Instructing God in righteousness…

The other day my wife, Kelly Clayton Rambo, showed me a meme that was on her Facebook page. I read it and immediately stated the corollary back to her…

“Righteousness, even if contrary to the traditions of men, is still righteousness, regardless of what everyone else thinks!”

While I have no idea who Russell M Nelson, the assumed author of the quote at left, is, I do know the quote is true. Scripture says so in multiple ways, but the most significant is,

Whatsoever thing I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add to it nor take away from it.

Deut. 12:32

See? The two initial statements above, Nelson’s and mine, state in part the same truth. Let’s look at them in a little more detail.

“Sin, even if legalized by man, is still sin…” Man can’t change God’s Law by ignoring, overwriting, legislating or even erasing it. His Law is eternal and unchanging. To paraphrase God about some of His prophecies, ‘If you can make the sun stop coming up, or the sea cease to rush to shore, then you may be able to change the Torah.’ Murder is still murder, regardless of what the general populace believes, the government legalizes or how many copies of the Bible you burn. Murder (or, insert any other action condemned by God) is sin. Period.

The corollary for this is also true. Righteousness is righteousness, even if you don’t like it. Maybe people who keep the Feasts of the Lord, something He commands on multiple occasions, rankle you. Maybe it really irritates you that they choose to ignore, or even point out the verifiable pagan roots of some holidays. So? Keeping them is still righteousness, whether you like it or not. Same for Shabbat. Same for God’s everlasting dietary restrictions in Leviticus 11.

What is particularly interesting is when ‘believers’ don’t like a fellow follower of the Word because that follower actually does or believes what the Word clearly teaches. Imagine: someone studies the Word and sees that going to Jerusalem for the feasts is a commandment and begins to actually keep it while others, who may not understand or be convicted of that commandment, tear them down or separate from them. Does that action in any way undermine or change God’s commandment? No, it just exposes the sin and rebellion in the heart of the divisive.

How about a believer who separates from another because believing what the Bible says about a matter is ‘bad for public perception or public relations.’ Division and shunning is better than truth? Really? Pray tell what you think the Father’s opinion is of that course of action. I don’t see a single example of righteous men suppressing truth that ended well. In fact, the righteous in Scripture, prophets, apostles and the Messiah Himself, were willing to die for the hard truths, traditions and customs of men be damned.

Bottom-line: Sin is sin only if God says that it is sin. Righteousness is defined by Scripture, therefore, if Scripture calls something righteous, then we can’t call it otherwise. And, if God never calls something ‘unrighteous’ then we can’t either.

This really is simple stuff, yet people get wrapped around the axle. Do Bible stuff in Bible ways. Everything else is just religion and ‘religion’ is man-made rules for self-righteousness which, if based on man’s self made rules, is, by definition, sin!

So, do we instruct God in righteousness, or does He, the Lawgiver and Judge instruct us?

Meditate.

Denominations, by definition, will fail

shatteredWhile some may think the following thought is aimed primarily at my brothers in the church, I would offer that most Messianic and Hebrew roots believers have never left a denominational mindset…  Please read on.

Jn 17:20-23 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:  I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

‘Denomination’  is rooted in ‘division,’ as in, ‘denominator.’  Denominations define themselves against each other based on minor differences of understanding or belief, often rooted in the teachings of a single man.  Think: Calvin, Wesley, Arminius, etc.

American/Western business mindset has taken the whole process a step further to take the ‘church as business’ model and craft further special ways to add value to their ‘name brand’ and thus attract more members/followers to increase offerings to pay for the new building project.  Continue reading “Denominations, by definition, will fail”

Paradigm shift: BE the Kingdom v. TO the Kingdom

Recently, Al McCarn and I have been road-less-traveledhaving a really good running conversation discussing some changing thoughts on the nature of the Millennial Kingdom.  As we continue to study and grow, we continue to re-evaluate the traditions we inherited from our fathers and try to bring them more into line with Scripture.  I will reserve the Millennial discussion for another day because it will be quite long and I have more to sort out.  Suffice it to say that I am experiencing another paradigm shift…

In our most recent exchange, Al said something very profound that immediately brought clarity to that portion of our conversation.  He said,

All this time we [Christendom] have focused entirely on getting to the Kingdom.  If this is so, then our focus should be on how to BE the Kingdom.  It’s the greatest paradigm shift of all.

(brackets and emphasis mine)

Wow! That is a mouthful and enough of a thought to make one’s head explode.  I think back over decades of living in Christendom and the last six years as a Torah-keeping believer in Yeshua and I can tell you, the statement rings true!!

In general there has always been a focus on head knowledge Continue reading “Paradigm shift: BE the Kingdom v. TO the Kingdom”

When division = growth…

Much has been said lately within the Messianic community of our need for unity and the need to learn to walk at peace with brothers who may not see eye to eye on non-essential issues.  We’ve written a couple times on this topic, including Learning to Color Within the Lines and Shooting Ourselves in the Foot.  Clearly, the usual thoughts on ‘division’ are contrary to ‘unity.’

Another topic recently broached is the need for the Messianic community to study and further understand home fellowships as a model for growth and community building, particularly as it seems that persecution is on the horizon.

One article I wrote on the topic, Church as We Know it is Over, presents the thought and promised some continuing articles.  As I have further pondered the topic this week, I have to admit that my thoughts have remained in an area that in my mind does not seem to be the most important part, yet I am compelled to explore it….  Continue reading “When division = growth…”

How to Divide a Family… A Thought.

Recently, I happened across a Bethany Christian Services magazine and was reading a couple articles about adoption, and no, that is not something we are considering at this time.  But, a point in one of the articles prompted some thought about family unity and division.

IMG_1112A short conversation this morning in the comments section of another blog connected the thoughts to the One Law v. Two Law debates/discussions I have had before!

A much debated subject in the Messianic movement is whether the Torah is just for the Jews, or is it the revelation of righteousness for all mankind.  We’ve looked at this topic multiple times from various angles, a list of links below, but here is another thought:  ‘How to Divide a Family…’  Simple, have different standards and rewards for the adopted children as you have for the natural born.

Seriously, think about it!  If you had a child and then you adopted another child, would it not cause bitterness, anger, jealousy, resentment and myriad other sins if you treated the two radically differently in terms of rules and expectations? Continue reading “How to Divide a Family… A Thought.”