have inherited bodies that die–this as the result of Adam’s sin.  When WE sin, we die spiritually.  When WE sin, we become slaves to sin, and sin becomes our master.  When WE sin, we are cut off from our spiritual inheritance in the Kingdom of God.  In this condition, there is NO WAY that we can ever rise above, or master sin.  Being spiritually dead, it follows that the only life in us is our CARNAL, fleshly life.  We have no other choice in that condition, than to follow the desires of our flesh, which produces rotten fruit and ends in death.

But out of this hopeless situation, God offers us hope through Jesus Christ.  Through REPENTANCE and FAITH in Christ, we are able to be born spiritually of incorruptible seed (1 Peter 1:23).  Through a commitment to die to our old nature . . . to no longer submit to the desires of our flesh . . . and through faith in Jesus Christ . . . we can be born again, a new and better creation that is not subject to the Law of Sin and Death.  We can indeed then rise above and master sin.

What teaching is being neglected today, for the most part, is that we now have CHOICE.  Every day, in every situation, we must choose which part of us will lead–our living spirit man, led by the Holy Spirit, or the passions and lusts of our physical body.  If our repentance was true, the choice has already been made.

‘Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?’  (Romans 6:16)

If you yield yourself to obey the flesh, you become a servant again to sin, and put yourself back under the Law of Sin and Death.  You will surely die.  What a waste, to have been born again and obtained a new nature, and then to choose to sell yourself as a servant to sin again!

We must now choose to live by the Spirit (in obedience to God’s Commandments and His word).  We  must RECKON (count) ourselves as dead to sin (Rom. 6:11) . . . we must MORTIFY the deeds of the body (Rom. 8:13, Col. 3:5).  We must set our affections on things above, not things on the Earth (Col. 3:2) . . . and count ourselves alive unto God (Rom. 6:11).  We must make choices that honor God and nourish our spirit man.  There will always be a struggle, as long as our new spirit man is bound inside a fleshly body (as Romans 7:7-25 explains).  But God has given us ALL things necessary for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), and has placed His Spirit inside us, to teach us and empower us to have mastery over our flesh.

Romans 8:1-13 outlines the choice . . . what are the consequences of living according to the flesh, and what are the consequences of living according to the Spirit.  We must understand: ANYONE (regardless of whether or not they profess faith in Jesus Christ) who lives by the flesh is under the Law of Sin and Death.  But we, who are dead to sin and alive in Christ, must not live in sin any longer.  Romans 6 explains this more fully.

I hope this note has been helpful, and that you will take the time to read Romans chapters 6-8 and, hopefully, have a clearer understanding of what Paul is saying.

‘If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.’  (Col. 3:1-3)

I need to be honest–I have so immersed myself in endtimes prophecies and current events that I’m battling a spirit of fear.  Fear can come from within–it is instinctive–or from outside of us.  The enemy uses a spirit of fear to fight against us.  I am telling you, not because I have been overcome, but so that you know I am just like you!

I am not superhuman, superspiritual, or whatever!  I am not always fearless and bold! I have strength, when I draw close to God and draw my strength from Him. HE gives me boldness and strength.  He will do the same for you.  Fight the fear and draw close to God!  Do not shrink back, do not let fear overcome you.

Remember the old saying ‘give him an inch and he’ll take a mile’?  This is very true with the powers of darkness.  If you retreat, they will be emboldened to advance even further.  You have to hold them off–and even better–advance on them!  When you move forward, in God’s will, He will strengthen and empower you. He has been waiting a very long time to see most of us stand up and fight.

There is no better way to victory than to draw out your spiritual sword and do battle with the evil spirits that come against you and your family.  You don’t fight against flesh and blood–but against the spiritual powers of darkness.

You may be content to ‘hold them off at the gate’ of your mind, or your physical property–but do you think they’ll stop there?  Do you want to be hunkered down, peeking out to see if they are still there, waiting for an opportunity to come back?  I say no!! Fight beyond your gates to create a ‘buffer zone’.  Send the enemy fleeing beyond the boundary you determine, and hold onto what you have conquered!

Spiritually, we have lost America.  We have been driven back to our churches, where many are hunkered down, hoping the enemy won’t come any further.  Look behind you!  While you are peeking out the windows at the evil forces outside, evil spirits have already infiltrated your congregation!

There are four boundaries you need to endeavor to  win back–in this order:

  1. Your mind and body
  2. Your family’s minds and bodies
  3. Your home
  4. Your church
  5. Your community (small town or neighborhood)

You continue advancing outwards as you gain ground.  But you have to be sure you are thoroughly purging the forces of evil as you go.  Liken it to the way that God told the Israelites to totally give over to destruction the towns they were invading.  They were to not leave alive man or beast, and then they were to destroy the buildings and bodies with fire.

Hear me–I am not saying to fight against men, or to fight in the physical realm!  What we see in the actions of the children of Israel was in the physical realm, but what was happening in the spiritual realm was more significant.

