RSS

Tag Archives: rules

Weak vs. Strong Faith

Weak vs. Strong Faith

We’re continuing to look at the example of Abraham.  He’s Paul’s illustration of how we should walk in faith.

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Romans 4:18

This is one of those amazing verses in the Scripture.  To fully grasp it, we need to understand what the meaning of hope is in the Bible.

When we use the word, hope, it usually means that we’re wishing for something good to happen.  “I hope I win the lottery.”

That’s not what this word means in the context of Scripture.  It actually means to look forward to with expectation.  “I place my hope in the fact that the sun will come up tomorrow.”

With this knowledge, we can see how Abraham operated.  He was in a situation where, logically, there was nothing to expect.  Yet, by placing his faith in God’s Word, he fully expected to have a multitude of offspring.

Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead — since he was about a hundred years old — and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.

Romans 4:19

This is the tough part.  I talked about not walking in denial in my last post.  That’s the key to this kind of faith.

The verse literally says that Abraham fully observed the facts of his situation.  He was almost 100 years old and considered himself already dead.  He understood that under no circumstances could his wife, Sarah, have any children.

As a matter of fact, he had already picked out an heir for his estate.  He chose one of his most trusted servants (Genesis 15:2-3).

What amazes me is that even though he had all of these facts before him, he didn’t weaken his faith.  But that brings up an interesting question.  He already had an heir picked out that was not in his family.  How can you say that he didn’t weaken his faith?

We need to understand exactly what is meant by weak faith.  There’s a clear verse about it.

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.  One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.

Romans 14:1-2

What is weak faith?  It means that you don’t trust God to complete His work in you.  You feel that you have to establish rules to follow so that you won’t accidentally sin.  Weak faith has the idea that if I follow these rules, then I’ll please God and receive His blessing.

Abraham picked out an heir without weakening his faith.  That tells me that I do what I need to do as if nothing special will happen.  But, at the same time, I fully expect the Lord to intervene on my behalf.

I can see my doctor, take my pills, and pay my bills.  At the same time I trust God for my health and provision.

Some people think that they’re operating in faith by never seeing a doctor.  It’s actually a sign of weak faith because they can’t trust God to manage what the doctor might tell them.

Weak faith has to set rules and boundaries so that we can deny any problems.  Strong faith can look straight at the problems and trust God for the solution.

Question: What are you facing right now that requires faith in God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 1, 2021 in Faith, God's Provision, Healing, Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Gift of Righteousness

The Gift of Righteousness

As we continue through the book of Romans, we’ve seen the frustration of trying to be righteous by following a set of religious rules.  It should be clear that our own self-righteousness is not enough to please God.

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

Romans 3:21

This verse makes it clear that it cannot be by my works.  It’s apart, separate from the law.  This means that I have to access the power of God in order to live righteously.  Anything else is trying to put the cart before the horse.  If my goal is to live righteously in order to walk in the power of God, then I’ve chosen a path of weakness and frustration.

And yet, so many people are trying to walk this very way.  The Bible is clear on the outcome.  So let me ask, what if I try to obtain righteousness through obedience to the law?  What if I try my hardest to live up to what I’m told is right?

I can read my Bible daily, go to church on time every week, pray every day, and tithe.  On top of that, I can make sure that I don’t lie, cheat, steal, walk in anger, gossip, or envy.  What’s wrong with trying to live up to a godly standard with my own strength?

The problem is that self-righteousness will never gain access to the blessings found only in Christ.  For that, I’ll need a righteousness that’s far greater than I could ever accomplish on my own.  It could only be provided by God Himself.

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Romans 3:22-24

The righteousness that pleases the Lord can only be obtained by faith.  I know that this goes against what many people assume.  They think that pleasing God is a hard, back-breaking burden.  On the contrary, it’s something that God wants to bestow upon you freely.

The second sentence of this passage is very important.  I know that we only like to quote the middle of it.  In its entirety, it shows us a beautiful picture of God’s grace.

Paul is referring to what he talked about in the two previous chapters of Romans.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re an ungodly sinner or a highly religious person.  Through faith in Jesus Christ you can access this grace and receive His free work of justification.

This passage of Scripture makes it very plain.  All of the sin in your past doesn’t make you too far away from this grace.  In the same way, all of your religious works doesn’t put you any closer.  We all start at the same level.  We fall short of God’s glory.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

Ephesians 1:7-8

If I want a righteousness that grants me access to God’s presence, it’s only found one way.  I can’t earn it or work hard enough to achieve it.  I must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, be found in Him.

This is the only path to true righteousness.  It was God’s desire, in His great wisdom, to make it as easy as possible for mankind to be saved.

