Photograph from http://www.gracerivers.com/change-heart/
O you poor and silly and thoughtless and unreflecting and senseless Galatians! Who has fascinated or bewitched or cast a spell over you, unto whom—right before your very eyes—Jesus Christ (the Messiah) was openly and graphically set forth and portrayed as crucified?
2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the [Holy] Spirit as the result of obeying the Law and doing its works, or was it by hearing [the message of the Gospel] and believing [it]? [Was it from observing a law of rituals or from a message of faith?] Galatians 3:1-2
Let me give you a little history on why Paul wrote this letter to the church of Galatia. They had come to know the message of salvation and accepted it. After they accepted the only way to heaven was to believe on our Lord Jesus Christ and not from anything else we could do, they fell back into “traditions” and old laws. Because of this their focus was taken off of Jesus crucified and Jesus alone, to what they could do to supposedly become “more righteous”. Paul warned them, they were digressing through getting into works of the flesh! Anything we can do instead of depending on faith in God and His word to do for us is “works of the flesh”! It is the blood of Jesus alone, NOT the blood plus ANYTHING else!! If we think it is, we are acting foolishly and have been tricked by the enemy, according to our scripture!
Let me give you a few examples. In this picture, point out to me who is saved and who is not. You cannot do it! Just because you sit on a pew, and I AM NOT saying don’t go to church, doesn’t mean you are saved and on your way to heaven! God did not say sit yourself into salvation, He said unless you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and receive Him as your Lord you cannot go to heaven! We have FAITH in Jesus and what He did for us and accept it, therefore salvation comes to us!
I have watched people try to take salvation, the receiving of blessings, prosperity, healing, getting their children into church and out of the world, etc. and make it a work of the flesh other than FAITH IN GOD! Now, my dear reader, before I go any further let me make myself abundantly clear! I have had people I know read my blogs come and gripe me out saying I said things that was not even there! I had to challenge a dear lady one time to go back and read again and to show me what she was accusing me of writing! She had read something and ASSUMED she knew what I meant and twisted the meaning. Needless to say, she did not come back and point out what SHE said I had written because it was not there! In other words, PLEASE don’t try to read between the lines. I will outright tell you if I mean something different!! With that being said, I am very much in favor of demonstrations of the Holy Spirit!! In fact, I LOVE THEM! I know dancing in the Spirit (I do NOT believe in choreographed dancing) is real and is of the Lord, I know laughing in the Spirit is real, I believe running is a demonstration of joy in the Spirit, BUT I know for a fact these things DO NOT CAUSE YOU TO RECEIVE ANY THING FROM GOD! FAITH is what moves the hand of God toward you! Running, dancing, laughing, jumping up and down, etc. does not save you, heal you, or deliver you! Asking on the grounds of God’s word and believing by faith in Him is what gets these for you! Now, you can have great and unspeakable joy that makes you want to do these things because BY FAITH you know you have what you have asked of Him by faith in Christ Jesus, but if you are doing these things to GET something from God, you have moved over into works of the flesh. I have literally heard people say with my own ears, “I ran my son into church!!” There is no place in the Bible that supports this theory or ever APPROVES it! Works of the flesh NEVER bears fruit! Dear reader, we are called TO BEAR FRUIT!! Faith and doing THE WORD is what causes us to bear fruit and receive from God! This is how you know if it is works of the flesh or faith….did any fruit of the spirit come out of it? Did you grow in your love walk, patience, meekness, etc. by doing those things? If not, you need to examine the source of the demonstration. Did I just “feel” something and get excited, or did I believe for something and knew I received it with great joy? When God moves on you, He leaves His fingerprint and it is always love, in you AND for you and for others!
I have watched people do these things and thought, “Wow! Now that person is really in tune with the Spirit!” just to find out later they were rude, argumentative, and condescending. When we have been with God we are full of joy, love and peace. The Bible says in His presence is FULNESS OF JOY, not moodiness! It is so funny, one day I went to lunch with some friends. They told me that day a visiting speaker had come to their church and talked about recognizing “mature” Christians. He had gone to eat with a group of people and as they got their food no one said the blessing. He remembered and announced to the table He was more spiritual because he had not forgotten and he then said it for himself and everyone else at the table. Soon our food came and the people that told me this story began to “dig in” and forgot to say the blessing! I jokingly said, “Oh, I must be the spiritual one at this table because I was the only one who remembered we needed to say the blessing” (or grace, depending on where you are from). Of course, this was a joke!! But, how sad that again WORKS instead of faith was the measure of how Godly we were! Should we say grace….YES! We should always be thankful, but we don’t measure that by how “spiritually mature” we are! Because of our faith and obedience to God and His word, we are in right standing and on our way from glory to glory! Promotion ALWAYS comes from the Lord, not by what we can cook up and do, so to speak!
Remember my Aunt Doris’ motto, “Stay in the word, stay on your knees, and stay in church!” That is Bible, my dear reader and none of it is a “work of the flesh” yet, it works!! She was one of the most loving saints you ever could have met! She knew something of maturity and never “lauded” it over you. She just loved you to it!
Let us determine to stay in the word, stay on our knees and stay in church. But more than anything, let us determine to stay in faith and love!
Blessings to you, dear reader! I will see you soon!!