Whether on social media or in person, discussing one’s religious beliefs is often a passionate, heart felt, and worthy topic.
Naturally, if folks are unwilling to set aside what they were told a particular verse of Scripture means as well as unwilling to surrender their own Western mindset, then no amount of discussion, articles and videos I or anyone else post on social media will help one come into a more accurate understanding. Even so, in order to come into any spiritual truth, it truly is a work of the heart crafted by the Holy Spirit.
Allowing Scripture to define terminology used in Scripture, reading it within context, understanding the author and audience while not reading into text what we want it to say versus what it is actually saying is certainly an issue plaguing us today.
For me, I have found it fascinating to see believers believe they don’t need to believe in the word of the God they believe in. The irony! Much of the confusion comes in due to the Apostle Paul, a lawful, Jewish Pharisee’s peculiar writings, which he and other apostles forewarn are difficult to understand (Romans 7:1; 2 Peter 3:14-18).
Throughout many of Paul’s writings he compares the law of sin and death, which is the consequence of breaking God’s laws versus having the Spirit of Holiness, whose purpose is to remind us and cause us to want to obey the law of God (Ezekiel 36:27), that which is holy (Romans 7:12) – not as a means to salvation, but as a means to sanctification. First comes the seed, then comes the fruit. The seed is faith in Yeshua…the seed is the Holy Spirit. What grows from there is the work of that Spirit of Holiness in faith.
**This is important: The desire to obey comes from a pure and secure place full of love for God and His obedient Son, who was so obedient to His Father’s Torah, He died for us, versus a heart motivated by fear or guilt/condemnation trying to secure their salvation .**
In fact, the laws written down later coined as the Mosaic Covenant were given, taught, and encouraged BECAUSE of God’s grace..Because He redeemed them from Egypt…Because of the relationship between God and His people, God provided instructions to avoid going back into bondage AGAIN, back into a culture of sin. Notice the similarities of being set free, having to cross over through a body of water, being cleansed of their former identity as slaves to sin, slaves to Egypt. They were set apart from Egypt and those wanting to bring them back into captivity (not by coincidence the same theme manifests with the tribes of Israel hundreds of years later due to the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities). While in their wilderness journey, which took 40 years due to the Israelites’ ongoing ignorance and rebellion, many never reached the Promised Land. God even provided numerous tangible tools to help as reminders so they would keep His commands by having them create the tzit tzit ( tassels from their garments – see Numbers 15:37-41), celebrate the Passover feast, and adhere to the sacrificial system, etc.
Thousands of years later, God is doing the same thing- giving us His Spirit to help us remember Him and His commands, His love for us, His grace for us, His desire to bless us and dwell with us, as well as tangible reminders like Passover, which some call communion (see Luke 22), as we sojourn our very own wilderness journeys before reaching the Promised Land. Such gifts are to remind us NOT TO GO BACK TO PROVERBIAL EGYPT, a culture, a lifestyle of sin/lawlessness.
May we allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate hearts willing and ready to let go of our idols, our Egypts, and our man-made traditions, while we sojourn this life.
The Spirit cries out,
“Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me (respect Me) and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with with them and with their children forever!” Deuteronomy 5:29
“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.'” Matthew 5:18
Abba Father has always been after our rebellious, stubborn hearts. ❤ Blessings & Shalom.
Carrie R. Turner, 6/19/19 – updated 9/30/19