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NEW COVENANT REALITY VS. RELIGIOUS IDEOLOGY

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       Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. [2Corinthians 5:17]   

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         For the early believers, salvation included an experience. It constituted a complete change—an actual spiritual circumcision of the heart. Their lives were entirely transformed and the transformation was undeniable. Each individual had become a new creation. It happened through a prescribed course of action. It did not happen by osmosis. They had to make a conscious decision to leave the old and become the new:  

         …That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. [Ephesians 4:22-24]  

      As the centuries passed, however, Christianity became ideological. It became philosophical. It became led by men who never had such an experience. Converts who had never fulfilled the New Covenant requirements of the new birth were accepted into the Christian fold. Indeed, many if not most of these conversions were coerced.    

         They created a counterfeit construct. Their agenda was diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Lord in this context, in that they rejected the call for spiritual transformation and instead created mass groupings of cultural Christians, or what may be termed Christians in Name Only. They manipulated their constituents, those unaware of the spurious nature of the dogmatic belief system thrust upon them, to follow it without question and instituted penalties for those who did not, and greater penalties for those who failed to honor their leaders properly.

         Consequently, those subjected to the fable generators obeyed them without hesitation, even against their own conscience and ethical beliefs, thinking their superiors were wise above measure and in possession of a higher truth they could personally never master or fully understand. Their surrender was such that they feared the repercussions of not honoring their respective religious ideologies more than they feared not standing up for the Lord Jesus, as if His judgment of their eternal status was inferior to their present societal status within their chosen religious cultures.

         As time passed, future generations of these people took cultural pride in their faux Christian constructs and the leaders thereof, not wishing to even consider the possibility of other alternatives, including the only correct one.

         For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. [2Timothy 4:3-4]

MOCKING THE NEW BIRTH

         But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. [John 1:12-13]

         The majority of those who call themselves Christians have never had a true born again experience. Though the experience is fully documented in the New Covenant writings, excuses ad infinitum have come forth over the years toward rejecting it and even mocking it. It is clear the people who do this are either unaware of Scripture or have been taught one of these excuses as a point of doctrine. It must be acknowledged that unregenerate flesh hates the idea of being spiritually crucified and it is therefore no wonder it will always fight for self preservation, even if said preservation destroys any chance of spiritual preservation.

         Most Christians understand the concept of sin but have also accepted varying definitions of it. There is, of course, from a New Covenant perspective, only one definition. From the Greek word hamartia, it is defined as “missing the mark,” “to err,” and even “to be without a share.” That is, whoever is in sin or is in possession of unconfessed sin misses God’s requirements for inclusion within His Community. If someone wants to create another community, however, and call it Christian, and does not acknowledge this definition or fails to require the only cure for sin, then its members are off the hook and will receive no conviction from peers or even from their own conscience, though the latter will take some time.

         Thus, justifying sin is in league with justifying the rejection of the new birth. Both of these protect resident sin and unregenerate flesh, and the acceptors of such a non-New Covenant belief system will receive no power over sin and one will thus be subjected to its ravages.

         The Lord Jesus went through great personal expense to buy our freedom and we, by comparison, even through a full born again experience, pay nowhere near the same price, but any price we pay is a bargain. To be rid of sin is the goal. To be filled with His Spirit is the further goal. Yet both are also Christianity 101 and prerequisite to anything further. The apostles began this way. Mary, the Lord’s mother, began this way. The 120 began this way. Prior to Acts 2 they were essentially no different than they had ever been on a spiritual level. The new birth awaited. The circumcision of their hearts had yet to take place. Such could never happen without the Spirit of the Lord.

         Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” [Acts 1:4-5] [1]

         So they waited. They went to the Upper Room and prepared themselves. They paid the price. Some likely dropped out and never made it to the day of the great event. By giving it their all the 120 made themselves worthy. They never substituted mere religious ideology for spiritual reality. They wanted the real thing and nothing would stop them from their goal.

         © 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] 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.

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CHRISTIAN ZIONISM’S ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

       Christian Zionists must believe the Gospel does not apply to everyone, are embarrassed by it, and would rather not mention it in certain circles.

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         They must think unsaved Jews are saved by osmosis through their “chosen people” status and connection claim to the ancient patriarchs, even though John the Immerser called out their forebears on this false claim two thousand years ago:

         “Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” [Matthew 3:8-10]   

         John warned them that the nation was about to go up in flames but some paid him no heed. The destruction of what was left of the nation from its glories of a millennium past was still forty years off. Nevertheless, the axe was already laid at the root of the trees and about to strike. This forty year period was the exact time frame we see throughout the book of Judges when the Lord was continually bringing judgment upon His wayward people who refused His leadership and preferred the rebellion of sin.

THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF ELIJAH

         John was the first Hebrew prophet in over four hundred years. For over four centuries there was no prophetic voice in the land of Judea. In one sense then, the people thereof and especially the religious leaders thereof cannot be blamed for being completely clueless of the prophetic word. By that time they had built up their own version of the way things ought to be without the help, guidance, or direction of God, and indeed did so in actual rebellion against Him. The things of God and the ways of God became absolutely foreign to them in that interim.

         As a result, when John the Immerser suddenly burst forth upon the scene he looked nothing like what they were familiar with. He appeared strange and different, and his incredibly powerful voice and manner was unlike anything they had ever heard or seen. They had no frame of reference. To that point, they had been like know-it-all ignorant teenagers devoid of real living experiences from which to base their rebellious beliefs, and instinctively felt that total rejection was in order, which is what the majority did. Most of the Jewish religious leaders rejected John outright and no doubt had a behind-the-scenes hand in his death. Even though they were great recognized religious leaders, their status meant nothing in spiritual terms. He demanded that they must repent:

          But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance…” [Matthew 3:7-8]

         Why do Christian Zionists seemingly never tell unsaved Jews to repent? Why do Christian Zionists often accept unsaved Jews exactly as they are? Why do they even esteem them highly and insist they are “God’s chosen people” when the New Covenant Scriptures say no such thing? Why do they believe unsaved Jews need not convert to Messiah? Is this how they show the love of God?

MESSIAH JESUS: THE BÊTE NOIRE OF ORTHODOX JUDAISM

         All Christians are commanded by the Lord to know the Gospel and teach the Gospel, and there is nothing in the Gospel that says one can be saved from sin through righteous works or making ancestral claims. Such beliefs are actually revolting in the eyes of a holy God and show a complete contempt for the great price the Lord made on our behalf. If people can be saved without the Lord’s great suffering and death on the cross then why did He have to die? Is there a double standard at work here? Can some be saved without His sacrifice? Whoever makes their personal salvation contingent not on the Blood of the Lamb but on righteous works will eventually have a very rude awakening.

         Until that day, however, many unbelievers double down on their hatred and rejection of the Lord, blaming Him for exposing them for what they are. The combination of their great conviction of sin juxtaposing with their own high-minded and prideful perception of themselves causes a maelstrom of contrary stubbornness and results in an inability to change. It is the act of a person clutching on to his claim to fame and faux right standing, and refusing to surrender to someone whom he insists is inferior and an imposter. The inevitable outcome is that one sees himself as better and greater than the Lord Jesus, which can only result in self-worship.

PAUL TELLS IT LIKE IT IS

         Christian Zionists are seemingly clueless regarding the teachings of the apostle Paul on this subject, who paid a great price to tell his countrymen the truth. Everywhere he went in the beginning years of his ministry he attempted to reach them first. Some Jews were overjoyed to hear him lay out all the prophetic scriptures before them and prove his case that the Lord Jesus is without doubt the Messiah they had all been waiting for. They accepted this truth with open arms. They repented of their sins, just like those three thousand Jews back on that great day of Pentecost. They were baptized in the name of Messiah Jesus and were filled with the Holy Spirit. They were still Jews. Paul was still a Jew.

         But those Jews who rejected Paul’s teachings, as their associates had rejected John the Immerser and the Lord Himself, were Paul’s greatest enemies. They put out a contract on him early on. Their only answer was murder. There were no greater persecutors than unsaved Jews. But unlike many Christian Zionists, John, the Lord, Paul, and so many others continually showed the great love of God by always trying to reach them. Jesus died for them. What more could He give? Paul was willing to lose his soul for them:

         I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel… [Romans 9:1-6]

HEY JUDE

         Thus, many Christian Zionists have failed in showing the love of God by refusing to preach repentance for unsaved Jews, some of whom would readily accept salvation as they always have. The only reason for this must be a different agenda than the one true Gospel of the Lord. It is this different agenda, like so many others, that has “crept in unnoticed” and become surreptitiously established:

         For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. [Jude 1:4-5]

         Jude wrote the above not too long before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. He goes on to remind his readers of what was soon coming by speaking of other fiery judgments of the past and refers to similar equivalents to that which has occurred in Christian Zionism. He then exhorts his readers to follow the real Gospel and not be deceived by those with an alternative agenda:

         …They speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage. But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. [Jude 1:12-13;16-21] 

THE TENDER MERCY OF OUR GOD

         Eternal life cannot be earned. None of us is worthy through our own efforts. Until we are born again we remain unregenerate spiritually, regardless of any high standing or great achievements. It is only the grace of the Lord that saves us activated by our faith. Without the shed blood of our Savior there is no salvation. Our salvation then, whether we are Jew or Gentile, is solely an act of undeserved mercy from a compassionate God driven by His great love for all. There is no substitute. There is no other Way.