Question: Why do we find it so hard to accept God’s free gift of righteousness?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 7, 2020 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Law’s Purpose

The Law’s Purpose

We’re continuing Paul’s discussion of religious people in the book of Romans.  We’ve seen that even though they have the advantage of access to the Bible, they’re actually no better off than anyone else.

Now the apostle is concluding this subject.  He is about to give us the bottom line of the religious lifestyle without a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.

Romans 3:19

Paul is clear.  The law can only speak to those who choose to be under it.  If you choose to be under a set of religious rules, then it’s those very rules that will judge you.

What we need to understand is that God is not judging you.  It’s your own legalism that judges.

God has allowed this for a very special purpose.  He’s hoping that it will draw you to the freedom that’s only found in Christ.

The judgment of the law does two things.  First of all, it silences everyone.  Actually, the phrase, be silenced, literally means to be fenced in or blocked on every side.  Taken to its fullest measure, the law leaves no room for the excuses or justification that we like to give ourselves.

When confronted by our mistakes we usually start becoming defensive.  We give all the reasons why what we did was right at the time.  Unfortunately, the law is a cruel and heartless master.  It allows no way out.

The other part of the law is translated as held accountable, in the above verse.  That means to be already sentenced and under a “guilty” verdict.

With the law there is no appeals process.  As soon as you sin, you’re pronounced guilty.  No need for a trial – the law is supreme.

Why would anyone want to live in that type of environment?  Yet, there are many who do – both saved and unsaved.

Paul concludes this section with the only reason for the existence of the law.

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

Romans 3:20

If you’re living under a set of religious rules hoping to prove to God how good you are, then I feel very sorry for you.  You’re destined for failure.

The law makes us conscious of what sin is.  Then, once we know about it, we’re responsible for the consequences of our failures.

The only purpose of the law is to prove to us just how impossible it is to please God by our own efforts.  It’s actually only the first step in a path toward salvation.

All of what’s written in the above post may sound pretty depressing.  It is…without the freedom and victory found only in the name of Jesus Christ.

From here on in the book of Roman’s, Paul will lay out for us the road to this freedom.  Don’t miss it.  Don’t stay stuck in the mire of legalism.  Lay hold of the life of freedom that the Lord purchased for you on the cross.

If you don’t yet subscribe to this blog, you may want to, so that you don’t miss this ongoing study.

Question: How have you been hurt by legalism?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 4, 2020 in Legalism, Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Rules vs. Spirit

Rules vs. Spirit

In my last post we started to see that legalism is really a form of hypocrisy.  We’ll never be able to follow a set of rules, even if we’re the ones who came up with them.

Now Paul continues by talking about those who follow God without even knowing the rules.

Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised.  If those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised?  The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.

Romans 2:25-27

Paul uses circumcision as a picture of following a law.  That’s because it was the outward sign of the covenant for the Jews.  No God-fearing Jew would ever let their infant go without being circumcised.

The problem is that you can have the sign of the covenant without obeying the terms of the covenant.

A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.  No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

Romans 2:28-29

It’s not enough to only deal with the outward.  Our outside will never permanently change unless we have a change of heart. The problem is that our heart itself is very deceptive. We can’t always trust what we’re feeling.

That’s why true change can never be imposed upon us from the outside, by the written code. It must come from the inside, by the power of the spirit. Isn’t it great to know that your spirit can change your heart?

It’s important to know that, right from the start, Paul explains that change is by the Spirit and not by following rules.  Even something like circumcision, which was a part of God’s law to the Jews, has no power to bring about change.

In this letter to the Romans, Paul is bringing us to the realization that we can only serve God acceptably through the spirit.  It’s something that’s consistent through all his writings.

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Galatians 5:16

Understanding the power of prayer in the spirit should give us insight into what this verse is actually saying. Many times, when people quote this verse, they’re using it as a weapon.

I’ve heard people say things like, “Look at how that person lives, and they call themselves a Christian. They’re walking in their flesh so they must not have the Holy Spirit in them. They can’t really be saved.”

This isn’t a verse that Paul gave us to test whether a person is saved or not. This is a passage of Scripture to tell us how to receive the power we need to walk in victory over the flesh. The only way you’ll have the power you need to not gratify the flesh, is to live your life in the spirit.

You cannot do it by exercising the will power of your soul, or even disciplining your body. This means that you spend time praying in the spirit, communing with God in the realm of the spirit. That’s where we access the power to overcome the desires of the flesh.

It’s never about following rules.  It’s always about submitting to the Holy Spirit.

Question: Why is it impossible for us to simply follow a set of rules?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Religion is the Problem

Religion is the Problem

We’re continuing to go through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. As we do so, we’re beginning to understand the problem of religion without a relationship with Christ.

