The Thing About Obedience

There is a nasty word in the Scriptures and really gets the ire of modern Christians. It is the word, “Obedience.” For some reason just hearing the word will raise the hairs on the back of our necks. But actually, it shouldn’t. Our problem is that we confuse how it is taught in the Old Testament and how it is different under Yeshua’s Lordship.

Now, before we begin it is important that we understand that the sacrificial system of the Torah was not mechanical, legalistic, or useless. It was structured and “God ordained” for the benefit of Isra’el, and it did exactly what He intended it to do. It only became useless when the people of God lost their faith and became disobedient. When that happened, Yahweh’s people turned away and tried to use the sacrificial system like a magic spell or a magic ritual, just like modern-day Christians use the Name of Jesus. That is when it became indeed useless. The sacrificial system always required fidelity to the Creator, and a heart full of faith by those who trusted in Him.

It is no different with Jesus Christ. His sacrifice is only effective for those who have faith in Him and in the Sacrifice of His life. Now, what His sacrifice accomplished was entirely different than what the sacrificial system accomplished. For one thing, the Old Testament sacrificial system covered their sins. It did not remove the sin. However, the New Testament sacrificial system (actually sacrifice, because there was only one) actually removed and eradicated the sin!

Look at Leviticus 26, where God said that He would not accept their sacrifices (their burnt offerings), even though they did them in His name, in His Temple, even generally in the way Yahweh told the Israelites to do them — however, their hearts were not right. Consider what Jesus said about those who will offer their own form of sacrifices to God in Christ’s name, but they won’t be acceptable either. I know, you are wondering what I am talking about. Well, Jesus said,

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we force out demons and do many miracles by the power and authority of your name?’ Then I will tell them publicly, ‘I’ve never known you. Get away from me, you evil people” —Matthew 7:22-23

Ouch! Well, it just to happens that the words of Leviticus 26 are the context for Jesus’ words of Matthew 7. And, as Revelation reveals, in the end, our Church buildings will be chocked full of people who come every Sunday, sing in the choir, serve as deacons and elders, faithfully tithe, wouldn’t miss a Wednesday evening gathering, and have a little fish symbol on their bumper; and because these folks — probably really nice people — just went through the motions and enjoyed the traditions, but their hearts were not filled with the Holy Spirit because they never put their trust in Jesus, they were cast out. Jesus told them outright, to depart from Him. Scary. Scary. Scary!

By the way: what words did Jesus use to identify this group of people whom He would not accept? He said, “you who practice lawlessness.” Those of you whose Bible say “you who practice iniquities” — cross that out right now. That is NOT what the text reads! The Greek word is anomia. Let me quote a couple of standard concordances for you as to what that word means:

458 avnomi,a anomia {an-om-ee’-ah}

Meaning: 1) the condition of without law 1a) because ignorant of it 1b) because of violating it 2) contempt and violation of law

He wasn’t talking about criminals. This isn’t about stealing and cheating. When Jesus referred to the law it always meant one thing, and one thing only: the Laws of Moses!

What was it that these people were doing that Jesus said amounted to lawlessness? They were prophesying and casting our demons in His name! That was their crime? That was certainly not against any Roman law. They could never be arrested by Jews or Romans for casting out demons. No, the issue is these people, who were casting out demons and prophesying in His name, were doing so without faith, and without the Torah written on their hearts! And, that’s against the Laws of Moses.

So, just as the sacrificial system was only for the Israelites, so the sacrifice of Christ is only for those who would trust Him. I am heartsick when I hear preachers and pastors yell the politically correct “Christ died for the whole world!” No, He didn’t. He died for those who prefer Christ to the world. As a result, we now have Gay ministers, we have churches who don’t believe one Biblical thing about Christ, and we have the doctrine of love, meaning that God wouldn’t ever send anybody to Hell.

“for god so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life . . .” —John 3:16

Did you catch that? Not anyone can have eternal life, only if they believe in Him. And, man, that is only a few people — a remnant — compared to the billions and billions who have come and gone on this planet.

Sobering, isn’t it?

Doulos Studies

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you—a to the list: Mail List)

I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.

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