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April 2016 Newsletter

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The Book of Galatians

My Dear Family in Christ,

Before we begin our study of Galatians I would like to take you into the background of this letter. Paul was a Pharisee. Because of his training, education and experience in the upper echelons of the Jewish nation there was nothing about the Jewish legal, theological and Biblical system he did not know. God chose him precisely for those reasons. The problem with Paul was not that he didn’t know his “Bible”, but that he allowed his church to interpret the Scriptures for him. In other words, he was brainwashed by the church system into believing what the church wanted him to believe about the Scriptures. The same goes with churches and church members today.

There are two difficulties that most people, theologians, pastors, churches and denominations have with Paul’s writings. The first is, most are not trained, educated and experienced in the knowledge of Judaism as Paul was. The second, they do not have the Spirit of God teaching them. Therefore, Peter was correct about Paul’s letters when he said, “There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.” 2 Peter 3:16.

Therefore, before we begin, let us look into the past and see what Paul would have seen; and learn what Paul would have known; and understand him as he would have wanted you to understand him. Let us put aside our prejudices, church doctrines and emotions and simply listen to Paul from his perspective.

First of all, who were the Galatians Paul was writing to? In answer to that, let’s take a journey back into history and see them as they were. The Galatian community Paul was writing to was in modern day Turkey. The Galatians were descendants of the Gauls. Ok, who were the Gauls and where did they come from? What were their beliefs and religion? Some believe that in their pagan days the Galatians, or Gauls, worshiped the mother of the gods whom they believed to be Adgistis. You surely didn’t want to be their captive during their worship of mamma. They liked to offer her human sacrifices.

Now, where did they come from? In the 1st century BC, their three tribes: Celtae (Galli), Belgae and Aquitania corresponds to what are now Belgium, France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Western Germany and Northern Italy. (This information comes from Wikipedia)

So how did they get from Germany, France, Switzerland and Northern Italy to Galatia in Turkey? It appears they were very good warriors. If you are a good warrior you don’t have to worry about your enemies. Therefore, you can grow and multiply rapidly. That means, however, you need space to continue your growth and multiplying. They would join together for a common cause, but then after the cause, they would return to their independent, clannish life. They did not wish to unite under one rulership. This concept is very important to keep in mind as we study the letter to the Galatians.

As they moved out conquering more and more territory they came up against the Romans in central and southern Italy. Therefore, they decided to move around them through the Baltic region and down into Greece. According to Julius Caesar, the Gauls went into battle naked except for their weapons. With that information, you might be able to better understand the French, who are the descendants of the Gauls, and their art. Remember the French hero of World War II: Charles De Gaul?

After conquering a Greek king, they served as mercenaries for the Romans and the Greeks. It was as mercenaries for the Greek Seleucid dynasty that brought them to Turkey. Eventually Rome conquered the Greeks and the Gauls settled down and became “civilized”.

What is of interest is the fact that they were never very committed to any one government. They quickly changed sides and went with whomever they thought was going to win. Also, the fact that clothes did not seem very important to them is another factor we will come across in Paul’s letter. All this history Paul would have known and is important for us to understand today. Paul was a student of history. We also should become students of history.

By the time of Paul many Jews had migrated from Jerusalem to the Galatian territory and became financially successful and prominent citizens. Many Christian companies of Galatians and Jews were raised up by the evangelical missionary trips Paul and Barnabas made through the region. Let’s begin now with Paul’s letter.

From: Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead— and all the brothers who are with me.

To: The churches of Galatia:

I understand this concept of being “called by God”. Most ministers, preachers, pastors or priests are appointed by men, their churches or through their own desires. But I was appointed and called by the Holy Spirit to this ministry as Paul was to his. The book, “Change Your Life Biblically” was dictated and directed by the Holy Spirit just as Paul’s letters and the books of the prophets were. I feel a real kinship with Paul in this.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Here we see Paul plainly stating in the beginning of his letter that Jesus Christ came to deliver us from this present evil age. And how? By teaching us to stop sinning. Paul was a strong believer in the teachings of Christ to stop sin in our lives. As he stated, “according to the will of our God . . .”. It is God’s will that we live as Jesus commands us: perfect, without sin and in obedience to the Ten Commandments. Paul also stated in his letter to the Romans, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans 6:1, 2.

Remember what we learned earlier? The Galatians, who were descendants of the Gauls, had learned from their forefathers to be wishy-washy, switching back and forth between different sides. They just couldn’t settle down on an idea or belief or even one ruler and stick with him. It is because of this attribute that Paul writes them this letter.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Let us take a closer look at this concept of “seeking the approval of man” or “trying to please man”. How many of our pastors, churches and denominations are all about pleasing their members? How many are teaching to the itching ears of their members? As Paul plainly stated, he could “not be a servant of Christ” and do that. And yet, that is what our pastors, churches and denominations are doing today. It is all about preaching for the approval of man, money, fame and power. We have truly put our churches and pastors “in place of” Jesus and His teachings. How “anti” Christ.

For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

What gospel are you receiving? The gospel as taught and revealed by Jesus Christ, His disciples and Paul? Or the gospel as taught by man and your church? They are not the same. This is why it is very important to understand the “gospel” as Jesus, the disciples and Paul taught it so you can know the difference between the true gospel and your pastor’s gospel. So what did Jesus and the disciples teach as the “gospel”? In the following texts you will see that Jesus and the disciples taught the “gospel”.

Matthew 4:23: Jesus “went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom . . .”

Matthew 9:35: “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom . . .”

Mark 1:14: “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, . . .”

Luke 9:6: “And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel . . .”

Luke 20:1: “One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, . . .”

