The Lord has made a way of undeserved grace for all who leave the world of sin and rebellion. For those who refuse, He must act to bring justice. He is the only one qualified who can.
Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor? [James 4:10-12]
TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND THE MESSIAH’S WAY
We all understand the concept of justice. We all understand the need for it. We all know it is not right when evil deeds go unpunished, when people get away with doing wrong, and when it appears there is no remedy for such or no means toward the bringing of justice to guilty parties.
I can assure you, however, that justice always prevails. The Lord will see to it. For now, however, He is obviously more concerned with bringing sinners to salvation. It is why He sends His disciples into a fallen world fraught with danger severed from relationship with Him. It is why He created the Good News for whosoever will, for all those who want to be free and blessed with new life, and will pay any price within His will to gain it.
Thus, grace. All who eventually gain eternal life will have in common the fact that they recognized their need for salvation. They know they have done wrong. They hate the memories. Their conscience reminds them every day. They exist in a broken condition and they know it. The want to be the best they can be. They want to enter into a realm of good that they know must exist but they can’t find the way.
He is the Way. Following the Lord Jesus will lead one directly into the Life one seeks.
But for those who love this world they cannot possibly have any love for the next world or desire for it. They are content here, or at least willing to do whatever they want or think they must to make a way for themselves. It is why mankind’s history is a sordid tale of killings and theft and sexual sin. These are the actions of lustful and desperate people who place no moral restrictions upon themselves once they decide to act in an unlawful manner to get what they want. They may be moral up to a point. But beyond that point they justify sin. They no longer apply any sense of right and wrong. They make their own choices to cross over bridges into places where they act upon their own self will to satisfy evil desires.
That is in part why this temporary world is a mere proving ground. We live in the flesh in what looks like a very real and everlasting world but our individual times are actually very short. This world is very much an illusion. The Word of God states that we are given at most about seventy years and that some have more time because of strength. But not much more. And many never even get that far. But even if one lives to a hundred, what is that in terms of thousands of years or eternity?
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. [James 4:13-17]
It is the devil’s job to tempt us away from God and into sin. It is the job of unregenerate flesh and its evil desires to lead us away from God and into sin. It is the job of this fallen faux construct of mankind upon this planet (the world) to distract us away from God and into sin. These are the three enemies all human beings are subjected to. There is no escape from their onslaught other than through the Lord. He knows those who want to be free. He also knows those who would rather live here than in heaven.
And He knows justice must prevail, that all must receive their just deserts, and that He must be the Judge. I would not think that God wants the job but He knows He is the only one qualified. He must be the one to separate the sheep from the goats. He is also the only one qualified to avenge every wrong. Though the Lord may appear to be a pacifist, it is only because He desires to give everyone every chance during this Age of Grace. He is a God of love and mercy. But He also knows unrepentant sin and rebellion must be dealt with. Thus, He is not a pacifist. He is a Warrior.
And He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey for a long time. At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, so that they would give him some of the produce of the vineyard; but the vine-growers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. And he proceeded to send another slave; and they beat him also and treated him shamefully and sent him away empty-handed. And he proceeded to send a third; and this one also they wounded and cast out. The owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the vine-growers saw him, they reasoned with one another, saying, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others.”
When they heard it, they said, “May it never be!” But Jesus looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone?’ Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.” The scribes and the chief priests tried to lay hands on Him that very hour, and they feared the people; for they understood that He spoke this parable against them. [Luke 20:9-19]
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
“We can follow orders, we can send directives through the chain of command, we can organize massive shows of religious pomp and promote great Broadway hits, such as Charismania!, but this only means we are unified in purpose.”
In Part 1, we discussed the Revelation of Real Relationship. In Part 2, we discussed the ongoing Restoration. In Part 3, we continue the narrative from my book Real Christianity by discussing the Revolution in American Christianity presently coming forth in these early days of the Great Awakening:
The partitioning of Christianity into clergy and laity began with the introduction of the professional minister. The distinction must be drawn between those who minister because it is a job and those who do it because they have a passion to walk in their calling.
Professionalism promotes rank, and rank promotes division. Yet the present members of the institutional clergy, like their forefathers, continue to insist that rank can coexist with unity. What they call unity is nothing more than communication between ranks brought on by forced submission to a dominant hierarchy.
However, communication between ranks will never result in spiritual unity among ranks. We can follow orders, we can send directives through the chain of command, we can organize massive shows of religious pomp and promote great Broadway hits, such as Charismania!, but this only means we are unified in purpose. It does not mean our spirits are knit together in real relationship and true Christian love.
It used to be that traveling shows had to keep traveling in order to escape from those they duped. But the level of deception has now become so great that many of these road shows have settled down in our cities and towns and are perceived as being quite respectable. The reason most of the duped remain duped stems from the fact that the standard which early Christianity once represented has been suctioned out and cut on until it is no longer recognizable and in too many instances, rejected outright. Instead of walking tall as the body of Christ, we are all too often mere church mice, thoroughly intimidated by a system and structure that has no real community or love between members.
