IS RIGHTEOUSNESS LEGALISM?
Why are some of the pastors, evangelists, and members of the Churches of God labeling the righteous members of the body of Jesus Christ as legalists, and those righteous saints' righteousness as legalism? One of the main reasons is because these Church of God teachers have been listening and taking notes from the false preachers and false theologians of the world's professed Christian churches, and have borrowed their word labeling and their definition of legalism to undermine commandment keeping. Legalism to those theologians means people seeking justification of their sins by keeping God's law. The Church of God pastors now are borrowing those theologians' word labeling of legalism and using it to persecute the commandment keeping of the true, righteous members of the body of Jesus Christ! This in plain words is speaking evil of and judging your brethren, and as James 4:11 says "--speaking evil of your brother and judging his brother, is speaking evil of God's law and judging His law." The truth is this: these theologians and pastors are not only judging the righteous saints of Christ but also are judging God's law and the keeping of His law as having no part in being accepted for justification. This is contrary to Christ's Word in Rom. 2:13 as well as James 2:20-24.
The world's churches and theologians of professed Christianity have been for centuries, word battling and persecuting the true, commandment keepers and righteous saints of the body of Jesus Christ. They accuse them of working out their justification of their sins by being strict doers and commandment keepers of God's law, even though these accused righteous saints do not teach this, or believe that justification is received by keeping God's law, nor are they living this, or do they espouse this as the doctrine of Christ's Word, or His Gospel. This seems to make no difference to these accusing ministers and members, and their speaking evil against Christ's righteous brethren. The world's theologians lack true understanding of "what is righteousness," and look over many clear and basic Scriptures that instructs members of Christ's Church what they must do to be accepted for Christ's justification , and how they become converted, to become the righteous saints before God, the Father and Jesus Christ. So these theologians go about labeling all true Christians as legalists, and practicing legalism.
The world's "Christian" churches are antinomian by their faith and evil works! They have come to accept a "faith only" salvation, which is a faith taken from antinomy, which means, against law, against God's law and keeping God's 10 commandments in being accepted for justification and salvation. The professed, Christian churches, by accepting this faith only salvation, have caused the keeping of the 10 commandments to be taken out of their churches long before they were taken out of public schools. Even though today some are trying to get the 10 commandments posted once again in the schools, they will never be posted as sound doctrine to be kept in today's Christian churches in order to accepted for justification, until the false antinomian christ they worship is exposed and booted out of their churches. All Christian churches, by following this antinomian, "faith against law" teaching, have ended up accepting a false christ of Satan's creation! This created, false messiah, and his teaching, does not demand of his followers to repent and confess their sins, based on the 10 commandments of God, in order to be accepted for justification of their sins. This is in total rejection of the true Christ and His Word, as Paul states in Romans 2:13, " For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law (commandment keepers) shall be justified."
All the churches of today's Christian world, as well as many members in the Churches of God, eat from the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil," whereas, each of them (inspired by Satan), wants to be the god of his own life, to determine by his own mind and from his own opinion, what is good and what is evil, not what God says is law and what is sin or what is godly righteousness. They feel by accepting this tree, suggested by Satan, they are free from law keeping and what is believed to be a burden and grieviousness of keeping God's 10 commandments, even though John says in I John 5:3, "For this is the love of God that we keep His commadments, and His commandments are not grievious." They want to feel free from being commanded to keep the law of God, because Satan tells them this is true freedom, even though God's law teaches people how to love Him and one's neighbor and how to be truly freed from the penalty of the law . They want to keep only the commandments that THEY believe are important and that their society accepts as laws to obey, to keep them from going to jail.
More and more Church of God pastors and members, because they too don't understand true, godly, righteousness, are beginning to accept this satanic and evil theology of a "faith only salvation," as the way of Christianity, and to believe this is the way how one is accepted by Christ. However, this is not the Christ of the Bible, but one of the false christs that Jesus warned His people to watch out for, and to beware of, in their teaching about Christ, Mat. 24:24, "For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets (false preachers) and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." These Church of God pastors and members are exchanging the knowledge of Christ's Word, of how one is accepted by the true Christ through works and faith, to how one can be accepted by this false messiah's teaching of faith without works, and are showing by their teaching, their desire to follow the false christ of today's world's professed, Christian churches.