Ok, get the point? The gospel did not begin with Paul. He did not invent a new gospel. He was teaching the gospel as taught by Jesus, the Old Testament and the disciples. What where they teaching that was called, “The gospel”? This is what Jesus taught as the gospel:

Matthew 5:48: “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Matthew 19:21: “Jesus said to him, ‘If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’”

John 5:14: “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”

John 8:11: “Then Jesus said, ‘. . . Go home, and from now on do not sin any more.’”

Matthew 5:17, 18: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I didn’t come to destroy them . . . Because I tell you with certainty that until heaven and earth disappear, not one letter or one stroke of a letter will disappear from the Law . . ..”

Luke 10:26: “Jesus answered him, ‘What is written in the Law?’”

Luke 16:17: “It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for one stroke of a letter in the Law to be dropped.”

Luke 16:29: “They have Moses and the Prophets. They should listen to them!”

Mark 10:3: “He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’”

Matthew 19:17: “If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

In these texts we find the essence of the gospel as Jesus, the disciples and Paul would have known and taught. What is that essence?

We are to live perfectly as Jesus lived. In order to live perfectly, we are to stop sinning. In order to stop sinning, we must be obedient to the Ten Commandments. Therefore, to have the gospel in your life is to live the perfect, sinless, commandment keeping life of Jesus.

Paul, who understood this concept of the gospel, is now going to explain the difference between the gospel that Jesus, the disciples and he, taught from the gospel that was creeping into the Galatian church.

For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.

There it is. Paul was contrasting his former life experience in the traditions of his church against the truth of the gospel as Jesus and the disciples taught it. He is laying down the foundation of the difference between God’s true gospel and the man-made gospel of church traditions, services, rituals and forms.

1st: The fake gospel had to do with Paul’s former life. That was his life that was advancing in his church.

2nd: It was a life of form, rituals and traditions of the fathers. Not the gospel of Jesus in changing the life. It simply had to do with church membership and church rules. They had the Ten Commandments but as Jesus said, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!” “Thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.” Mark 7:9, 13.

Paul is telling the Galatians the same thing. That the “different gospel” they were turning to was not the gospel of Jesus but the gospel of the church with its traditions and teachings that were “making void the word of God”.

But when He who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son to me, in order that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!

Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me.

Paul is relating his experience in how God had to separate him from his church, traditions, rituals and rules that had nothing to do with the gospel which Jesus and the disciples were teaching. He had to learn very quickly the true gospel and God sent him into the desert in order for him to commune with Christ to get the true gospel as Christ taught it. Then Paul was ready to preach “the faith he once tried to destroy.”

Do you understand why he tried to destroy it? Because the true gospel has nothing to do with church, rituals, foods or traditions. God had to take Paul out of the church and into a desert experience in order to erase the brainwashing he had received from his church and understand the gospel as revealed in God’s Word alone.

It wasn’t that He didn’t know the gospel, for he did. But the church had buried it under so much man-made human philosophy that he could not recognize it. Therefore, he persecuted what he did not recognize or understand. For him, God was all about “church”. He could not understand God apart from his “church”. Paul equated “church” and “God” as the same thing in his former life. Are you doing the same with your church?

For Jesus and the disciples God was all about obedience to the Ten Commandments and personal responsibility. God has nothing to do with the churches of the world. The true church is not a building or denomination of the world. The true church is spiritual and made up of people who are living in obedience to the teachings of Jesus. Paul had to get a new mind.

Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them - though privately before those who seemed influential - the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.

Here we see Paul setting forth the problem. Much like our church clubs of today which require some kind of initiation in order to belong, his club was “Judaism”. In order to be a “Jew” you had to be “circumcised”. And according to a “Jew”, you could not be saved unless you were a Jew. Today many churches and denominations believe the same thing. They believe that unless you belong to them and go through their initiation rite you are lost. Get the point? They are nothing but worldly clubs.

Paul, who was a Pharisee, understood this very well. That is why he had been persecuting the Christians. They were telling everyone that you could be “saved” without belonging to the “club” of Judaism. They were teaching that circumcision and church traditions were not necessary for eternal life and only obedience to the teachings of Jesus was necessary.

Once Paul got his mind straight, he now understood that concept. He understood that circumcision, holy days, feast days, sacrifices and rituals were never necessary for salvation. Circumcision was simply a symbol, a ritual, like baptism, that a person who belonged to the nation of Israel did in order to show his profession of faith and belief in obedience to the Ten Commandments. But over time the “church” of Israel, or Judaism, made the symbols important for salvation and forgot there true meaning. Churches today are doing the very same thing with baptism, food and their rituals.

Therefore, he is letting the Galatians know that even “Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.” Paul did not negate the Ten Commandments. He was in Jerusalem to share the gospel that he was teaching which was the same gospel as the disciples were teaching; obedience to the Ten Commandments. He was simply demonstrating that circumcision and all the Jewish symbols, traditions, foods and ceremonies had nothing to do with changing the character for heaven.

Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. And from those who seemed to be influential - what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality —those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised - for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles, - and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

So here again, Paul was not disputing about the keeping of the Ten Commandments, “the truth of the gospel”. He was teaching just what Jesus and the disciples were teaching, obedience to the Ten Commandments without all the rituals, sacrifices, foods and traditions of the human church. He took the “truth of the gospel”, obedience to the Ten Commandments, to the uncircumcised as Peter and the disciples took the same “truth of the gospel” to the circumcised.

Paul, as a Pharisee, understood the Jewish economy very well. He knew that there were four basic laws of Israel. Those laws were:

1) The universal Law of the Ten Commandments, the moral law

2) The Israeli national civil laws given at Mt. Sinai

3) The Israeli national health laws given at Mt. Sinai

4) The Israeli national temple laws given at Mt. Sinai

Only the 1st Law, the Royal Law as James calls it, was for eternal life. James told us to “Speak and act as people who will be judged by the law that sets us free.” James 2:12. And where did James and Paul and the disciples get the understanding that the law of the Ten Commandments sets us free? Of course, the Old Testament. “I have gained perfect freedom by following your commands.” Psalm 119:45.

