Legalism or Loving Obedience?

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I received an email yesterday morning from a Christian sister in back home affiliated with a church my mother and I had attended until we were convicted of certain truths in God’s word that made it impossible for us to remain in the church. I love this sister, and other brothers and sisters in that church, and others we attended while on our quest to find a church that taught strictly Bible truth, including prophecy, and not one lukewarm and watered down by the teachings and traditions of man. At this church, we reached an impasse on God’s law, specifically His Ten Commandments, but also on the state of the dead, hell and prophecy, which I will address in other posts. This is the email I received from her and my response, which is timely because I wanted to write a post on this subject. I would love to hear from others Christians concerning your thoughts on the need to obey our Lord.

“Greetings, Ellen! I hope this message finds you and Jean well. It has been a long time, and I have been thinking about both of you. Are you still of the same beliefs — the legalism? God is definitely on the move! Things are happening and we should all be shouting the Gospel from our rooftops. No, no one is doing that, but it feels like we should. Prophecies are falling into place. I sincerely hope that you write back and let me know how Florida is treating you and Mom.”

My response, expanded upon a bit for this post:

“Dear Sister … So good to hear from you. I pray all is well with you. Jean and I have been incredibly blessed in our move to Vero (which interestingly means truth) Beach. Our new Church family is as dear, Bible loving and spirit filled as our Beverly Church family — who we still stay in regular communication with.

I’m not sure what your question means — the legalism. If you are referring to our keeping the ten commandments, as Jesus did and commanded us to do (“If you love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15, “And by this we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” 1 John 2:3, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” 1 John 3:22, etc., etc.), then yes, of course we are. He put His laws into my heart, and in my mind He has written them; I can do nothing else. Now, as we near the end, is no time to be found in rebellion against God, as far too many professed Christians are as they blithely go down the wide road to destruction feeling quite comfortable remaining in their sin, as Jesus warned they would.

Satan is wroth and will do everything in his power to destroy the remnant church (“which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17). The “testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”, which so many Christians are blatantly turning their backs on in this time, in addition to the commandments of God. Since the three angels messages of Revelation 14 were made clear to me — becoming a heavy burden that God has placed on my heart for the souls of many — sharing that has become my soul’s primary purpose. There is nothing more important for people to understand now, before it is too late and they have chosen to worship the beast and accept his mark rather than receive the seal of God.

Revelation 14:12 in particular speaks very loudly about where we should be at this time: “Here is the patience (perserverence) of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” This is a much higher standard than many Christians believe they can slide by on. In addition to keeping the commandments, we are not called to a simple childlike faith in Jesus, but to the mature Christian faith of Jesus, which is what we are going to need to get through the soon coming time of tribulation. Jesus will lead us through the tribulation, just as he led Daniel through the lion’s den, and Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego through the fiery furnace, protected the Israelites through the last seven plagues in Egypt, brought them through the Red Sea, and nourished them through forty years in the wilderness ; but we need the faith of Jesus to not fall away before He is able to protect us and lead us through to His appearing. We need to be having our own Gethsemane experiences of prayer, pure devotion and affliction to be strengthened to that level in our faith.

Satan is doing everything in his power to cause as many as possible to fall away before that Great Day. We are told in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 ”that day (the Appearing) shall not come except there come a falling away first, and the son of perdition be revealed”. Satan has been so effective, as Jesus said he would be, in deceiving the whole world and if possible, even the very elect. There are many Christians who will sadly find themselves waking up to the wrong resurrection.

Jesus was talking to us in Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” and 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” These are the ones who do not keep the law — the lawless ones, the workers of iniquity, the ones who rebelliously refuse to keep His commandments (sin is transgression of the law), calling themselves Christians — “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:” 2 Timothy 3:5.

Where do people think all those do good, feel good, say good emergent, spiritualistic, jibber jabbering, worldly, preaching another Jesus, prosperity teaching mega church pastors are leading all their followers? Does that look like a narrow gate, or a broad way? Christians today are not kneeling at the cross of Jesus in repentance, begging God’s forgiveness through His blood, and asking for the power of the Holy Spirit to work through them to do His will not their own on a daily basis, surrendering all to Him. That is what we need to be doing every day — forsaking the world and following Him and Him alone. Our redemption draws neigh — we should be looking up to Him, not to the fallen world around us.

So, if you consider that legalistic, then yes, I am still legalistic and have no intention of changing, because I believe Jesus when he said: “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17. I also know that “With God all things are possible” and “Christ in me, the hope of glory”, so it is possible through the power of His spirit working in me to keep them and sin not, and because I love Him — he suffered, bled and died to redeem me from the pit, from eternal destruction — that is my greatest desire, which desire is not even my own but of the Holy Spirit. We can never be saved by keeping the Commandments, but our desire to keep them evidences that we are saved; that we love our Lord and will do whatever He asks us to do by the working of His Spirit in us. I also know: “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” Hebrews 10:26-27. I have no interest in being an adversary of God because of my pride and selfishness. I would much rather surrender all, and trust and follow Jesus in obedience, as He said we must do.

Remember Mathew 5:18, where Jesus clearly tells us “For verily (truly) I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled (realized, brought to completion).” This obviously can’t happen until the end in Revelation 20 when Satan and all those not written in the book of life are cast into the lake of fire, heaven and earth are consumed (all sin and iniquity is utterly and forever destroyed) and then occurs Revelation 21:1 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away …” At that point sin is no more and all that remains are the righteous redeemed of Christ — we who have become like unto Him.

“Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” Romans 6:4-6. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2.

We need to daily do as Paul admonished us: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” 2 Corinthians 13:5. Never forget, we can be disqualified, blotted out of the book of life (Revelation 3:5), and in unwitting rebellion accept the mark of the beast, which leads straight to the lake of fire — do not pass go, do not collect $200 (Revelation 14:9-10). To the glory of God, are we exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit in our lives in ever increasing ways? God’s purpose for us is nothing less than Christlikeness. We should all daily pray our own version of the Prayer of Saint Richard of Chichester:

“Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, day by day. Amen.”

Do we put first this command of Jesus: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). If we are to love God completely, it will involve our whole being — our intellect, our emotions, and our will. The better we come to know God by spending time studying His word (“may we know Thee more clearly”), the more we will love Him (“love Thee more dearly”). And the more we love Him, the greater our willingness to trust and obey Him in the things He calls us to do (“follow Thee more nearly”). That should be our greatest desire for every day we are given here.

Much love your way, and prayers that your eyes and ears will be opened. As Jesus said: “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Rev. 2:29. Time is short. Love, Ellen

This is a great, very short video that punctuates this post, entitled “Jesus said it, Christians hate it”. This young man is not afraid to speak truth.

About E.J.

My name is Ellen “E.J.” Lefavour. I am a Christian artist and writer living in Vero Beach, FL, where I have been living with and caring for my mother since God led us here in September of 2017. I pray you are blessed, built up in your faith and Christian walk, and become an interactive participant in God's Morning. We're here as Christ's body, supporting and building each other up in all righteousness, in His name, awaiting His soon return.
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