The Israelites were purging the land of evil spirits–and they didn’t even know it!  This is why it was SO important not to leave alive a single man or beast, whom the evil spirits could enter into, and why they were not to leave a single building that the spirits could haunt.  They were to leave them no place to go, so that they would flee the land!  (As you know, you can’t kill demonic spirits.  You have to remove what they need to live, so that they will flee!)

I’ll be honest, until this moment I have believed, because of my faith in God’s righteousness and goodness, that what God told the Israelites to do was right and He had a reason–but it seemed very harsh to me.  We are talking about genocide.  But as I am writing this, He has opened my eyes to understand why.  I had never seen it as a spiritual battle before.  Now it makes perfect sense!

The Bible could simply have summarized to say that the Israelites completely destroyed the people they conquered, or something to that effect.  But instead, it was shown, town by town and stressed again and again.  And it was duly noted when the Israelites failed to do as God had directed.  This is because God wanted us to understand the importance of this!

I think most of us do realize it was very important, even if we haven’t completely understood why.  And I’m ashamed to say, I guess I just concluded that these were people God wanted to eliminate from the face of the Earth.  I understand now that God was not eternally against these people (although He was bringing  judgment upon them), but against the evil entities that they had given place to.  Their lands had become a ‘hot spot’ of demonic activity and God wished to scatter those spirits (as He scattered the people at Babel, because of what they intended to do).

I also want to point out, that after the Israelites had killed the people, the disembodied spirits could just as well have entered into them–if they had given them an opening, through sin in their life!!  God did not begin revealing about spiritual warfare to His people until Jesus came.  The only way that the Israelites could be safe when fighting the spiritual forces of darkness, was to live lives of purity, and to have God present in their midst.

Do you see now?  Just as we train up our children, God told them WHAT to do (and was very strict about it), but He didn’t try to explain WHY, because they would not have understood.  This is also why He was quick to purge those who were sinful and rebellious from amongst the midst of the Israelites (which had also seemed a tad bit extreme to me before).

This is a picture of how we must fight now!  We must live lives of purity and have the power of the Holy Spirit within us.  Then, as God directs, we must advance upon, and scatter, the spiritual forces of evil.  (He is NOT calling us to fight against  people, but rather the unseen forces behind them.)  When we do this, He will empower and protect us.

It is time to enter the battle!  Purge the evil from your own life and mind, then lead your family in doing likewise.  Then, do what you can in your church–if your church isn’t interested in being pure  and living righteously–leave it!

Then, contend for your town.  (I may be wrong, or just missing the point–but I like peace and safety.)  The country is lost.  The states are lost.  But, it may be possible to ‘win back’ a few towns and communities from the enemy, if we try.

Pray for your town’s leaders. Vote for righteous men and women.  Clean up your town of filth and depravity (do battle in the spiritual realm before attempting to confront or convince people).  Battle the spiritual forces of wickedness, and pray that God will create a safe haven for you and your family.

If, after all you’ve done, only your home is free of the demonic–then thank God for that, and remain vigilant.  But how much better it will be if we have some towns and communities that are oases, free of demonic oppression, in the days ahead!!

One other point:  I hear some talk about ‘the remnant’, almost as if the people who form the remnant are superior to other Christians.  Don’t fall into that trap of pride!!  No one is a remnant yet–we are all Christians just now waking up and beginning to learn the truth from deception.

Unfortunately, as the truth is presented to them, some people are choosing not to love the truth, and God will send them a powerful delusion to believe instead.  This is what is called ‘the great rebellion’, ‘the great apostasy’, ‘the great falling away’.  The love (of righteousness, of truth, of God) of many will grow cold.  Many will turn away.  After that, the  backslidden/apostate Christians will begin to persecute and hate the remnant that were faithful to the truth*.

When the persecution begins–then the ones who hold to the truth can be called ‘the remnant’.  To do so now is to risk ‘writing off’ people who may or may not be Christians now, but who are being misled and deceived by false doctrines–for whom there may yet be hope of repentance!!


*Don’t be surprised if, in those days, a ‘Christian’ president is elected and (apostate ) ‘Christians’ form a majority in Congress.  With great pride, patriotism and zeal they would fight the unrighteous (who have been in power) and the ‘fanatics’/’religious zealots’ (the remnant that hold to the truth).

The ‘false prophet’ will be

  • a false religion that appears Christian (much of this is already in the church),
  • and promotes the ‘beast’ empire (the beast is not a man)

[The beast (empire) will rule over the nations of the world.  This may not be really obvious. It may be a lot like America does today, through occupation, military bases,  and taking authority over countries by various means (regime change, sanctions, and other means of control).  The beast (empire) will have final say, and will punish those nations that don’t fall in line.]

It is this false prophet/false church that will create the image of the empire that is to be worshipped (through intense patriotism), and whose mark is required to participate in buying and selling in the global marketplace.

Don’t be surprised that it would be ‘Christians’ that persecute ‘the remnant’–after all, it was the Jews that killed Jesus!  There is no more formidable adversary than one who is deceived into thinking that they hold the truth of God and are fighting on His behalf.

Lest you think the same of the remnant, remember this:  the remnant, those who do have the truth of God, fight spiritually but the deceived will fight in the physical realm–by putting to death their ‘enemies’.

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