The civil law explained how to obey the Ten Commandments in a community setting. The health Laws were to keep the community healthy. The law of the temple was simply a “teacher” or “pointer” that pointed to the Messiah, the “Lamb of God”, who would come to take away sin. Once Jesus died on the cross, the temple laws, services, traditions and rituals were no longer needed. The Messiah had come.

The civil and health laws were no longer needed as a national requirement since Israel, or Judaism, was no longer an independent nation, but a province of the Roman Empire. All that was left was to be obedient to the Ten Commandments that sets us free from sin and the traditions of man. And that was all that was necessary for eternal life from Genesis to Revelation. While Peter and the rest of the disciples were attempting to teach that concept to the Jews, Paul was teaching it to the Gentiles. As Paul said, “For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God.” 1 Corinthians 7:19. Same gospel, same truth.

It was “false brothers” who were “secretly brought in” who were trying to get the Christians to become enslaved again in Judaism as a “church” instead of living for God in freedom from sin through obedience to His Law of the Ten Commandments. Has your church “secretly brought in” the false gospel through 3ABN, other evangelists, media personalities and church publications?

Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do. But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

They had the same problem back then as we have today in our churches. Peter, what today we would call a “vegan” and “feast-day” follower, was not eating as a “vegan” when eating with the “unvegan”. But when the “vegan” church members came, he withdrew and reverted back to his “vegan” habits. Paul called him on that.

That is the foundation of the controversy. There are three parts to Paul’s statement that we must take individually in order to understand the whole of what he is talking about. Those three parts are:

1. Law

2. Justification

3. Works

Paul is not talking about the Ten Commandment Law. He is, and has been, talking about the religious laws that had to do with being a Jew. Simply put, their “church” laws. Eating and circumcision point the way to what law Paul was talking about in this context. Eating and circumcision are not in the Ten Commandments. They are Jewish laws. Keep in mind, the Ten Commandments are eternal and have always been and are now in Heaven. Revelation 11:19. They were not “given” for the first time to Moses. There were no “Jews” at the time of Moses. They were given to Adam and Eve and reiterated again to the Israelites at Mt. Sinai because the Israelites had spent so many years in bondage that they were in danger of forgetting them.

Therefore, when Paul says, “by works of the law no one will be justified” he is talking about the religious church laws like “veganism” and “feast-days”. They cannot “justify” anyone. Paul understood this. Keep in mind, if Paul was talking about the Ten Commandments here he would be making a liar out of himself and Jesus. How? Because in Romans 2:13 he states, “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.” That is why I keep emphasizing the fact that you must understand what Paul understood.

Paul knew of the four laws. In the latter case he is talking about the Ten Commandments. In the former case he is talking about the temple and Jewish rituals, traditions and services. It is these that have nothing to do with salvation. They cannot justify anyone. The same word, “Law” is used for each, but the word “law” has different meanings for each application.

We are no different today. Let’s say you hear someone talking about his friend who broke the law. You ask, “Will he be going to prison?” Your friend looks at you funny and states, “No, he only broke a traffic law.” Do you see, we have health laws, civil laws, building laws, criminal laws, highway laws, etc. Therefore, when we talk about “law” in our society, we understand what “law” the person is talking about simply by the context and words used in reference to that “law”. The same with Paul. His readers understood the difference between the laws and all they needed was a word or two in order to put into perspective what “law” Paul was talking about.

And this brings us to “works”. Again, unless you know what Paul and the Jews knew, you can get very confused by your church as they misinterpret Paul. Paul will tell you that works have nothing to do with your eternal life. That is because in those contexts he is talking about church works and Jewish legalism, rituals, traditions, feast-days, foods and services. On the other hand, Paul, when talking about the Ten Commandments says, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12. The works that we are to do for our salvation are the works of God, the Ten Commandments, as Jesus commanded. Those works of keeping the Ten Commandments are the works “which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. But the works that have nothing to do with our eternal life are the legalist, self-righteous works of man, church, rituals, services, foods and traditions. Those laws cannot justify anyone. Only faith in the death of Christ and living as He lived, perfect, sinless and commandment keeping can justify us. Romans 2:13.

But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ (notice, in our endeavor, the works God requires for us in order to be justified in Christ), we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.

The temple laws, the sacrifices and rituals that pointed to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, could not justify anyone. They were to die to those laws by giving their lives to God in obedience to the Ten Commandments. Keep in mind, the only reason you had to sacrifice was because you had broken the Ten Commandments, became a sinner, and now were cursed under the law. If you never sinned, you never had to sacrifice a lamb. The sacrifices pointed to the fact that you sinned and needed a sacrifice for your sins. That is why it was through those sacrificial laws that you were to die to them by stopping the sin in your life through obedience to the Ten Commandments. Commandment keepers live under the blessings of God and are not cursed.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

How true. If Christ did not die we would still have to perform the sacrifices of the lamb, in faith, pointing to the Messiah. But now that Jesus died we no longer need the law of sacrifices and temple services. We look in faith back to the grace of the sacrifice of Christ, as they by sacrificing a lamb, looked forward in faith to the grace of the sacrifice of Christ. Same faith. The whole purpose of both sacrifices was to teach us that we are to be “crucified with Christ” in our lives. We are to die to sin in our lives and live perfectly as the perfect lamb was a symbol of the perfect character of Christ. Both Old and New Testaments teach that truth. Nothing has changed except the sacrifice. The problem was, the church made the sacrifices, services, feast-days, foods and rituals their savior and no longer were looking forward to a Messiah who would deliver them from their sins. They were looking for a Messiah to deliver them from the Romans. To give them worldly success. After all, why should they give up such a lucrative business of church for “faith”?