Paul now asks some important questions for those who are self-righteous.

…you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself?  You who preach against stealing, do you steal?  You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?  You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?  You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?

Romans 2:21-23

Remember what I mean by self-righteous religious people.  I’m talking about those who have developed a set of rules that they think makes them better than everyone else.

One of the biggest problems is that these folks have a double standard.  They understand the weakness and imperfection of their own humanity.  So they judge themselves based upon their intentions.  They want to do the right things.

But when it comes to others they have a different way of seeing things.  They’ll judge you based upon what they see you do, regardless of your intentions.

That’s why Paul starts with a question about their desire to teach others.  Do you teach the same standard to yourself that you hold up for others?  Do you sin internally, while publically judging others for the same type of outward sin?

Religion gives the false impression that God grades on a curve.  They think that as long as my good works outweigh my bad works, I’m okay in God’s eyes.  Unfortunately, they forget one simple spiritual truth.

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.  For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.”  If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

James 2:10-11

This is a major principle of the law.  It only takes one sin to makes you a sinner.  You only need to break one law to become a lawbreaker.  That’s why we all need the Savior.

A type of movie that I enjoy watching is the organized crime (mafia) movie.  I find it interesting that many of these crime bosses are deeply religious.  They go to confession and give a great deal of money to their church.

They think that they’re okay.  Their good works outweigh the bad.  Religion lulls them into a false sense of security.

That’s why religion is the problem.  It gives the world a bad view of Jesus Christ and Christianity.

As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

Romans 2:24

The word, blasphemed, means to vilify or speak bad about.  The actual statement Paul makes is that God’s name is vilified through you.

Who is it that’s actually profaning the name of God?  It’s the holier-than-thou religious people that the world is watching.  They say, “These people think they’re better than us simply because they go to church.”

People in the world aren’t stupid.  They see the double standard.  They see the hypocrisy.  It causes them to write off true Christianity.

As much as we’re able, we need to live for Christ according to Scriptural principles.  That’s what Paul is leading up to in this letter.  Be a true follower of Christ in this world.

Question: How do you stay clean from the hypocrisy of religion?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 20, 2020 in Legalism, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Form of Religion

The Form of Religion

In my last post we started looking at Paul’s view of religious people.  We saw that it’s foolish to rest on a set of rules rather than the work of the Holy Spirit.

Paul continues…

…if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth…

Romans 2:19-20

Remember, when talking about religious people, I’m referring to those who choose religion over relationship with Christ.  They’ve convinced themselves about a number of things.

They see their lifestyle as superior to those around them.  They view others as blind, in the dark, mindless, and infantile.  On the other hand they view themselves as a guide, a light, an instructor, and a teacher.

That’s the unfortunate attitude of legalism.  By constantly judging the lives of others, you have a huge blind spot concerning your own walk.

Let me say this to all the godly teachers reading this.  There’s nothing wrong with being called to teach or guide others into the truth.  It’s all about your attitude.

My calling is to be a pastor and teacher in the body of Christ.  But, I’ve learned over the years that there’s a fine line that I have to walk.

My job is to help people to know and understand God’s Word.  I endeavor to show how the Scripture applies to your life.

That’s as far as it goes.  I have to realize that I cannot change anybody’s life.  It’s the job of the Holy Spirit to do that.  If anyone is blessed, it’s because of the Lord working in their life through the Word.

I might be the one you see speaking or writing.  But, I want it to be the Spirit teaching and guiding you.  Like I said, it’s all about the attitude.

However, I think there’s an important point that we miss in the above passage.  It has to do with the words that were used in translation.

When Paul says, you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth, it gives the wrong impression.  The word, embodiment, is actually a word that means a form or appearance.  Following a set of rules only appears to be a logical way to serve God.

Unfortunately, we’re told that it’s not the best way.  In talking about what people would be like in the last days, Paul makes this comment about them.

…having a form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with them.

2 Timothy 3:5

Simply following a set of religious rules is a form without the substance.  These rules are like a jail cell.  Can we say that a car thief has changed just because he’s in jail?  Absolutely not!  It’s just that there are no cars available for him to steal.

It’s the same with a set of rules.  As long as my will-power is intact, it appears that I’ve changed.  However, when opportunity and weakness get the better of me, I show what’s really on the inside.  I need the true change that only comes from the work of the Holy Spirit in me.

Don’t allow empty religion to get the better of you.  Spend some time becoming more intimate with the Lord through His Holy Spirit.

Question: how do you overcome the temptation to be religious?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Are You Like Moses?

