For the true Christian, those who are spiritually reborn into the body of Christ, life on this world will be a challenge. Jesus said, "If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me first. If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. Remember the word that I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you as well; if they kept My word, they will keep yours as well. But they will treat you like this on account of My name, because they do not know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin." (John 15:18-22). This is a harsh warning to those who falsely believe they have a relationship with Jesus and have been fooled by a worldly counterfeit. These are those who make the claim to know Christ, regularly attend their "local churches," and seek to spread their manmade traditions and doctrines to those who are outside of their circles. Yet, these religious minded people duped by their own belief system should understand that none of their Christian Religion practices will insure them a place in heaven.
Regrettably, the Christian Religion lifestyle is a deceitful smoke screen designed by Satan to keep those who follow these institutionalized manmade practices from reaching heaven. "But understand this: In the last days terrible times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such as these! (2 Timothy 3:1-5). Many who read this will quickly say to themselves, "This is not me!" However, unknowingly they practice this ungodly behavior as they follow the legalistic "rules and guidelines" that make the claim that these must be obeyed to be a Christian.
These countless practices have been established and deeply rooted by today's Christian Religion over the years and are followed even by many of the elect around the world. The list will vary depending on the "local church" you attend. It may include things like how one dresses, if they have a drink, smoke, swear, use a certain bible, speak in tongues, tithe, and the list goes on. I am not talking about whether or not they are truly "practicing" sin, but instead whether or not they are following the rules "we" believe they must follow. "Therefore, whoever knows the right thing to do, yet fails to do it, is guilty of sin." (James 4:17). Thus, if we know we should not judge them and do are we not sinning? I know that in my early walk with Christ I too listened to the seemingly innocent rhetoric being taught in today's so-called local churches based on these human traditions. It was only after the Holy Spirit convicted me that this type of judgmental behavior pushes people away from the hope of salvation that I asked the Spirit to replace this worldly behavior with a pure love for others.
One day while Jesus was dining at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Him and His disciples for there were many who followed Him. "When the scribes who were Pharisees (the legalistic crowd of their day) saw Jesus eating with these people, they asked His disciples, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus told them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:15-17). He is telling us the same thing today if we would just listen. How many times have we acted as instruments of the adversary by unlovingly and judgmentally treated those who are struggling or lost as if we were somehow better than they are? We are all sinners! Jesus said, "Do not judge, or you will be judged. For with the same judgment you pronounce, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." (Matthew 7:1-5).
Thus, we must look to our own sinful practices before tending to the practices of others. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us walk in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying one another." (Galatians 5:22-26). Brethren, let us unite in love as we seek to serve the kingdom of heaven for the glory of our Almighty God!
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