The same is true today. Our churches, pastors and denominations have become our saviors. They have become “anti-Christ”, “anti” meaning, “in place of”. We go to church, we look to church, we obey our church, we talk about our church and none of it is teaching us to change our lives, crucify our sinful natures, and live the perfect, sinless commandment keeping life that Jesus commands us to live. It is all about money, power and control over you. Therefore Paul is so right when he states, “Christ died for no purpose.” For you, the death of Christ is of no purpose. It will do you no good unless you get out of your church, your feast-days and come home to Jesus and make Him your Savior by obeying His true gospel. Are you still so foolish as to belong to a church and be involved with feast-days?

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.

Again, Paul here is contrasting the walk of the Spirit of God which is the keeping of the Ten Commandments, since the Spirit of God cannot deny itself or lie, and the works of the law of church rules, rituals, traditions, feast-days, sacrifices, foods and services. Again, the key word is “crucified”. Those laws, sacrifices, foods, services, rituals and traditions which pointed the way to the crucified Messiah were no longer needed. Those church activities were now no longer relevant. Obeying them is in vain. They have nothing to do with eternal life. They never did. They were just pointers and teachers. Only those who have the faith of Abraham will have eternal life. And what was the faith of Abraham? “Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” Genesis 26:5. Again, a Jew would have understood this. The churches of today have no clue of what Paul is talking about in his letters. Abraham never went to church, never kept “feast-days” but “Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” Genesis 26:5.

And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

Again, to understand Paul, you must understand his terms and words. What was “faith” to Paul? To Paul, having faith was not a “belief”, since the devils “believe” but are not saved, but a principle that produces obedience to the Law of the Ten Commandments. As Paul said, “in order to lead people of all nations to believe and obey.” Romans 1:5. “Remembering before our God and Father your work of faith.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3. “That our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11. As Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does (work) the will of My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21. Those two words, faith and obedience, always went together in the thinking of Bible writers of both Old and New Testaments. For a better understanding of this concept read the 11th chapter of Hebrews to see how the faith of God’s people was demonstrated by their works and obedience to the commands of God.

From Genesis to Revelation all who had faith in God were obedient to His Ten Commandments. Revelation 14:12. Those who were depending on “the works of the law” were not the works of the Ten Commandments, but the works of the temple church rituals, sacrifices, foods and traditions. If you had to go and sacrifice a lamb, it was only because you had lost your faith in God and had broken the Ten Commandments and were under the curse of God. In order to remove that curse you had to look forward in faith to the coming Messiah to pay the penalty for your sin. If not, you would die in your sin. Therefore, you sacrificed a perfect lamb without blemish in order to demonstrate your faith in the perfect Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. The whole purpose of the temple sacrifices, rituals and services were to teach you NOT TO SIN. They were to teach you not to come under the curse by breaking the law of the Ten Commandments.

We are to live perfect, sinless and commandment keeping lives. Jesus Christ died on the cross as the “Lamb of God” in order to redeem us from the curse we came under when we broke the Ten Commandments. All of our past sins put us under a curse of God. If we look to Jesus in faith as our savior from those sins, and turn away from them, and stop sinning, then the death of Christ removes the curse from us and we live under His blessings in faithful obedience to the Ten Commandments. But “if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” Hebrews 10:26. If you are going to church thinking you are saved because you “believe” in Jesus or have been baptized while you continue breaking the Ten Commandments, you are under the curse of God and will be lost. That disobedience does not show faith in Jesus. That is what the Bible calls, “presumption”. True faith in Jesus will produce works of obedience to what Jesus commanded. You will live as Jesus lived: perfect, sinless and commandment keeping. Get out of your church now. Your pastor is teaching you the false gospel.

To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

This is simple to understand when you get your “laws” under control. The “covenant” that God made with mankind was, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:7. Get the point? If you kept the Ten Commandments, you would be accepted. You would be doing well. The Ten Commandments are eternal and have been as long as God has been since they are the character of God written out. Along with the Ten Commandment “Covenant” was the “covenant” from God that He would “put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15.

From Adam to Noah the covenant was in place. That covenant was the promise to those who kept the Ten Commandments that they would get eternal life. The people broke it and God reaffirmed it to Noah. The people broke it again and it was reaffirmed to Abraham and his descendants. In Egypt they broke it and it was reaffirmed to Moses. The covenant had never changed. Therefore, as Paul said, “the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void.”

See, the “law” of the temple services, sacrifices, rituals and traditions given at Mt. Sinai did not in any way “make the promise void” that had been reaffirmed to Abraham. That promise was the covenant that if you kept the Ten Commandments you will have eternal life through faith in the coming Messiah. To understand the fact that the Ten Commandments are the covenant, simply read the Old Testament, as Paul would have done, and read where the “ark of the covenant” held the Ten Commandments, which is the Covenant of God. Numbers 10:33.

So why did Adam and all who believed in the coming Messiah have to sacrifice a lamb when they sinned? Paul answered that, “It was added because of transgressions”. Remember, without the Ten Commandments there would be no sin. Why? “Sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4. Because of our sins we have to recognize our sinful lives and realize that we need a Savior to save us from our sins. That is why before the death of Christ, all who sacrificed in faith received forgiveness for their sins. They were looking forward to the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. As the angel told Joseph, “Name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21. It was “from” sin we are to be saved, not “in” sin.

Therefore, as Paul explained above, the temple services, sacrifices, rituals and traditions could not save anyone. No “righteousness” can be attained through going to church. Only by accepting the fact that all those temple and church activities were to be guardians to teach us to look to the coming Messiah in faith; while we put sin out of our lives by keeping the Ten Commandments in order to become righteous. As David understood “Your righteous decrees are eternal”. Psalm 119:114. The Ten Commandments are righteous and eternal. Therefore, through faith in Jesus, when the Messiah did come, we now are truly sons of God. Sons and daughters who refuse to sin as Jesus refused. We are now sons and daughters who refuse to look to church activities, traditions, foods, services and rituals for our eternal life. We are only to look to Jesus and be obedient to Him and His Kingdom by living according to the Law of His Kingdom: the Ten Commandments. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15.