The Apostle Paul explained to the early church about the fallacy that obeying the Law of Moses will give you access to the power of God.  In my last post, we looked at this verse…

We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.  But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read.  It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.
2 Corinthians 3:13-14

Paul says that their minds, or literally their perceptions, were made dull, hardened, and callous.  Then he makes a statement that we miss the implications of altogether.  He says that to this day the veil remains when the Old Covenant is read.  IT HAS NOT BEEN REMOVED.

I’ve heard preachers talk about this and explain that it’s about the Jews who don’t understand that Jesus is the Messiah.  The truth goes so much deeper than this.  Remember, Paul is writing to believers in this passage.  He makes no qualifications as to who the veil is covering.

He says, without any adjusting of the statement, that whenever the Old Covenant is read, the veil remains.  Even if a Christian reads it there remains a veil that only Christ can remove.

The reason is that the law veils the truth about righteousness.  The law sounds logical.

“If I will do this, then God will do that.”

“If I will bring the whole tithe to the church, then God will rebuke the devourer and pour out a blessing.”

“If I will walk in righteousness, then God will manifest His power in me.”

This veils the truth that under the New Covenant this is not the case.  Paul goes on in more detail.

Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.  But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
2 Corinthians 3:15-16

EVEN TODAY!!!  It’s so clear.  Right now if I read the Old Testament, a veil covers my heart.  There’s a cure, however.  The word, turns, in this verse is actually a Greek word that means turn again.

What this says to us, is that when anyone reads the Old Covenant a veil blocks their view of New Covenant righteousness.  But when you turn again to Christ, the veil is cast off.  How can you turn again to Christ if you were never looking at Him in the first place?

Paul is warning us that as New Testament believers, we cannot read the Old Testament without constantly looking back to what Christ did on the cross.  He fulfilled it all.  Everything I need to walk righteously before God has been supplied to me by the Savior.

Question: Why do many believers still live as though they’re under the Old Covenant?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Rules and Righteousness

In my last post, I talked about the difference between a ministry of rules vs. a ministry led by the Holy Spirit.  There are so many believers bound in the notion that if we can just be righteous enough, we can walk in the power of the Spirit.

They spend their lives frustrated trying to live up to the righteous rules set out by their teachers.  Many give up on ever obtaining a walk in the power of the Spirit.  Little do they know, that their quest is in vain.

And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.
2 Corinthians 3:11-13

It’s the power of the law which, like batteries, eventually fades away.  Not so the power of the Spirit.  This verse literally says that it lasts, remains, stays perpetually.  What kind of power are you looking for?  A temporary boost that fades as your strength declines?  Or do you seek a power that comes from the Spirit of the living God?

The righteous life can only come from a walk of power.  Jesus not only walked in power, but also in the righteousness of the Father.  This means it’s possible for me as well.  I just need to apply the truth of Scripture to my life.

For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Romans 1:17

Righteousness is not a function of my strength or my will power.  It comes from God through His Holy Spirit.  The key is that this truth is revealed in the Gospel – the Good News.  To many believers, a righteousness from God is Good News.

As I’ve said before, so many live their lives constantly failing to live up to the standards set by Christ in the Word.  The Good News is that you don’t have to.  But wait a minute!  Maybe you think I’m talking about the imparted righteousness that God gives to us when we’re saved.  I’m not.

The Bible teaches about two different kinds of righteousness under the New Covenant.  First, there’s imparted righteousness.  This is the righteousness that Christ places within you when you’re saved.

This means that when God the Father looks at you, He sees you in Christ.  This gives you access to God at all times so that your sin will not keep you from approaching the throne for forgiveness, praise, worship, or any other purpose.  We need this righteousness to establish a relationship with the Lord as we grow in our faith.

There is also another kind of righteousness that the New Testament talks about.  That’s the walk of righteousness.

This is the application of the righteousness of God to our daily lives.  This means that I live correctly before God.  This one is harder to see manifest in my life.  That’s especially true if I try to accomplish it in my own power, as so many Christians endeavor to do.

I believe that in the above verse, Paul is talking about the walk of righteousness.  It’s this righteousness from God that allows us to live righteously.  We can never hope to walk rightly before God in our own strength.  It’s going to require us to walk in the ability of the Lord in order to please Him.

Going back to the first passage we looked at, we see that knowing this allows us to live boldly for Christ.  I know that it’s His work in me that makes me walk in His image.

Question: Why is it so tempting to please God in our own strength?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , ,

God’s Armor – Using the Breastplate of Righteousness

In my last post, I showed how the Breastplate of Righteousness was given to us to protect our hearts.  That’s the good ground of our life.  It’s where we plant the good seed of the Word of God.

