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Posts Tagged ‘grace’

If So, We Live Under A Curse

by Jim Gordon

Many Christians today seem to live in two different worlds. Not only the spiritual world and the earthly world, but the Old Covenant and New Covenant world.

The problem with the Old and New Covenant combination is that we already know we cannot live a perfect life and keep every law God gave. We are told that trying to following the Law is living under a curse.

Galatians 3:10-13: For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith.” However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us, for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”.

The Law was originally given to the Jews, not the Gentiles. The Law was given to the Jews mainly for the purpose to show them that in their own strength, they could not measure up. The Law was also a tutor to have guardianship, care of and instruction for the Jewish people until the Christ came.

We all know that we cannot live a life acceptable to God and the perfection He desires in our own strength. Righteousness does not come through the Law, and if it did then Christ died needlessly. Jesus came into this world born under the Law, and He lived and taught the law for the first 33 years of His life. When He died the Old Covenant came to an end. When He said it is finished, everything was complete and the Old Covenant was fulfilled. When Christ arose from the grave the New Covenant began, which is a covenant of grace and it was given to the whole world, not just the Jewish people.

By accepting his grace, He provided us the ability to live a life pleasing to God by the power of the Holy Spirit within us. We now have fellowship with God through Christ and we are now counted as holy and righteous in His sight because of His work.

The Law is no longer needed for those saved by grace. We are free because Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law. We now live under the New Covenant, one that is a free gift provided to us by Jesus. We now live by Christ’s grace. We are now free to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and to love others as ourselves.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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by Jordan Hathcock

Awkward church moments – aren’t they the best? I was around 14-years-old, passing the sacrament at my L.D.S. Ward, laughing with my friends in front of the whole congregation (big no-no). Why? Oh I don’t know, maybe it was due to the fact we were adolescence, attempting to do a “holy” thing but really the only thing that was holy was our love for laughter with friends? I can’t really remember what triggered it, all I recall is the feeling of guilt (due to getting scolded by leaders and parents) instead of the total unbiased freedom of joy. Yes, I get there is a time and place for everything but I also can’t help to see why we can’t include comedy in our rites and rituals? Is it due to the fact that if we indulge in the act of laughter it will produce the infamous act of irreverence which leads to sin (gasp!)?

It reminds me of the famous line from Tommy Boy from the master himself: Chris Farley:

Were you watching Spanktravision? Or were you watching that funny comedian, oh what’s his name, Buddy Wackit. Hey, there’s a pretty girl out there, maybe she goes out with one of the yankees…Richard, who was your favorite Little Rascal? Was it Alfalfa, or was it Spanky, hehehehehehe, sinner.

It’s funny how, if looked at with a comedic lens, some sins are kind of hilarious. I think that this outlook can be very healthy when it comes to encountering ones sin issues and others. It allows us to step back and get a perspective that removes us from our baggage which then helps us encounter grace (a free gift of abundant love). I understand that this idea of sin has brought a lot of damage to others when it comes to one’s worth and mental health but I still believe this word plays a role in our reality.

The definition of sin in the Bible is missing the mark. This does hold true to an extent. But, if we dig more deeply, I think we could say sin is “a misperception of oneself in reality” (more on this later). So, what is the “mark”? A perfect state of being (in the sense of doing nothing wrong)? Living a perfect life free from lying, stealing, cheating, killing, and “spanking the monkey” (hehe)? Drum roll please…dumdumdumdumdum…NO! It’s not any of those things, in my opinion.