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

And so it is. There is only one gospel, not many. That gospel is for everyone in all the world. If you have been baptized into Christ, you have taken the pledge to live as Jesus lived: perfect, without sin. Baptism today is what circumcision was to the Jews. You have taken the pledge to die to the old life, turn away from sin and keep the Ten Commandments as Jesus did. That is why Paul said, “I die daily”. 1 Corinthians 15:31. If you do that, you are then Abraham’s offspring and heirs according to promise. And that promise belonged to everyone, not just the Jew. God is no respecter of persons. He doesn’t change. Hebrews 13:8.

I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

Paul here is alluding to their past as pagans when they worshipped the “mother of the gods”, Adgistis. Remember the Gauls and how they used to fight and live? That is one reason Paul said that they “were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.” He was reminding them of what they had come out from. Get the point. Paul was presenting the two aspects of their previous life. Many of the Galatians came out of paganism straight into Christianity. Many had been converted first into Judaism. Paul was simply combining the two since both were equally to be rejected.

All those forms, rituals, feast-days, services and traditions of both pagans and Jews had nothing to do with changing their lives. Those Jewish services, rituals, traditions and sacrifices were to be the guardians that taught the people about Jesus. By looking at the temple diagram, at the top, you can understand it as a teacher of righteousness. Even the pagan sacrifices were rooted in the sacrifice of the “Lamb of God”.

If you sinned against the Ten Commandments, which were in the Most Holy Place, in the “Ark of the Covenant”, you had to bring a lamb to the temple, confess your sin and kill it. It had to be slain and sacrificed. In faith you were looking forward to the “Lamb of God” who would be slain and sacrificed for your sin. The priest would wash his feet and hands in the Laver before entering the Holy Place. This was to show that after we crucify sin in our flesh, we are to wash ourselves with the water of righteousness: the Spirit of God. In the Old Testament, that washing was representative of the New Testament baptism. In the Holy Place he would sprinkle some of the blood before the altar of incense. This was to demonstrate the fact, in faith, that the blood of Jesus would pay the penalty for our sins before the Father.

The Table of Shewbread represented the body of Christ that was to be broken and eaten for our salvation. We are to eat His body by putting His words into our lives and live in obedience to them. Those words are the words He spoke from Mt. Sinai: the Ten Commandments. The Lampstands represented Christ as the Light of the world. His righteousness and perfection were to shine out for all to see. We are to be reflectors of that perfection and righteousness. The perfection and righteousness of Christ is to shine through our obedience to the Ten Commandments.

Therefore, Paul said, “God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law.” And that He did! Jesus was born a Jew, under the temple law. He was circumcised the 8th day at the temple. Later He was presented and dedicated before the Lord at the temple. At the age of 12 he went on his first “feast-day” trip. In every way He was born and lived under the Jewish temple laws in order to redeem us from those Jewish temple laws that served as teachers, guardians, guides and pointers of Himself. When Christ on the cross said, “It is finished”, the temple curtain was ripped, torn from top to bottom by the hand of an angel signifying that the temple sacrifices, services, rituals, feast-days and traditions were no longer necessary to point to the Messiah. They were “weak and worthless”.

But like many today, the Galatians felt safe and peaceful, satisfied in their church performing all those traditions, rituals, feast-days and services. The church had become a peaceful, safe habit. It gave them comfort. All that “doing”, all those man-made “works” made them feel like they were “saved”. Instead of faith in Christ, their faith was in the church. They were lost, as church members are lost today. That is why Paul asked, “whose slaves you want to be once more?” Folks, get out of your churches. You are slaves to them. They will not save you. Don’t let your ego, pride or position keep you in church. Come to Jesus and listen to Him and in faithful obedience to the Ten Commandments become His sons and daughters. Paul was very adamant about this.

You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain. Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong. You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. What then has become of your blessedness? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me. Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

Here again you see where Paul is separating the Law of the church of Judaism from the Ten Commandments. He is talking about the observance of “days and months and seasons and years”. These had to do with being a Jew in the Jewish nation: their church. None of that has to do with obedience to the Ten Commandments. As I have found, telling people the truth usually makes enemies out of them. Paul was asking the same thing, “Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?”

Those from the church who were peddling the false gospel were making “much of you, but for no good purpose”. In other words, they were flattering them, making them feel good and telling them “feel good” words. They wanted to make good church members out of them by what they ate and did for the church. They wanted to boast about how many members their church had. But it had nothing to do with salvation. Have you seen the same with your church? What did Paul want of them? “Christ is formed in you!” That is all Jesus wants of us, to have His character, His perfection, His sinlessness, His life of keeping the Ten Commandments of God, formed in us. That is the only way that will get us into Heaven. Everything else is useless.

Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.” Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

Paul here is giving an example of the two “laws”. Ishmael was born out of human feelings, pride, selfishness and arrogance. To put it bluntly, he was born because of sin. He was born by human works. God did not tell Abraham to have a relationship with Hagar. That was a choice Abraham and Sarah made on their own. How like our churches today and the Jews of Christ’s day. Nowhere in all the Bible will you find where we are instructed to build or go to “church”. The whole church system has taken the place of God’s will for our lives as Ishmael took the place of Isaac in the beginning. But it was not God’s will for the temple services, rituals, foods, sacrifices or traditions to take the place of living in faithful obedience to the Ten Commandments. But that is what human feelings, desires, pride and selfishness did. It made all those church things more important than obedience to God.

Paul is explaining that we must become like Isaac and be born by the Spirit and command of God and not by human wisdom, feelings, pride or selfishness. We must be children of the promise, not children of man’s church. As Paul said, “But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.” The Ten Commandments reside in Heaven, the “Jerusalem above”. Revelation 11:19. That is where the promises of God originated. The promises of God are given in the Old and New Testaments. Those who obey Jesus and live as He lived, perfect, sinless and commandment keeping, have eternal life. They are the children of the promise. Those who live for church have no promise of God for eternal life.

