If you want to understand what is wrong with what most churches teach, this might help.
What we teach on this website is not what you normally hear in Protestant, Catholic and non-orthodox "Christian" denominations (Mormons, etc). The truth of God's Word has always been carried down through the ages by the remnant, those who depend on God's teaching rather than human understanding.
Institutional religion has never recognized the critical errors it made early on in interpreting the books and letters that became the New Testament. Following the resurrection of Jesus, all believers were Jewish. As Gentiles came to know Christ, there was no distinction between Jewish believers and Gentiles believers. But minor conflicts began to arise between the two groups that grew more intense. The animosity at times was very bitter, and the two groups eventually became separate from one another. Over the next 300 years or so, as the Gentiles tried to understand the writings of the Apostles, all but one of whom were Jewish, they did so with a Gentile mindset. The Jews had become the enemy in the view of the religious establishment. They began to believe that the Bible was written directly to them. They completely lost their understanding of the Jewish context of the New Testament.
This led to the unbiblical mixing of Old Covenant law (self-empowered living) and New Covenant grace (t-empowered living). The Gentiles were teaching a religion they really did not understand. They failed to recognize that God had ended the Law and replaced it with a Covenant based on better promises (Hebrews 8:6). They missed the central truth of the New Testament, the indwelling life of Jesus Christ. Christ's life within is rarely taught in churches today. Teaching is almost always about how to live a life pleasing to God; it may sound good but this is works, not faith.
Old Covenant Law: The Never-Ending Struggle to be Acceptable
The blending of law and grace has led people to try to live by a law that really has not existed for 2,000 years. It became a man-made law that prompted people to live by their own human effort instead of by faith. Faith is following Jesus, who lives in your born again heart, as He lives His life in you and through you. No longer is it self-effort attempting to follow a set of rules. The motivation is internal, not external.
God ended the Law after Jesus fulfilled and completed the Law (Romans 10:4). The great tragedy is that trying to live under law causes sin to increase, not decrease (Romans 5:20) because sin's power is the law (1 Corinthians 15:56). Although the Law was holy, it was the very opposite of faith (Galatians 3:12). Trying to be righteous by following the law has never, and will never, result in being declared righteous (Romans 3:20) because people cannot be as righteous as God by their own human efforts, no matter how hard they try. Rather, by faith, God gives the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17) to those who believe in Jesus Christ. The change is from, "Do not steal" to "I don't want to steal."
What shocks many people is that the Apostle Paul declared that the Law is the "ministry of death" (2 Corinthians 3:7) and the "ministry of condemnation" (2 Corinthians 3:9). If you try to present yourself to God based on your own merits, you will be found, "not righteous." To make matters worse, under the Old Covenant Law, failure in one part of the law meant you broke the entire law (James 2:10). God promised the children of Israel that there was a better promise where He would write the righteousness of the Law on their hearts (Jeremiah 31:33).
Beginning in the Spirit, Now Trying to be Perfected in the Flesh?
Many disparage New Covenant grace not realizing that it is the "ministry of righteousness" (2 Corinthians 3:9b) and the ministry of the life-giving Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:6). They claim that grace "gives license to sin." This incorrect way of thinking says that if you who commit grievous or frequent sins, you are not really a true believer; but if you commit lesser and fewer sins, you can confess them and get back in "fellowship with God." This is looking at life from a sin model, not a righteousness model. Grace does give freedom because it liberates you from the burden of trying to be righteous by your own efforts; some do abuse it. But, the purpose of grace is to live righteously by the power of Christ in you, not by the efforts of your mortal flesh. The Apostle Paul warned against getting back under law and self-effort living (Galatians 3:13; 5:1).
The Apostles Paul addresses this issue when he says in Romans 6:1-2 "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" The key to understanding this is that when you trusted Christ as Savior, God literally removed your old sinful inner spirit; He replaced that spirit with a new heart. Then, the Spirit of Jesus came to live in you and joined His life eternally as one to your new spirit. You can't sin in your new heart because you are born of God (1 John 3:9). Therefore, righteous living is experienced when you follow Christ's indwelling life by faith rather than living life by your own human efforts.
Those who teach how to live the Christian life, the do's and don'ts of how to live a life pleasing to God, are really teaching law. They are inadvertently teaching bondage to sin and are guilty of exactly what the Apostle Paul is charging in his letter to the Galatians (Galatians 3:2,3,11,12,5:4). Preachers throughout the world teach this same message week in and week out, how to live a life pleasing to God. They are teaching law and putting you under bondage to sin. Live the life of faith and you will be free (John 8:36; 1 Peter 2:16).
Top of Page