What causes such intimidation? Why are there no opposing viewpoints? Is dissension evil even when those in power are wrong? There is no doubt that centralized authority is to be blamed in part since it causes individuals to feel insignificant and irrelevant in relation to the whole and powerless to change anything. Such power-over-the-people dogma flies in the face of that which Christianity is supposed to be.
Yet God doesn’t leave us without the possibility of deliverance. Some of the blame, therefore, must fall squarely on the backs of those latent ministers who could make a difference but disregard their calling, opting instead to weakly blend into a directionless, homogenized mass.
When the people of God take their ease instead of taking up their cross, they become subject to something or someone other than the Lord. This causes a false servitude to an improper party, and thus, a fear of breaking ranks with said party. The spirit behind the cause of such behavior has no respect or honor for individuals.
Yes, we are supposed to be a body. Yes, we are supposed to be a team. Yes, we are supposed to be a family. But these entities are strong not only because of their unity but also because of the strength of their individual members. If the individual members are spiritually weak but the unifying force is strong, the whole can only be strong temporarily, if at all, and absolutely spiritually impotent for the long term, though it remain unified through coercion, fear, or cultural tradition.
There are reams of historical data reaching back throughout the history of Christianity to support this fact. Centralized authority is only supposed to be a temporary fix designed to bring an entity back on course. When it is institutionalized, it feeds on those it rules over, instead of assisting and serving the common good.
When such authority gains control, it will not only feed on its subject class, it will also confiscate the children’s bread. This stunts the children’s growth and keeps them in a perpetually immature state. As an example, look at the sea of “lay” people which make up most of our congregations. Far too many are clueless concerning their role in the Lord’s body. Almost all are underdeveloped and dependent upon the clergy. Many are in fear, and the great majority are thoroughly overwhelmed by the centralized power which keeps them from developing into what God wants and needs them to be.
Why? Because to buck central authority is to invite its wrath. Centralized authority is heavily control-oriented and dictatorial. For a lone individual or small group to stand against it takes much strength. In the Church, it takes obedience to the Lord and much anointing. Indeed, the very history of the Lord’s Qahal is constructed with the building blocks of dissent against the raw power of inhumane religious impostors bent on maintaining their stolen authority. In the early days of the Church, her religious enemies were thoroughly pagan. But they eventually became “Christianized.” 
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” [Acts 4:15-20]
Two thousand years ago, it was unbelieving Jews in places of high religious authority who were in opposition to the use of the Lord’s Name by believing Jews, such as Peter, John, and the entire Jerusalem community of faithful ones.
Today, it is unbelieving Christians in places of high religious authority who restrict the Lord and His believing children from using the Name above every name in ministry. And there is no area of Christian practice in which this is more blatant than water baptism, the first and foremost use of the Lord’s powerful Name in the infant community of saints. In every single instance or inference of water baptism throughout the entire Book of Acts and post-gospel epistles, the Name of Jesus was administered. This continued for three hundred years until Roman laws were put in place to eliminate its use.
What do Roman laws have to do with Christian practice, you may ask? Everything, since the Roman Empire co-opted Christianity and created their own hybrid for the sake of religious control by A.D. 325. Seventeen centuries later, almost every single Christian denomination and autonomous body continue to obey the Roman law that eliminated the Name of Jesus from baptism.
Christians now openly joke about it, wondering what the big deal is and why such even matters. They do not care that they routinely disobey the Lord’s commands and the very clear historical record. Some simply do not know any better because they have been deceived. Any halfway decent theologian knows, however. Biblical encyclopedias and dictionaries clearly state the truth for any who may be inclined to search for truth in the matter.
Therefore, the question is not if such is really true, but why do the majority of Christians continue to thumb their collective nose at God and refuse to use His Name in baptism? Without His Name there is no power, no authority, no witness, no representation of His death and burial, and no washing away of sin.
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. [Colossians 3:17]
Does anyone think the Lord Jesus cares about this issue? He is God, of course, and it is His Name. In the preceding verse, the apostle Paul taught that we were to do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Peter and John understood this directive, originally issued by the Lord, and were certainly aware of the power in His Name when they used it in the healing of the famous lame man at the temple gate:
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!” And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. [Acts 3:1-8]
This miracle, likely witnessed by hundreds, would not have been possible without the Lord’s name. Generations had known of this man. Tens of thousands and perhaps more had seen him at the Beautiful Gate over several decades. Word spread rapidly, so rapidly that the authorities were greatly alarmed.
Later, Peter stated to those assembled in the aftermath,
“On the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.” [Acts 3:16]
Once the religious authorities had heard about the great miracle, they showed up post haste:
As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. [Acts 4:1-4]
Put them in jail? For a miracle? No. The offense was using the Lord’s Name. This one instance is enough to reveal to all real believers that a real profession of faith and determination to use the Lord’s Name will cost. And it will cost everything. It is the sword that sows division as intimated by the Lord.
“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.” [Matthew 10:32-36]
There is never any middle ground here. One will either be 100% on the Lord’s side or one will be against Him. A real disciple cannot help but apply the Name of Jesus and would never shrink from using it, regardless of any cost to one’s person or reputation.
On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone.
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:5-12] 
© 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 5 of 10]
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.