It is always the church who persecutes the righteous children of God who are obedient by faith to His Ten Commandments. The only persecutors this ministry has are those who belong to churches. Especially the Sabbath-going vegan church people and those who keep the feast-days. Why? Because they do not know God. They are not children of God since they have not been born of the promise but of the flesh. It is all about church, church, church, food, food, food. They hate us who live and teach obedience to Jesus. Therefore, we are to cast out the church and let in the Spirit of God to teach us how to live by the promise of faith by obedience to the Ten Commandments as Abraham was.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

Again, Paul wants to make sure you understand he is talking about the laws of the temple and belonging to Judaism, his old church. That is why Paul reiterates again, “if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.” That “whole law” would be all the temple services, rites, ceremonies, sacrifices, traditions and foods. They have nothing to do with obedience to Jesus and the Ten Commandments. By going to church, submitting to church rules, traditions, forms, ceremonies, foods and rites “you have fallen away from grace.” They substitute themselves for obedience to Jesus. They have become “anti – Christ”, “Anti” meaning “In place of”. Churches today stand in the place of Christ. The churches no longer teach the teachings of Jesus to be perfect, to stop sinning or to keep the Ten Commandments to get our eternal life. Therefore, if you continue in the church, you are lost.

You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves! For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

“Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” And who is the “truth”? Jesus is the truth. And what did Jesus teach? To be perfect, stop sinning and to keep the Ten Commandments for our eternal life. Who is hindering you from obeying the truth? Is it your church, your pastor, your denomination? If I were still teaching church, I would not be persecuted by church people. What your church, pastor and denomination is teaching you today is not from God who has called you to His perfect way of living. You see folks, to be a Christian, a true, obedient Christian, is to accept the offense of the cross. But few today want to accept the offense of the cross. Few want to sacrifice for Jesus. They want the world and Jesus. It can’t be done. So they go to church, living for the world while they claim to be Christian and “saved”. God is not pleased with you for breaking the 3rd commandment. If you claim to be a Christian and are not living as Jesus commanded, you are taking the name of God in vain. Paul now goes back to the Old Testament to explain how to keep the Ten Commandment law.

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Paul here is touching on the Ten Commandments. You see, when the Jewish “church people” started talking about rituals, feast-days, services, foods and traditions of the church, sin entered and they became sinners with their infighting, back-biting and gratifying the desires of the flesh. So Paul is showing now that their controversies in “church” are doing nothing to lead them to the Ten Commandments and love. All the temple services, traditions, rituals, foods and sacrifices were to lead us to the Messiah and back to the Ten Commandments of love. In other words, all the law, the Ten Commandments, the civil laws, the health laws and the temple laws were all designed to teach us how to love each other.

But instead, the church used the church rituals, traditions, foods and obligations as instruments of hate, fighting, griping, complaining, finger pointing, gossiping and destruction. Putting the church laws above the law of the Ten Commandments only brought out the evil desires of the flesh which war against the Spirit of God and the Ten Commandments. So Paul is contrasting here the behavior of those who keep the Ten Commandments in love and those who are perishing by pushing “church rules, rituals, foods and traditions”. The church only produced “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.” All of that is against the Ten Commandments. You cannot obey the Ten Commandments and live as outlined above. Now Paul shows the difference between what the church produces and what the Ten Commandments of God produce.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

None of God’s laws are against the fruit of the Spirit. The “fruit of the Spirit” is generated by the keeping of God’s Ten Commandments. Jesus said, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” John 6:63. It is church that produces the environment for the breaking of God’s law which leads to all the other wicked behaviors God will not allow into heaven. As long as we belong to a church we feel safe to break the commandments of God while still believing we are saved.

Let us do what the Bible commands and get out of our churches, those viper nests, and return to Jesus and His love, the Ten Commandments. Let us demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in our lives by being obedient to Jesus in living His perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life. Paul tells us what a true church of Christ would look like.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.

Paul is drawing a line in the sand between the two “laws”. Paul is very plain that we are to “fulfill the law of Christ.” That Law is the Law Christ spoke from Mt. Sinai and wrote with His own finger on the tablets of stone: The Ten Commandments. That Law is the character of God. As Jesus came to fulfill the law, so Paul commands us to also “fulfill the law of Christ”.

Those who claim that Paul did away with the Ten Commandment law are of the devil. For as the Bible teaches, “sin is the transgression of the law”. 1 John 3:4. Those who claim we cannot stop sinning are of the devil. Those who claim we cannot live perfectly are of the devil. As Paul said, “if anyone is caught in any transgression.” The Bible tells us clearly that those who think they are something by teaching that we can be saved by breaking the Ten Commandments are deceived.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.

How true. The Spirit of God was sent to remind us of what Jesus taught and to bring us into unity with that teaching. Through the teachings of Christ to be perfect, stop sinning and to keep the Ten Commandments we are sowing “to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life”.

It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.

It is churches, pastors and denominations who “want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be” baptized and become church members, obedient to church rules, traditions, feast-days, services, foods and rituals. But none of that will get you into heaven. All of it is so “they may boast in your flesh”. But they “do not themselves keep the law”.

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.

Have you been crucified unto the world? Or are you still living for the things of this world, unable to give them up in your heart, soul and mind? Is that why you are deluding yourself by going to church? Unless you get out of your church you have no eternal life. “Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4.

“From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” I have been hated, hurt, persecuted and people have tried to kill me for keeping and teaching the truth about the Ten Commandments and the Sabbath. And yet how many “Sabbath keepers” cause me trouble from their nice comfortable rocking chairs nit-picking, griping and complaining about the truth this ministry was commanded to teach by Jesus. They have never brought one person to Jesus and yet they claim to know the truth of Jesus because they are church members.