The world's, false Christianity has accepted this "faith only salvation" by the millions around the world, all based on this adopted and created, false messiah of Satan. This false messiah is an antinomian christ, and false savior, and is a false god of all the world's Christianity. Christ in Rev. 12:9 said Satan has deceived the whole world, and if one will look and compare the fruit of all these members of today's Christianity with what Christ teaches is to be fruit of His Word and Gospel, one will have to agree that Christ is absolutely correct! In order to keep today's Christianty and its false theology and beliefs thriving and growing, its preachers have to put down all true, commandment keeping believers, who are righteous in God's sight, and accuse them of being sinners, and self-righteous legalists, and following legalism in their commandment keeping! Some in the Churches of God have fallen into these evil ministers footsteps and traps, and likewise are speaking evil of the Christ's righteous brethren, and in reality, are speaking evil of God's law and judging God's law as not important, and the keeping of it as not necessary in salvation. This is the heart and mind of Satan, the devil!
The word "legal" comes from the word, "law" or lawful, and is a dictionary synonym of lawful, relating to law. So, today's Christianity has come to accept in their theology, that anyone who is a strict keeper of God's 10 commandments (strict by the dictionary means; complete, total, perfect, exact) and does not compromise God's commandments, is a legalist, and following legalism, and is working out their own justification of sin by law keeping, because of their diligent effort in commandment keeping, rather than looking to Jesus Christ and His justification. These false preachers of the world and some Church of God pastors, believe by these righteous saints not accepting their " faith only salvation," that these righteous of Christ are false brethren, without salvation, and without God's grace. WHAT DECEPTION, WHAT LIES, and WHAT ACCUSATIONS, and all directed against the righteous saints of Jesus Christ, who look to Christ for their justification but know they must be repentant and become commandment keepers to be accepted by Christ for their justification!
The true righteousness of God is achieved and given by Christ based on a sinner's repentance and obedience to God's law, and then having faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for the justificaion of one's sins. Our earlier article about "What Is Righteousness?" makes this information and understanding clear, for ones that have spiritual eyes to see!
So why do certain pastors and evangelists of the Churches of God preach and teach the professed, Christian world's definition of legalism, and direct it against the righteous members of Jesus Christ? It is all based on their believing and teaching that all church members are sinners! Where did they get that belief? It was not from Christ, nor from His Word, then where? It was from Satan! This Satan inspired, teaching is fueled by their acceptance as truth and is based on their false and erroneous explanation of certain Scriptures, that they use to build their evil theology. One such beginning or foundational Scripture that they build their corrupt and perverted theology on is found in I Timothy 1:15, where they teach Paul as saying, he is chief of all church sinners. Paul says, "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." Was Paul the chief sinner in the body of Christ after his conversion? Jesus Christ came into the world during the lifetime of Paul, and Paul, looking back at that time before his conversion considered himself, to be the chief of all sinners, because of his murderous behavior against the righteous saints of Jesus Christ, saints, who had come to be converted through Christ's ministry.
Was Paul at that point of his writing in his Christian life, the chief of all sinners and yet still considered himself a righteous member in the church? To believe this would mean Paul, as an apostle, and in order to be the chief sinner of the church, would had to be at that time a murderous, hatefilled, covetous, power driven, lustful, believer who was breaking every commandment of God? PAUL ABSOLUTELY WAS NOT A CHIEF SINNER, OR A SINNER AT THIS TIME WHICH WAS AFTER HIS CONVERSION!!!!! If he was, he would have gone down in history as being the biggest hypocrite of God, who had ever lived, who did not receive salvation, and yet still was confessing himself a minister, and an apostle of Jesus Christ! Paul taught the wages of sin is death. Paul condemned and judged all sinners that were fellowshipping with the Church of God that they would not be in the kingdom of God unless they repented of their sins, I Cor. 6:8-10.
These pastors take this verse out of its context and do not read what Paul said in verse 13, in their explaining verse 15. Paul said in verse 13, that "he was, not that Paul now is, a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious (meaning, he was still at that present moment of his pre-conversion bringing harm and injury to true Christians): "but I obtained mercy (forgiveness) because I did it ignorantly in unbelief," not that he was at that time committing such evil sins and evil behavior! So these false pastors and evangelists believe if they can get you to believe that Paul said he was presently a big sinner of the church after his conversion, then all righteous church members must also believe and accept this hersey that they too are sinners, and will always be sinners which would sear their conscience and cause them to stop having any guilt feeling and having any remorse of their presents sins, or that they must repent of any sins they presently have, and not be so concerned about overcoming their sins as members of the body of Christ. This is the teaching of the ministers of the synagogue of Satan, the devil that teach as his ministers of light! This teaching also makes Jesus Christ the minister of sin which Paul forbid and condemned any member for having any such belief, Gal. 2:17.