***Side note: While we are on the topic of “spanktravision”, masturbation is definitely off the list since there never was a command against it in the bible (fun tidbit ). But I get the warning. When we use it as a form of “unrelational” pleasure with no other loving partner involved (i.e., pornography) it can lead to broken relationships (even though this might not be the case for everyone: context is everything). Even then, this is not what I’m referring to when it comes to sin.***

The mark definitely prevents those actions from happening. But it’s not those acts specifically. Then what the hell is it? Well people, the freakin mark is LOVE. Love is God and God is Jesus and Jesus said: You (the rest of us) are gods (John 10:34). Not gods in the sense of becoming what the serpent succeeded in tempting the Adam and Eve with (i.e., a relationship NOT based on partnership with others in order to create peace, love and mercy but a relationship based in greed and selfishness)–but in the the way of what Paul referred to as fellow heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17–Authentic Connection).

I’m not taking away the seriousness of missing the mark of love. It’s a big deal. Jesus was executed because of our denial in the importance of trusting in love. We scapegoat the victim in order to secure our violent social structures and individual egos. We choose violence instead of love. We will accuse all day long to keep our domination systems in place. The spirit of accusation is what the Bible calls the satan.

We are all created in God’s image. It’s the process of seeing the divine in us that we become aware of the “mark” (Theosis). SIN IS NOT TRUSTING IN HOW GOD SEES US: AS BELOVED! When we trust this, we have a change of mind and return to our true self (aka Repentance). When we don’t, this “un-trust” leads to all the consequences (war, murder, theft, cheating, environment damage, racism, gun violence, etc.) that hinder us to fully becoming the True Human race.

When we find ourselves accusing others to gratify our desires of righteousness (being in “correct” standings with our tribe) then we fall into the trap of the satan. It’s bye bye fat head from there. Oh, but not so fast there buddy boy. As a participant in Christ, I believe Jesus showed us how to break free from the bondage of sin into the liberation of grace. To live a life fully lived by loving your enemies! Let’s face it. If we embrace our sense of humor, we smile down on our enemies not make war with them.

This is how the world is healed from sin (which brings salvation). We come together to help the least of these. Jesus saves us from the accusatory lifeless cycle of sacred violence into the beautiful flow of shalom and forgiveness. Not only for the human race but for the entire universe. This is where our misperception of ourselves in reality comes into play. The reality of God is love which brings peace. This way of Jesus will bring healing to ALL the nations. His Spirit is flowing through all of his creation NOW. But, in order for the universe to trust and participate, it’s up to his participants, here and now, to represent his beautiful way.

In the end, according to close family and friends and even Chris Farley himself, the lack of love (not the side effects of sin) is what pushed Farley to an early death. Sure, the unhealthy lifestyle was a major factor in Farleys overdose but the root cause of it all was him not feeling loved. May we all find humor in our bones and come to the realization that we are all beloved NOW rather than later. It’s all about presence (what better way to encounter this then laughter?)…because life is to abundant to waste it. Chris Farley’s sense of humor still is bringing joy in this crazy world. This is no accident. Humor coincides with love. The two cannot live without each other too long as Mr. Farley said himself:

This notion of love is something that would be a wonderful thing. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced it, other than the love of my family. At this point it’s something beyond my grasp. But I can imagine it, and longing for it makes me sad.

Jordan Hathcock began writing as a regular guest blogger and has been a great addition to the site. He also writes at his own site called Hazy Divinity He can be contacted by email at: jrhathcockss@gmail.com

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by Jordan Hathcock

You have heard the idea of: “Unity within Diversity”. I’m all for it, but as a collective church (conservative to progressive), I don’t think we are truly desiring this to be a reality. We have our reasons, right? It can come from all sorts of certain expectations regarding how we all want church to look like. We desire it all to be nicely wrapped in one ideological bow. If we come to a schism in which this bow is being unwarrantedly unwrapped, we are going to have some problems when it comes to unity. Or it can be due to many religious traumas that we experienced regarding a plethora of unhealthy church practices. What are we to do? Well, I think both fears can be faced and conquered by (wait for it) HUMOR (didn’t see that one coming, huh?).