“I saw that the minds of some of the church have not run in the right channel. There have been some peculiar temperaments that have had their notions by which to measure their brethren. And if any did not exactly agree with them, there was trouble in the camp at once. Some have strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel.

“These set notions have been humored and indulged altogether too long. There has been a picking at straws. And when there were no real difficulties in the church, trials have been manufactured. The minds of the church and the servants of the Lord are called from God, truth, and heaven to dwell upon darkness. Satan delights to have such things go on; it feasts him. But these are none of the trials which are to purify the church and that will in the end increase the strength of God’s people.

“I saw that some are withering spiritually. They have lived some time watching to keep their brethren straight—watching for every fault to make trouble with them. And while doing this, their minds are not on God, nor on heaven, nor on the truth; but just where Satan wants them—on someone else. Their souls are neglected; they seldom see or feel their own faults, for they have had enough to do to watch the faults of others without so much as looking to their own souls or searching their own hearts. A person’s dress, bonnet, (food) or apron takes their attention. They must talk to this one or that one, and it is sufficient to dwell upon for weeks. I saw that all the religion a few poor souls have consists in watching the garments and acts of others, and finding fault with them. Unless they reform, there will be no place in heaven for them, for they would find fault with the Lord Himself. {1T 144-145}

Coming “out of her” is not just physically leaving the church. You must cut off the religious TV programs, church papers and everything that has to do with “church”. It is brainwashing you. It gives you a false sense of “being saved”. Put all that time and energy into reading the Bible and listening to the Word of God. Listen to the Spirit of God in silence and Jesus will tell you your duty, personally, for eternal life.

 

TIME WITH JESUS

Only Through Faith

This work can be accomplished only through faith in Christ, by the power of the indwelling Spirit of God. The Christian will feel the promptings of sin, but he will maintain a constant warfare against it. Here is where Christ’s help is needed. Human weakness becomes united to divine strength, and faith exclaims: “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57.

The work of sanctification is progressive. When in conversion the sinner finds peace with God the Christian life has just begun. Now he is to “go on unto perfection,” to grow up “unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Hebrews 6:1; Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 3:14.

Those who experience Bible sanctification will manifest humility. They see their own unworthiness in contrast with the perfection of the Infinite One. The prophet Daniel was an example of true sanctification. Instead of claiming to be pure and holy, this honored prophet identified himself with the really sinful of Israel as he pleaded before God in behalf of his people. Daniel 10:11; 9:15, 18, 20; 10:8, 11.

There can be no self-exaltation, no boastful claim to freedom from sin on the part of those who walk in the shadow of Calvary’s cross. They feel that it was their sin which caused the agony that broke the heart of the Son of God, and this thought will lead to self-abasement. Those who live nearest to Jesus discern most clearly the frailty and sinfulness of humanity, and their only hope is in the merit of a crucified and risen Saviour.

The sanctification now gaining prominence in the religious world carries a spirit of self-exaltation and disregard for the law of God that mark it as foreign to the Bible. Its advocates teach that sanctification is an instantaneous work, by which, through “faith alone,” they attain perfect holiness. ‘Only believe,’ say they, ‘and the blessing is yours.’ No further effort on the part of the receiver is supposed to be required. At the same time they deny the authority of the law of God, urging that they are released from obligation to keep the commandments. But is it possible to be holy without coming into harmony with the principles which express God’s nature and will?

The testimony of the Word of God is against this ensnaring doctrine of faith without works. It is not faith that claims the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions upon which mercy is to be granted. It is presumption. See James 2:14-24.

Let none deceive themselves that they can become holy while willfully violating one of God’s requirements. Known sin silences the witnessing voice of the Spirit and separates the soul from God. Though John dwells so fully upon love, he does not hesitate to reveal the true character of that class who claim to be sanctified while living in transgression of the law of God. ‘He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected.’ 1 John 2:4, 5. Here is the test of every man’s profession. If men belittle and make light of God’s precepts, if they ‘break one of the least of these commandments and teach men so’ (Matthew 5:18, 19), we may know that their claims are without foundation. {HF 290-291}

 

PRISON MISSION REPORT

Dear Brother Ronald,
As I study these 8 steps, they are becoming more and more important in my life. I very much agree with the fact that a lot of Bible studies these days leave out any study of the Old Testament and I believe we need to know one as much as the other. My grandmother tried her best to raise us up in church and telling us that if we followed the Ten Commandments we would do well in life. I never knew just how serious I should have taken that. Since receiving your introductory issue, I have found myself enveloped in the desire to learn, learn and learn more. These 8 steps: faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, preservations, godliness, brotherly kindness and love, what amazing steps they are. My faith has always led me to perform certain acts but I now have the desire to perform them well. I now want to worship on the Sabbath as God would have me do. Loving God, loving one another, helping others, especially the poor and helpless, these are all things we should all strive harder to do in life. I particularly enjoyed the story of the wounded man left for dead that the Samaritan stopped to nurse back to health when no one else would give him the time of day. I’d like to think of myself as that Samaritan sometimes and I strive to be like that at all times. I am a work in progress, like many others. Brotherly kindness is a big one for me. Of course I’ve always been the sister to cause all the harm and embarrassment and to be down on my luck more often than not. I could never understand how my sister could turn her back on me being the Christian that she claimed to be. I have been quoting to her in recent letters from your booklet, the Introductory Issue, and I seem to be making progress with her. That is most definitely good news. I never thought I’d be one to teach her anything from the Bible. I know and believe that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me and I am so overjoyed at the happiness I now feel every morning I wake up. I am excited to do good works for Him. I enjoyed reading the way you broke down and represented these 8 steps to us. I am looking forward to learning more upon receipt of your self-published book, “Change Your Life Biblically”.
Teresa, TN

