05 May 2013

It's Time For You To Be Free

The Law was not supposed to be something that lasted forever. It was developed by God and Moses to help organize and lead slaves.
Obey your master or else.

What so many fail to realize is that although the Israelites were indeed free after they left Egypt, they still had a very slave-like mindset. Everything they learned was slavery. Sure they heard stories passed down from Jacob's family, but their interaction with God was non-existent (Exo 34:29-35). They had no clue who he was. After Joseph's reign, there was nothing written in the Bible about the Israelites. This was a very dark and embarrassing moment in Israel's history. They lived four hundred years with the hand of God, but had nothing to show for it. There was nothing worth writing about in God's Word.

Generation after generation knew nothing, but Egyptian slavery and the Egyptian culture. If we were to become slaves of Mexico, we would adopt their culture and way of life too. We would know more about their gods, their culture, and eventually develop a similar mindset. Our captures would see to it.

The Israelites also didn't have any hope. Being a slave in a foreign land and having no hope is a recipe for disaster. Since they never knew God, the Israelites never saw a way out. So, they did the only thing they knew - be good little slaves.

The Israelites had the numbers and the authority to overcome any adversary, but they chose to remain in Egypt (Exo 1:8-14). They stayed there as if their hands were tied. They believed they couldn't do anything about it. However, if they would have only sought God like their father Abraham, they would have quickly learned that God would have given them the victory. Unfortunately, this didn't happen. They just kept doing what they always did.

Finally, God came up with an elaborate plan to not only rescue the Israelites, but to also show them his power (Exo 14:30-31). He was hoping the slaves would finally see the truth through all the signs and wonders he did through Moses. He showed them miracle after miracle to prove that he was for them and would deliver them from their captivity. But, they still didn't believe. Even after all he did, they just kept grumbling about how miserable they were (Exo 16:1-12). They even had the audacity to ask Moses if they could return to Egypt (to be slaves again) (Exo 14:10-14). God couldn't convince his own beloved people to believe anything he said no matter how hard he tried.

Yet, he was intent on keeping his Word.

The only reason he was helping Israel was because he made a promise long ago to some of his dear friends. You see, God actually had a real relationship with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exo 2:23-25). These guys were very close to him. Believe it or not, Jacob even wrestled face-to-face with God (and we all know what happens when 2 dudes fight each other - they usually become good friends) (Gen 32:22-31). And, God was determined to make sure their names were stamped in history, forever (Exo 3:13-17). So, he made a way.

God and Moses quickly learned that the Israelites would never be anything more than slaves. Even though they were completely free and had the power and might of God's right hand behind them, they still couldn't get it through their thick-headed skulls that he was going to take care of them (Exo 6:1). Instead, they just stood back in utter fear of the one Man that saved their lives from living hell (Exo 20:18-21). All he wanted was for them to trust him and believe, but they just couldn't do it.

Then, they started getting out of hand.

God and Moses were having a difficult time organizing and getting Israel to behave (Exo 32:7-14). They needed rules to follow because that's all they knew. It's what they were used to. They also needed a master. A master delivers instructions and enforces commands. So, God sent Moses to be their master and he gave them the Law for them to follow. Ultimately, the Law kept them focused and busy while God did all the work. Besides, it's what they asked for.

Now, here's the clincher.

The religious Jews are so proud of their beloved Moses. And, rightfully so. He did things that were unparalleled with many throughout the Bible. However, they lost sight of the big picture. Well, to be even more honest, they never saw the big picture. Instead of living in freedom like God intended, they kept right on enforcing the very thing that kept them in bondage - the Law of Moses.

For thousands of years after Moses died, Israel enforced this slave way of life. God sent prophet after prophet to show them the truth, but they never listened. He sent his Son, but they didn't listen to him either (Mat 21:33-46). They were bent on following the Law that their favorite ancestor gave them.

Frankly, they should have stopped following it shortly after Joshua lead Israel into the Promised Land. But, they couldn't help it. They were still slaves on the inside. Sure the original freed slaves died off, but the generations after them grew up in slave-minded households (Num 14:26-35). Their limited parents taught them how to repeat the same mistakes. The Law was all they knew and they didn't know what to do without it.

The Law remained alive and well for millennium. Instead of millions of God's own people knowing him personally (like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did), we have generation after generation simply following a bunch of rules. They never grew out of captivity. The very people who claimed to know God the most and claimed to be his favorite people, had no clue who he was or what he was about. And when the time came, they couldn't even see God staring them in the face (Mark 8:11-13). Their routines and the bondage they lived in kept them from seeing the Truth.

And, history has repeated itself. Literally, nothing has changed.

Christians have inherited this slave way of life. For 2000 years Christians have been preaching the Law and demanding we obey its rules. Even the same structure and leadership that was established in the wilderness is still being enforced, today (Exo 18:13-27). How? Everything that Christianity represents is an action. You must obey God's commands and follow those who preach the Word of God. They are not teaching you to know God like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. No. They want you to follow the rules, instead.

Christians don't know they're held accountable to a system that was specifically established for slaves (a very long time ago). It's as if the Christian leaders are bent on making people follow commands. If the generations before them had to do it, then you have to do it too. But, they can't help it. They don't really know Jesus and Scripture is all they comprehend.

The Pharisees also enforced this same type of slave behavior. If you didn't follow God's commands, then you weren't one of his children. If you didn't look and act like a servant of God, then you were of the world and living in sin. If you didn't obey the Scriptures, then you were condemned and you have hell to pay.

Let me explain a little better what I mean by the Law.

Quite simply, the Law is any command that God gives his people. The Law is not just the Ten Commandments and the 600+ other commands that God established in the Old Testament. No, there are a multitude of other commands that we are supposed to follow according to the New Testament. The New Testament is full of rules and regulations. According to Christians, just because these commands weren't given to Moses, doesn't mean we're not responsible for obeying both the old and new ones (minus the bloody or awkward cultural stuff, of course).
I used to bow on my knees at the altar pleading for God like a slave.

However, that's not even the end of it. There's more.

As soon as you become somebody (a leader) in a Christian ministry, you'll be held to a higher standard and asked to agree to follow even more commands. Ministries add more rules in order to control behavior. They claim they protect you and others from getting hurt or causing another person to stumble (Rom 14:13-23). Yet, it's just more of the same. They just keep adding more to the list.

As you can see, it's not getting any better; it's gotten worse.

All Christianity does is produce good little slaves - people who follow the rules, look like they have their stuff together, go to church, and say all the right things.

However, Jesus clearly stated that we'll be able to see the fruit of those who truly know him (Mat 7:12-23). Their fruit will show that they are free. They will no longer be bound by the Law and living as slaves. They will be a free people. A people who do not need anyone else to guide them, but God himself. These people will have the freedom to follow the will that God has placed on their hearts (Heb 10:11-18).

You have been set free by Jesus, and much like Moses, he rescued you from slavery (John 8:31-38). He saved you from the Law of sin and death (Rom 8:2-4). He has shown you the way to true freedom and life, and it's not the direction that Christians are leading you. Turn back and go the other way (Mat 3:1-10).

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