We should be more inclined to have unity within adversity. We all have our mountain of shit when it comes to our personal and corporate issues as a Jesus community. To come to a place of growth, stepping into the space of humor helps us get there. Cause let’s face it: If we don’t allow grace for ourselves and others to experience true freedomthen forget about healing and liberating the world (not to say that is our full responsibility…remember Jesus?).

Now as a church (when I say church I mean anyone who claims to be a participant in the Jesus way–not a particular denomination within Christianity, FYI) we need not to be the world police but instead, a light on the hill (I.e., an example). We are not going to be a perfect little community doing everything right but maybe more of a community showing grace to each other in the bad and good times? How about we let go of the stress of doing church right and become keener to our sense of humor. New physiological studies have found comedy to be the most effective when it comes to any type of stress:

“Two new studies from the Stanford Psychophysiology Laboratory demonstrate that, in the face of stressful imagery, comedy is a more effective coping strategy than solemnity – and positive, optimistic humor is more effective than cynicism. ”https://news.stanford.edu/news/2011/august/humor-coping-horror-080111.html

Doesn’t this tie in beautifully with our fears regarding church unity? A big part of becoming a place of unity (I.e., Grace filled) is when we overcome adversity together. Overcoming adversity can be a very challenging and stressful obstacle, no doubt. There really isn’t anything like going through the relationship gauntlet within the community context (especially a religious one…yikes). I think when we step into a space of humor, we are more susceptible to having fun. Look, I know forming a healthy Jesus community is not all skittles and rainbows. It’s tough work to say the least. But by understanding that to play within this community setting is a huge step in doing healthy community.

Pastor and author Peter Hiett spoke about how the judgment of God is actually fun. He puts it like this:

“We battle division with communion; we battle evil by passing the ball; we battle the void with the presence of God; we battle desecration with creation; we battle death with Love and when everyone loves, all is Life, and everyone that’s anyone wins the war.

And so why does Peter Hiett not have more fun?

He thinks it’s his responsibility to win that war.

It turns out that God has already won the war so that Peter Hiett can enjoy playing the game.

If you’re not having fun, don’t just make more rules about passing the ball—that’s religion.

Instead: Let this day, be “that day.” Let God judge you at the tree in the garden.

Watch him pass the ball. Watch him win the war and you will join the game that is a dance and has no end, for it is the end and the beginning; it is the Judgment of God—not death, but Life eternal.

PS You are his trophy. . . and he’s already holding you. So, enjoy the game.” https://relentless-love.org/sermons/the-death-of-fun-religion/

Can we enjoy the church game? Is it possible or even fathomable? What Heitt hits right in the head is this: we can be a people of joy, if we want to believe that the God, we follow is a God of joy. To impossible? It’s back to the whole fear factor of God, isn’t it? Do we believe God is love or fear? We must not take ourselves too seriously if we ever want to be a people of abundant life. As Alan Watts said: “Everyone takes everything to do with religion seriously. And you must understand that I am not a serious person; I may be sincere but not serious, because I don’t think the universe is serious.” Maybe we need more sincerity vs judgmental seriousness? Whatever the case may be, I think it’s time to start having fun and laugh within this faith we call Christianity. The fate of the world might depend on it (or not, just trying to be hyperbolic, ok?).

Jordan Hathcock began writing as a regular guest blogger and has been a great addition to the site. He also writes at his own site called Hazy Divinity He can be contacted by email at: jrhathcockss@gmail.com

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By Mike Edwards

Many, because of their understanding of the Bible, will respond with some version of “I love you; I hate your sin.” This is not a phrase found in the Bible. One is hard pressed to find anywhere in the Bible where this is a recommended strategy in relationships whether the Bible clearly condemn a behavior or not. It is impossible to not feel personally attacked when one utters “I love you but I hate your sin.” What is heard is I don’t love you.

Please don’t reject a gay child in God’s name!