Dear Ronald,
Wow, was I ever surprised and greatly encouraged to see my letter in “the Everlasting Gospel” issue. Even more so, the issue itself re-focused me and strengthened my resolve to live and share the true gospel. Perhaps I have not communicated clearly how impacting your ministry is to me. You tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I no longer feel alone in my efforts to live a holy life. Thank you. If there is any way I can continue to study with you while still engaged with my ministry to bring the truth into our chapel here, I would very much like to do that. I would like to be mentored and encouraged in sopping sin, living the 10 Commandments and being perfect as God is perfect. After reading this last issue, I am praying about doing a prayer-share-study group on the 10 Commandments. If you are able to mentor me in holiness and Christian living in the context of my current commitments, I will be deeply grateful. I know and trust the Holy Spirit will guide you in the correct path for this situation.
Donna, CA

Dear Prison Ministry,
This past Sunday I was attending church when on the display table your information caught my eye. It was a true blessing because I have been wanting a new Bible. Being incarcerated has its challenges, but my faith in God is solid. Though sometimes it can be a struggle, I thank you for having a program for inmates which helps so much to get us out of the struggle. You encourage in more ways than you know for us that are incarcerated. Please continue to be a blessing.
John, NC

Greetings,
I give all honor and glory to God for blessing me with your information. I am so glad that you all are reaching out to the prisons with God’s love. Thank you for being true warriors of God during these last days. I would like to be enrolled into the programs you offer. I pray that God will continue to bless this ministry.
Timothy, VA

Dear Brother John,
I received the book and booklet and have been studying daily to sharpen my sword. I would have written sooner but I’ve had no stamps. Anyway, I’m sending another poem to post on my page if you will. Soon I will take a picture to post also.
Aaron, NC

To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Albert and I would love to work in your ministry. Please send me everything I need to attain my certificate.
Albert, IN

Dear Ron,
I want to thank you for your magazine. Before I came to prison, I was of the Muslim faith. After some brother talk to me about the Bible and Christianity, he gave me a brand new Bible. I started reading and I believe in God and Jesus. I am new to Christianity and I am so happy. As soon as I started to read the Bible I felt the power of God and also I received the truth. Now lots of people come and ask me about the Bible. I am so happy I can help some young people and tell them how to follow the Bible.
Javad, CA

Hello,
I was told about your program by a friend. I am interested in the Bible studies.
Amanda, NC

Dear Brother John,
I have rad through the Introductory Issue several times featuring 2nd Peter’s 8 Steps and have responded to each of the sections. I am now wondering just what is my next step toward receiving the book, “Change Your Life Biblically”. I am certainly in desire to have a copy. One of my brothers in our prison congregation was telling us about the book and of all of the new found knowledge that he had attained from it, and now I too desire to have opportunity to read it. Can you, will you, please send me an issue.
James, IL

To Whom It May Concern,
The brother that came in to be our teacher brought in the booklet, “Change Your Life Biblically”. He said it contained good information for those that wanted to learn more of God, His Son Jesus Christ and how to live a life for them. I would like to receive the booklet. Since becoming a Christian I have bene going through many trials. I know that this is part of the process to help us grow stronger in our faith. I still need help and have been seeking a variety of sources as long as they line up with God’s word. I was told that your booklet does just that.
Richard, CA

Dear Ron,
I am very interested in receiving your free Bible study courses and everything it has to offer in my righteous walk to developing a stronger relationship with Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. I would love to be part of Jesus Christ Prison Ministry.
Keith, FL

JCPM,
My roommate received something about getting Old and New Testament and Bible studies and also pen-pals. If you could sign me up for these programs I would be very grateful.
Michael, GA

Dear Sir,
Please provide me with a copy of “Change Your Life Biblically” as I have already read and reviewed the intro packet. As I continue to strive towards positive, permanent change while simultaneously growing in the Spirit, I had myself openly reaching for any source material that will allow me to advance. I believe that your book and its teaching will do just that. Fortunately a good friend of mine already has a copy of the book and is both willing and wanting to study and learn together. Perhaps the two of us can and will inspire others.
Raul, CA

To Whom It May Concern,
I am locked in my cell twenty three hours a day and religious services and programs are not offered. Therefore, I rely on the kindness of others for reading material and as of now I don’t even have a Bible. Anything you could send me new and in paperback would be greatly appreciated.
W, C

 

Ministry News


Thank you folks for your love, kindness and support to this little ministry. Little by little the “little” home here at the ministry is being finished. It is so wonderful to have a “home” that doesn’t leak, isn’t falling down, isn’t so breezy that the sand pours in or so full of holes that the mice, rates, snakes and other critters come in. Thank you again for your love and support.

We have only 2300 books left. With another $1500 a month we could send them all out this year and reach every inmate who requests the book. Let us not let another soul be lost.
May God bless each of you as you continue to keep this little ministry working for Jesus.

Love in Christ,

Ron

 

Ministry News

I want to thank each of you who sacrifice for this little ministry. Those of you who “deny themselves in many ways” so inmates can hear the truth as Jesus taught it. God is looking for those who will support His work, not their egos, pride and arrogance. He is watching to see if you will support your “anti” Christ churches and denominations or if you will humble yourself and listen to Him and support those who are teaching His truth: stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments in order to get your eternal life.

To live as Jesus lived is our only safety. To live as Jesus commands is our only sure hope of eternal life. We must live His perfect, sinless life by keeping all the Ten Commandments; not just the one that makes us look good in the eyes of our church.

So many requests are coming in we are in need of more donors. Our postage, paper, ink, toner and office supplies run almost $15,000 a year. I pray that those of you who have not experienced the blessings of supporting this little ministry will put God to the test. “Bring the entire tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in My house. So, put Me to the test in this right now,” says the LORD of the Heavenly Armies, “and see if I won’t throw open the windows of heaven for you and pour out on you blessing without measure.” Malachi 3:10

Love in Christ.

Ron