In Scripture, we’re told to put on the full armor of God.  That means it’s a choice I have to make.  The first thing we need to understand is what this righteousness is.

In the Bible, we’re told about two kinds of righteousness and both of them are important.  First, there’s the position of righteousness.  That means I’m declared righteous simply because I’m in Christ and He’s my righteousness.

Because of this position of righteousness, I can go into the presence of God whenever I want.  Whether I need forgiveness, or simply want to praise and worship the Father, I have 24/7 access to God’s throne.

I praise God for the position of righteousness that we’ve been granted in Christ.  However, that’s not the righteousness that protects our ground.  The breastplate speaks of the walk of righteousness.

How does the walk of righteousness protect my heart?  In the natural, Scripture talks about the enemies that invaded Israel and ruined their fields.  Fire, drought, foxes, stones, salt, weeds, locust, and hail were all causes of crop failure.

In our walk with God, we’re warned to be careful not to form intimate relationships with unbelievers.  We’re told that bad companionships corrupt good character (1 Corinthians 15:33).  By becoming intimate with the world you’re opening up yourself for a broken heart – rocky, stony soil.

When your walk is not right before God, you have an open, unprotected heart.  If you remember, a few posts ago I showed that the armor wasn’t Paul’s invention.  There’s a word picture of God wearing His armor in the Old Testament.

Knowing this, Paul described what the breastplate consists of.

But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
1 Thessalonians 5:8

The first thing Paul talks about here is self-control.  You may not want to hear this, but it takes self-control to put on the breastplate.

The word, self-control, in this verse, is not the same as the fruit of the spirit.  This Greek word means to be sober, not drunk.  We can’t be so intoxicated with the world that we miss God’s best.

Then, Paul gives us a closer look at this breastplate.  He tells us that it’s comprised of a combination of faith and love.  Walking in faith and love is the completion of your righteousness before God.

It should be obvious how this works.  I must choose to trust God.  I must choose to love God.  This is a daily choice, to walk in righteousness.  It’s a faith-love walk.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Galatians 5:6

In the New Covenant, circumcision is all about the rules of men.  The reality is that in Christ rules don’t count for anything.  Only a walk of righteousness matters.

This verse talks about being in Christ Jesus.  That’s where you have to be to use the armor.  This passage literally says that in Christ…the only thing that has force is faith, energized and made effective, through love.

How does this protect my heart?  When you walk in the combination of faith and love, you’re placing a “force field” of righteousness around your heart.  Your ground is protected, and you can expect your spiritual seed to grow unhindered by the enemy.

Question: What evidence do you see of faith and love working together in your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Bible – Not a Rulebook

As Paul continues to deal with the factions of the Corinthian church, he gets to the main point of his message.  It’s an important point that needs to be heard in our generation.

There are times when people use the Bible as a way to push their own agendas.  We need to be warned how to correctly receive and preach the Word of God.

Actually, it’s a warning from Scripture itself.  Believers are sometimes guilty of using the Bible in ways God never intended.  Hopefully, we can learn from the mistakes of others.

Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.”  Then you will not take pride in one man over against another.
1 Corinthians 4:6

At the beginning of this letter to the Corinthian church, Paul rebukes the people for the many factions that were splitting their fellowship.  He tells them not to go beyond what’s written.  Literally, that means not to over think the Scripture.  Their problem was that they were basing their divisions on the apostles themselves.

“I follow Peter.”  “I follow Paul.”  “I follow Apollos.”

What does that mean?  It’s clear that they were basing their lives upon certain doctrines that each apostle might have emphasized.  Today, most of us realize that different ministers have specialties in their preaching.

Some tend to emphasize faith, some grace, while others are strong in Godly financial issues.  There are also different personalities and teaching or preaching styles.  That’s the way it should be.  Diversity among the ministry gifts is a positive thing.

The Corinthian church was trying to make it an “either or” type of decision.  Instead of receiving the blessing from each teacher’s particular ministry, they followed one certain apostle exclusively.  In essence, they were saying, “I only follow Paul’s rules.”

The Christian walk is not a matter of whose rules I follow.  We’re not to over think what’s written.  God never intended for the church to turn the Bible into a rule book.

Yes, the Old Testament contains many rules.  However, our doctrine must always pass through the cross to filter out the things that don’t apply to us.

If we could please God by following a set of rules, then we wouldn’t need Christ to die for us. The fact is that rules are not enough, no matter how good they are.

Rules and regulations have no power to change the course of someone’s life.  It’s only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can expect to see a difference.

Question: How does our trying to follow rules create more problems for us?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 6, 2019 in Legalism, Ministry, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,