In order for these false ministers to continue their line of evil reasoning and twisted understanding, they will continue to teach for support of their false theology, other Scriptures and with more, erroneous explanations. Another one of their supporting Scriptures is found in Romans 7. This is another example of their taking Paul's words out of context of what Paul is teaching about his conversion, from the following the flesh of his past, to the following of the leadership of Christ and His Spirit in his present life, as an example to all members. They teach by Romans 7: 5-25, that Paul lived his Christian life dominated by his flesh, and his sins, (verses 14-21) that Paul could not find how to do what was right (v. 8), that Paul lived his life by the ways of the flesh, (v. 14) and of sin (v. 15-17.) These false teachers do not and will not teach verse 5, where Paul begins his comparison of how his life was in the past, of living by the flesh and sin, compared to his present life of living by the mind of Jesus Christ, by serving the law of God, v. 25. Why do they do this?
This is just another Scripture that these false ministers teach in error, to further support their false and evil teaching, that all saints are sinners, dominated by their flesh and their sins. And they say that any member who thinks and believes he is living his life free from sin, and living his life led by God's spirit, rather than the mind of the flesh, is a legalist, and a self-righteous church member, who is a deceived member, and still a sinner! This lie and false teaching comes from the synagogue of Satan and nothing less! These false ministers also use Rom. 14, which is about 0PTIONAL areas of one's personal worship of God, freedom in areas of one's own power to chose in worship, that is not governored by God's law, and yet, these false ministers use these verses as if they are governored by God's law to persecute the righteous of the church because of their judging of sin. Why? Because the righteous saints are teaching and judging sins and areas of a members' life by verses that are commanded by God's law, and are being committed by sinners in the church. This is another example of taking God's Word out of its context, and trying to make it mean something not intended.
I John 1:8 is another very popular and much quoted verse by pastors and members of the Churches of God, to teach that all members are sinners, which would mean they are all walking in darkness. First, these teachers teach this verse by quoting it out of its context, and secondly they teach error by not understanding who are these church members that are saying they have no sin! I John 1:8 -- " if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."
The context of this first chapter of John is about the fellowship of church members, whether their fellowship is in darkness or the light and is a warning directed to all of the church members. John is teaching and warning all church members that if anyone considers himself in the fellowship of Christ, they must not live or walk in darkness, the darkness of sin. However if you are walking in darkness, meaning, if you, or any one of the church fellowship is living in sin, committing sin, then you are truly a church sinner. This is a person who is not living in the light, and who is not obeying all of the commandments by either openly breaking any one of the commandments, or compromising any of God's commandments. All of this means you are not in the fellowship of the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, and are walking in darkness! John then says in I John 1:8 -"If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." What does this mean by it context of John's teaching?
For example, the members of today's Christianity of the world, believe by their having accepted Christ, that they now have no sin, by the fact that they believe the Jesus Christ they worship forgives them of all of their continuous daily living in sin, and continuous walk in darkness. They do not reconize God's 10 commandments as God's standard of identifying their sin. So they are obvious sinners, but who believe Christ forgives them of all of their ongoing sins, and because of this, believe they have no sin, even thought they might say they are sinners, they in reality believe there is no sin that is being held and recorded against them by Christ in the judgment, even though Christ teaches the wages of sin is death. Their deception in their faith keeps them deceived about their salvation.
The same is true in the Churches of God. Certain ministers and members believe that Christ forgives all their ongoing and unrepentant sins, and so they too can say they have no sin. They mean by this, that Christ is holding none of their ongoing sins against them, they believe their record and life is clean, and so they believe they are without sin, even though they are living in darkness of sin, and they seem not to be the least bit concerned about overcoming their sins and examining their life because of their deception. This is dangerous theology! Professed apostles, evangelists and pastors have been living this lie for years in the church.
The Church of God pastors and evangelists have been protecting, covering up, and exalting the sinners of the church of God, whose sins are obvious and putting down the righteous saints of the church, and even disfellowshipping them because of their righteousness that they have obtained from Christ. These are saints, who will not bow before their "In the Truth" sacred cow of their church idolatry and hierarchy. These same ministers and members then will twist this Scripture of I John 1:8 around and use it against the righteous of the body of Jesus Christ and call them self- righteous, legalists, and following legalism. These accusations are against saints, who have overcome their sins and are living daily by God's commandments, and are constantly alert to all temptations of sin, and pray to be filled with God's Spirit, to help them live daily by His commandments, and so by this are not sinners and will not break God's 10 commandments. So the context and understanding of I John 1:8 is this-- "If we say that we have no sin, (and still yet are walking in darkness, living in sin ) we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."