Some parents condemn their child because the Bible supposedly does. Not all agree. See here.  When there are any doubts what the Bible might be advising, God-followers must take the most compassionate, less judgmental stance toward others. Many parents know in their hearts to not judge their child but they are torn when hearing others claim the Bible condemns homosexuality. It is impossible to not feel unloved and rejected when told “I love you but I hate your sin.” 

Why do we treat gays differently from other supposed sinners whatever you believe?

Many refer to Paul’s list of sins to call out homosexuality but they fail to call out the greedy and slanderers (I Cor. 6: 9-10). Unless you are homeless chances are you have been greedy more than once this week. How is it not greedy to keep more than you need and make sure those struck by natural disasters or other tragedies have the rest? Remind me to not say when I see you “I love you, but I hate your selfish behaviors.”

But some actions are really harmful

It can be argued that hating alcoholic behavior is loving because alcohol abuse is harmful. Hating homosexual sex is only loving if homosexual sex is sinful. But do we tell a drug abuser that we love them but hate their behaviors? You don’t tell anyone coming for help with their addiction that you love them but hate their behavior. You simply say I love you and let’s do this together. They probably already hate their own behaviors. When someone is overweight, which is a lot of us, should we say “I love you but I hate you are fat?”

So, what do we stand for!

When people are involved in uncommitted sexual relationships and I am asked, I don’t say I love you but hate your behaviors. If they want, I have a conversation about whether their actions will end up hurting them or others in the future. I can still believe in the importance of committed, monogamous relationships. That is why adultery is wrong. That is why it is selfish to be involved in more than one sexual relationship especially if the other persons are unaware. I have no problem taking a stand against behaviors that I think are harming others. I do though try to remember I am involved in such behaviors daily. Just love on those seeking your support and avoid cliches.

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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by Jim Gordon

Growing up in the Christian church, my wife and I were taught that we were saved by grace. Yet, once we were saved by grace we needed to continue to live by the law. This seems to be a fairly common teaching for the modern-day believer.

Once we began questioning some things we were reading in the bible, we came to a new conclusion. The bible mentions that those of us who are saved by grace are now free from the old covenant law. If we still try to live by the commands of the old covenant, we are actually living under a curse. ‘For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’ (Galatians 3:10 NIV).

Why is it we cannot accept the free gift of grace that God provided? Why is it we are still living a performance-based life trying to please God? ‘For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ. You have fallen away from God’s grace’. (Galatians 5:4 NLT).

It became clear to us that we now live for God because of love, not out of obligation, not trying to do more and earn our salvation. The works of the law and the ten commandments no longer have a hold on us.

Now, am I saying because we are free of the law that we can just do whatever we want? Eat, drink and be merry? No, not at all. Even though we are free from the law, and even though by keeping our eyes on Christ we have the ability through him not to sin, we are still living in a fallen world. There will be times when we take our eyes off him and commit sins. Although in Christ our sins are already forgiven and there is no longer punishment for them, there are still consequences in this world when we do wrong.

The thing is, by trying to keep the law, we are led into death. ‘The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law’. (I Corinthians 15:56 NASB). The old way of doing things was only a temporary thing. The law showed us that we were completely powerless to live up to God’s standards. It was a tutor for us until Christ came and took our sinful nature to the cross. ‘Therefore, the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus’. (Galatians 3:24-26 NASB).

We had been taught that we needed to do more and more for God. We were taught to try to keep the commandments and strive to be ‘good Christians’. Fortunately, the Spirit has been guiding us into the reality that we cannot keep the commands. We, in ourselves, are powerless to do so, and so are you. Christ came to fulfill the law and provide freedom to all of us. We are now free to live by love for Him and free from trying to live by the law. When Jesus said ‘it is finished’, he was saying the old covenant, the old way of trying to live by the law, was finished. He accomplished what we could not do. When he was resurrected, a new way of life started, a new covenant based on grace.