         It’s time that Christian Zionists return to the heart of the Gospel and make a greater effort at evangelizing the unsaved Jews they claim to care so much about.

         For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. [Hebrews 2:2-4] [1]

         © 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.   


[1] 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.

You’re Going To Hell!

         Back in the primitive past when Christians were grossly intolerant and actually believed in and followed the Word of God, preachers really said this. They actually told people in no uncertain terms that unless they repented and got right with God they were going straight to hell.

         And people got saved.

         And they dedicated their lives to God.

         And they were ever-thankful for the great price the Lord paid on their behalf.

         And they loved the preacher for preaching the truth.

         Speaking of which, there was once a man, about fifty years ago, who was a self-described drug addict-satan worshipper-bad dude biker, and the kind of guy who could kill a man relatively quickly without a weapon. He happened to hear a preacher once. The preacher shouted, with absolutely no fear, “You’re Going to Hell!!!”

         The hell-bound man repented and gave his life to God. Later, he also became a preacher. And one night, several years later, I happened to be in a small church building where this man was preaching a revival. The little place was packed and the Spirit of God was powerful. The title of his sermon was… ready?

         Known in Hell.

         He quoted from the Book of Acts, or actually, he shouted from the Book of Acts: “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” [Acts 19:15 NKJV]

         The big idea was that the devil knows those responsible for wrecking his kingdom. He knows those who attack his gates and steal back souls for the Lord.

         In the Acts story, the evil spirit knew who the Lord Jesus was, and it knew who the apostle Paul was, and was deathly afraid of both. Real Christians are Known in Hell.

         But what about the fake believers?

         Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. [Acts 19:16 NKJV]

         After hearing this nice little Christian message—Known in Hell—I decided that right then and there would be a very good time to surrender to God. The next thing I knew I was up at the front with about a million other people. The kingdom had to add an extra wing that night. And another hell-bound man got turned around and headed in the right direction.

         Now, even though we humans don’t like such talk, for obvious reasons, the default destination for every human is hell.

         And without real repentance, a born-again experience, and surrendering one’s life to the Lord Jesus, the following applies:

         You’re going straight to hell. You will not pass Go. You will not collect $200.

         Because you have repeatedly trashed the commandments of God, because you have rejected the incredible offer of necessary salvation and undeserved grace, because you have dishonored, disobeyed, disbelieved, and disavowed discipleship, you will be eternally disconnected from God and disappear. You get the hot place. You will spend your first big vacation on the other side of earth at Fire Lake.

         In you will go. And you will never return…

         There are certain things that most people refuse to acknowledge. Hell is often at the top of the list. We don’t want to believe there is a hell. We don’t want to believe in the possibility we may end up there. Some think, “How could a loving God ever send anyone to such a place?”

         Here’s how: Because human beings are sinners, to one degree or another. The very fact that God is a loving God is why those who appreciate His offer of grace should not have to spend eternity with sinful, rotten idiots whose greatest sins are questioning the existence and motives of the very God who made them, rebelling against Him at every turn, thinking they know better and are better than Him, and who are so ridiculously lost in their own self-worth and deception they would rather have their pride and sin than eternal life.

         Jude knew about such people in his time:

         Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.

         Why would Jude tell them to contend earnestly for the faith? What happened?

         For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

         Oh.

         Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.

         I think that’s what we call a precedent.

         And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

         And there’s another precedent. And it gives us all a very good indication of how God feels about a certain lifestyle.

         Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

         But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed. Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

         Cain was evil. He offered an unacceptable sacrifice to God. He killed the godly seed. Balaam was a prophet for hire (Send me money and God will bless you!). And Korah and his rebels took a very fast shortcut to hell. These were in part religious people… Is Jude pointing toward unreal Christians? 

         These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.

         Uh oh.

         It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.

         Wow…

         But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. [Jude 1:3-19]

         Bingo.

         But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. [1 Timothy 1:8-11]

         So the most stupid people of all are those who reject the laws and commandments of God? And live according to their own sinful nature? And refuse to come clean? And trade the lusts of this very short life for the loss of their souls for all eternity?

         Can they be described further?

         “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” [Revelation 21:8]

         But what if a person is a liar by profession? What about those who support the murder of innocent babies? What about those who unreservedly and with full knowledge serve mammonas, the god of riches and avarice? Who sell their soul for wealth and power? Who cut out a little section of the planet for their own purposes through illicit means, not caring at all about who they rip off in order to pad their evil little nest?

         “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” [Matthew 23:33]

         And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? [1 Peter 4:18 KJV] [1]

         Um, could it be…

         © 2013 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] 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.