John says I John 2:4, "He that says I know him (saying he has fellowship with God and walks in His light ), and keeps not His commandments is a liar, and the truth in not in him." Again in I John 3:6 which says, "Whosoever abides in Christ does not sin." Look at what I John 3:8 says to every member who has been taught to believe he is a church sinner, "He that commits sin is of the devil ---," verse 9 ,"Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin: for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin (will not permit himself to sin), because he is born of God." Because He is led by God's Spirit! Christ tells all church members through John's inspired writing, that if you are a church member and a sinner you are of the devil, but if you abide in Christ you will not sin. Why don't pastors of the Churches of God preach these Scriptures? It is Scripture! It is the WORD of Christ! Is it because it is not part of the "In The Truth" sacred cow, system of beliefs they have learned from their foolish shepherd, and his colleges and all its literature that teach their false doctrines?
Then John, the servant of Jesus Christ, says in I John 3:7 - "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. And in verse 10 "Whosoever does not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother." So it should be ABUNDANTLY clear to everyone that if a righteous saint of God is righteous, and does righteousness, then that saint must be keeping the law, the commandments of God, in order to be so, otherwise, he is walking in unrighteousness and of the devil. Why is that so hard to understand? Is it because the carnal mind, the fleshly mind of many members of the Churches of God, is hostle against God's commandments? Rom. 8:7 - "The fleshly mind is hostle against God: for it is not subject (will not submit) to the law of God, neither indeed can be." It is the spiritual mind that submits to the law of God, and many church members are not willing to do what they must do, in order to have that spiritual mind.
There is a Scripture in the Old Testament that is also used with Rom. 3:10-18 to undermine the righteousness of God, found in his righteous saints. The flesh following ministers and members of the Churches of God use it as one of their proof Scriptures that all saints (even the righteous members of Christ's body) are sinners, and their righteousnesses are as filthy rags. It is found in Isa. 64:6-7-- "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags---" verse 7-- "And there is none that call upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to to take hold of thee: for you have hid your face from us, and have consumed us, because of our iniquities."
Now the first question that should be asked, is this before a person's conversion or after his conversion? Because after members' conversion, their righteousness then is based on their repentance, their obedience, and desire to obey God's law, joined with their faith in Christ, and His shed blood, for justification along with their growth in the Spirit of God. This is not a righteousness of filthy rags, but a godly righteousness obtained from Christ, and their obedience to His commandments. This is not their righteousness before conversion that was as filthy rags, because that righteousness was trying to be justified with God, based on their own life of deciding what is good and what is evil. In other words, a person following the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, can not keep God's 10 commandments, he will always end coming up short of God's perfect, righteous law. If you will notice in these verses, their righteousness was as filthy rags, because of their iniquities, (last part of verse 7) they were not obeying God's law, iniquities means law breaking, or sin. Paul explained about this in his prior life in Phil. 3:1-9, that he counted his past life as a Pharisee as dung, and that would certainly fit one's righteounsess in the catagory as filthy rags.
Paul said in Phil. 3:9, that his own righteousness of his past was based on the law, but what law? Christ told the pharisees on a number of occasions that they broke God's law by their own commandments of adding to the law of God. Paul was a Pharisee, and in his zeal to obey the Pharisees' added laws, he sought to imprison Christ's true, righteous saints, and even standing in agreement when one was killed, as in the case of Steven, Acts: 7:58 and 8:1. This was the righteousness of the law that Paul was referring to in verse 9. Paul said that he found in Christ not his own righteousness of the law he lived by which he thought rewarded him with life, but by the righteousness, which was through faith in Jesus Christ. This means there is no righteousness that is a spiritual righteousness unless it comes through the faith of Jesus Christ. No amount of commandment keeping will justify ones past sins. This can come only through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but that justification and righteousness will only be given, based on our repentance and our desire and effort to obey God's commandments.
What about righteousness being imputed to us and was said of God to Abraham? Look in James 2:23 -- "And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God." Some pastors teach that righteousness must be imputed (counted) to us from God based only on faith and not works! Is this Scripture or more error and false teaching. They will quote the above Scripture to try to prove their point and once again taking it out of its context. If one would only examine the context from which these verses are taken as in verse 23 they would see that God imputed or counted righteousness to Abvraham based on works and faith and not on faith alone. James say in verse 21 that Abraham was justified by works based on his faith in God when he offered up Issac his son upon the alter. Abraham was tested if he would obey God's first commandment to put God and His will first or his own son first. Abraham obeyed God's commandment and passed the test because he believed God would some how work all this out.
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