It is time we realize God, out of His love for us, has provided all we need. He has done away with our old sinful nature. We are forgiven of all our sins by His grace. We can now enter into his rest and rely on what He has done. We no longer have to strive to keep all the rules and constantly try to do more and more to earn a relationship with Him. ‘We have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code’. (Romans 7:6).

Rest in Him, rely on the Spirit to teach you and guide you through love. There are plenty of things to do, but we do them when we are led by the Spirit, and we do them through love. Now that we live by the new covenant, we live in love because He has put His spirit within us to walk with us daily.

When we are in love with God, we do not need rules to tell us what to do. We do what is pleasing to Him because we love Him. The Law is no longer in effect. By grace we now live a life of love for God and for one another. It is by love that we will do what pleases Him.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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by Jim Gordon

There seems to be so much confusion among Christians in regard to law and grace. Most believe we are saved by grace, but many have a misunderstanding as to what part the law plays in our lives today. I think the mistake a lot of Christians make is that we do not truly accept or understand the whole concept of grace. Grace is a free gift given to us by God. When Jesus died, he took our sinful nature and destroyed it.

As stated in Galatians 2:16, 19-21, “nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified… For through the Law, I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly”.

Jesus restored our perfect, righteous nature and our fellowship as sons and daughters of God. Nothing we did, and nothing we can do can add to it or pay for it. It is a totally free gift provided by Christ. It is hard for us to accept this without feeling the need to do something to justify God’s love for us. We think we need to do something to make us worthy to come to God. This is performance-based living and not grace. Grace is a gift. Grace is God making us righteous and in fellowship with him, not of our own doing, but the free gift provided by Jesus.

Jesus lived and taught under the law. Yet, the important part to remember is that everything changed after the death and resurrection of Jesus.

As Jesus lived under the Old Covenant Law as Galatians 4:4,5 states, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons”. Jesus had to live by and obey all the commandments, ceremonial rules and laws so He could fulfill the old covenant. Jesus said on the cross, ‘it is finished’, meaning He had lived under the Old Covenant, lived a perfect life and fulfilled the law, thereby restoring our fellowship with our God.

Not until the time of His death and resurrection was the Law fulfilled and a New Agreement took effect. At this time, the new covenant took effect. A new agreement in which we live by grace and not by trying to fulfill the Law.

So, since the old covenant has been fulfilled and we live by grace, why do so many of us still feel a need to live by old covenant law? Why do we seem to want to put ourselves back under slavery to an old set of rules when Christ has fulfilled them and done away with that need?

Galatians 5:1-4 reads, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision” (a part of the law), “Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace”. With Christ as our sacrifice, we in a sense died also. And since we died, we can now live free from the law as written in Romans 7:1-8 “Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. So then, if while her husband is living, she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, you shall not covet. But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead”.

Before grace, we could not live up to the standards of the law because we are an imperfect people. Now that Jesus has fulfilled the law, we are restored to fellowship with God. Although we still fall from time to time in this life, it is all covered by the blood of Christ and where sin abounds, grace much more abounds. We are no longer required to live up to the Law that we could not live up to in the first place.

Now that we live by grace and faith in Jesus, the law, which was our tutor to point out our sin, is no longer needed. Galatians 3:23-26 states, “But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore, the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (the law). “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus”. To say we need to live trying to obey the law and the ten commandments is saying that Jesus blood alone was not enough to cleanse us from our sins.

The Bible goes so far as to say that if we still try to live by obeying the old covenant law we live under a curse, as Galatians 3:10-13 reads, “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them. Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, the righteous man shall live by faith. However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, he who practices them shall live by them. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us, for it is written, cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”.

We are told in Matthew to be perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Obviously, there is no way we can do this on our own, but God would not have told us to be perfect if it were not possible to do so. Since we could not do it on our own, He made a way for us. The only way we can be perfect, is through grace. Accepting the free gift of grace through Christ will allow us to live out the new covenant commands of Christ, which are to accept Christ, love God and love others. The law that is mentioned under the new covenant is always to love God and love others stated in Galatians 5:14, “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

This is further pointed out in 1 John 3:23, “this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us”; 1 John 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also”; and again in 2 John 1:6, “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love”. We are totally incapable of living up to the law and we are no longer required to do so. Christ died and by His grace, we were made righteousness and restored to proper fellowship with God.

God has provided such a fantastic gift of freedom for us, and most of us today just do not realize all that entails. Because of grace, it is as though we have never sinned and will never sin. Not because of anything we have done, or can do, but because God loves us enough that he sent his Son to take our sins, past, present and future, and because of His grace we stand perfect in the eyes of God.

Now we need to walk in that freedom and follow the Spirit, loving God, loving others and not worry about the old covenant law, but live a life for God through love. Galatians 5:16-18 reads, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law”.

Thanks be to God, we now live by grace, not trying to live up to rules and laws that we cannot do. We are free in Christ to live a life of love for God and for all we come in contact. We no longer do things out or obligation, but we do them out of love for God and want to do what pleases Him.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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by Jim Gordon

Growing up in the institutional church and modern Christianity, my wife and I were taught that we are saved by grace but live by law. This seems to be a fairly common belief for the modern-day believer.

Over the past few years, we have come to see that the Bible mentions that those of us who are saved by grace are now free from the old covenant law. If we still try to live by the commands of the old covenant, we are actually living under a curse. ‘For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them’. (Galatians 3:10 KJV).

Why is it that we cannot accept the free gift provided through Christ and forget the performance-based way of trying to please God? ‘For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ. You have fallen away from God’s grace’. (Galatians 5:4  NLT).

We now live for God because of love, not out of obligation nor trying to do more and earn our salvation.

It is time we realize God, out of His love for us has provided all we need. He has done away with our old sinful nature. We are forgiven of all our sins, past, present and future by His grace. We can now enter into his rest and rely on what He has done. We no longer have to strive to keep all the rules and constantly try to do more to earn a relationship with Him. ‘We have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code’. (Romans 7:6).

Rest in Him, rely on the Spirit to teach you and guide you by love. There are plenty of things to do, but we do them because of love and by the strength and guidance of the Spirit.

Now, am I saying because we are free of the law that we can just do whatever we want? Eat, drink and be merry? No, not at all. Even though we are free from the law, we are still living in a fallen world. There will be times when we take our eyes off Christ and commit sins. Yet, in Christ our sins are already forgiven and there is no longer punishment for them, although there are still consequences in this world when we do wrong.

The fact is, that by trying to keep the law we are led into death. ‘The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law’. (I Corinthians 15:56 NASB). The old way of doing things was only a temporary thing. The law showed us that we were completely powerless to live up to God’s standards. It was a tutor for us until Christ came and fulfilled the requirements of the old covenant. ‘Therefore, the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus’. (Galatians 3:24-26 NASB).

We have been told for so long that we needed to do more for God. We were taught we needed to keep the commandments and strive to be good Christians. Fortunately, the Spirit guides us to the reality that we cannot keep the commands and in ourselves, we are powerless to do so. Christ came to fulfill the law and provide freedom to all of us.

We are now free to live by love for Him and we are free from trying to live by the law. When Jesus said ‘it is finished’, he was saying the old covenant, the old way of trying to live by the law was finished. He accomplished what we could not do. When he was resurrected, a new covenant began, one of living by grace. As children of God, He has now put His spirit within us to walk with us daily.

When we are in love with God, we do not need rules to tell us what to do. We do what is pleasing to Him because we love Him. The old covenant law cannot make us holy, but the new covenant of grace is one of loving God and doing what pleases Him because of that love.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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by Jim Gordon

John 15:5 – I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

We have read this verse many times, but it is so easy to pass over how important this verse is. Jesus is our life source. It is in Him that we live, and move and have our being. He supplies all we need. He provides us daily with the requirements for life and what we need to truly live a life of sharing his love with others.

Jesus has done all that is needed for us to be forgiven, made new and have a loving relationship with God and with our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is by his grace we are free, and all the spiritual things we think we need to do to put us in right standing are so unnecessary.

Jesus is the one who has done everything needed to restore our right standing with God.  It is Jesus who takes our burdens, frees us from guilt and guides us daily as we follow him. All we need to do is accept his work and rest in Him.

Our main focus should be on Christ, not on things about Him. He is our life. He is our all in all. We are to give Christ the preeminence in all things. He is the Vine, we are the branches; apart from Him we can do nothing. Rest in him and enjoy the peace he gives knowing we are in him and he is in us.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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The Spirit of God Lives in Us

by Jim Gordon

1 Corinthians 3:16,17 – Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.

The Old Covenant days of the temple are over. According to the New Covenant, we are now God’s house the Spirit of God lives within us. So many people say the organized church is where God lives, but this verse tells us that God is more personal than that. God can no longer be contained within a building. We are His dwelling place.

The church is not God’s temple

Each one of us who are saved by grace are now the temple of God. It is so hard to get away from the thought that God is up there somewhere, or that we have to go to church and wait for God to show up. This kind of thinking is now obsolete.

These verses point out that the temple of God is holy, and that is what we are. We are His temple, and that makes us holy. Not by any works we have done or can do, but by the work that Christ has done. It is hard for us to accept the fact that in Christ, we are holy and righteous. We are kings and priests. We were sinners, but the old sin nature was crucified with Christ on the cross. It is now dead and we are new creatures in Him.

We are Holy and Righteous

We need to stop being so negative and depressed because we feel like we have let God down and unable to live a holy life. Actually, we cannot live a holy life, but God, through the grace of Christ, makes us holy. We are the righteousness of God. It is Him, Jesus our all in all, living in us.

Our spirit is now holy and righteous. Our mind is still being transformed and our body is still a work in progress, but thanks be to God, our spirit has been made perfect.

Let’s start focusing on the fact that God is right here within us through His Spirit. We do not have to go somewhere looking for Him, we do not have to wait for Him to show up. Right now, we are in His presence. He is the vine, we are the branches. Rest in Him and allow the Spirit to love those around you each day.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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It May Be Better to be Known for What They are For

by Jim Gordon

It seems that many Christian people are more known for what they are against rather than the good things of God they are for.

I am becoming increasingly aware of the fact that I do not want to be known as someone who is always against something. Whatever that may be, against this sin or that sin, this group or that group, against a particular denomination or Bible version, all the different ideas and subjects we can come up with that end up taking away our main focus, our love for Christ.

Be Known for Love

Jesus told us in the New Covenant that His commands were to love God and love others. We do not have to agree with everyone to love them. We obviously all have our convictions of right and wrong, yet we do not have to focus on those convictions or try to prove our reasoning to others. We are told to love others no matter what. We are not responsible for converting people, that is the Spirit’s job. We are told to love them.

When Jesus walked the earth, He did not spend a lot of time with the religious people. He was out with the sick, despised, neglected, and sinners of the day. Those who the religious people would not want to be around.

Obviously, God calls us to follow Him and that is going to be in different ways for each of us. Yet to spend more time arguing, condemning, trying to prove our interpretations of the Bible, pointing out people’s mistakes and shortcomings, does not help promote showing the love of God to others.

The Grace of Christ

When we begin to understand the freedom we have in Christ, and start living through grace that Christ provided, we can be free to love and accept all those we come in contact with each day. We can show them the love of Christ by allowing the Spirit to live through us.

We do not need to worry so much about who is right and who is wrong. Remember, do not always be against something. Be for Jesus. Be for love. Be for following Jesus daily by loving God and loving one another. Let Him be the central focus of your life and allow His love to flow out of you and touch those around you.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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