When in the course of a human life, a heart is awakened of the necessity to dissolve the natural bands which have connected it with the world order of thought and religion, and to assume among God’s children on the earth the equal graces to which the gospel of God and the God of the gospel grants them, a decent reverence to the revelations of God’s truth require that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be evident revelation from the Word of God that all men are equally guilty of falling short of God’s standard. “For there is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Yet the Creator has endowed a Savior to the human race regardless of guild gender, class, politics, nationality or religious heritage. Those who in repentant faith embrace God’s choice as Savior have also become His children. All such are created equal “in Christ Jesus” and are endowed with certain unalienable graces that among these are eternal life, spiritual liberty and the possession of peace with God – “joy unspeakable.”
That to secure these graces the Eternal Word, the Son of God, left heaven’s glory becoming a sinless man among men. He was borne by the virgin in the royal messianic line of King David fulfilling the ancient prophecies. He was given the name of JESUS (for He shall save His people from their sins). He did mighty signs as credentials to His Person and message deriving such power from the consent of the Father in heaven. Christ Jesus then willingly gave Himself on the cross as a substitutionary full payment for our sins against God and was buried. Then by the power of the Spirit of God was raised from the dead in honor and acceptance by God Himself. He ascended into heaven itself and was installed by His Father as Lord of all and sole Head of the true church, which is His, body of believers. Jesus is now seated on the right hand of the throne of God (the highest position of authority granted in God’s realm) and is the coming King of Kings. The “chosen of God” – heaven’s “elect” – is the Lord Jesus Christ.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
That when any form of religious profession or political ideology becomes converse to “the faith in Christ” and “the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free” it is the duty of every member of the body of Christ to not compromise or engage in it that our walk might be “according to the truth of the gospel.” The time has come for a bold return to the first principles of the foundation of the faith, Jesus Christ as risen Lord and sole Head of the church. The time is now to submit to His authority alone, which expresses the grace, holiness and wisdom of God’s gospel of salvation.
Prudence in God’s Word indeed will dictate that traditions long established by man are not the same as the wisdom of God and will “perish with the using.” Such encroachment on Christ’s authority should not be taken lightly. Christians have been made free from such by their acceptance with God in their union “in Christ,” His Son. While there is room for patience and teaching from God’s Word of the instruction of “the faith,” yet when there is a long train of abuses and usurpation of Christ’s risen authority, it is the believers’ duty to not embrace such false authorities but to provide the new order of God which is revealed in the New Testament for the spiritual security of their generation. (Rom. 3:22-23 / Luke 4:18 / Gal. 5 / 1Pet. 2:4,6 / Eph. 1-3 / Col. 2, etc.).
The history of the present “god of the world,” Satan, is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations to Christ’s gospel, all having in direct object the establishment of religious tyranny that brings people into the bondage of his control through man – denying “the glorious liberty of the children of God.” To prove this, let facts he submitted to a candid church.
GOSPEL – Free from Condemnation
Mankind as guilty sinners by practice and choice are first proven and then deemed by their Creator as worthy (the right) of death: under God’s judgment of “everlasting burnings.” Furthermore, to exacerbate the case this condemnation is not connected to a cultural, personality or political defect but a racial defect. In our connection with our progenitor, “the first man Adam” we inherit his state and problem of death as sinners by birth: “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation” (Romans 1-5).
Any proposed solution, whether religious or political, must not fall short of satisfying an offended Creator and proffering a new birth (adoption into a holy race with a new nature). God’s gospel does exactly this through the death and resurrected life of His only Son, “the last Adam”: the progenitor of a new and final race!
By the finished blood sacrifice of Jesus, all who obey God’s salvation terms – faith alone – are promised, “there is… no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus… .” We are placed into His family with His status of acceptance and life: declared righteous and indwelt with His living Spirit, apart from any meritorious works (Rom. 3-8:1`). Christ’s death (by completely paying for sins: redemption) has annulled the authority Satan that holds people in religious bondage with its rules that must be done in order to pay sin’s penalty (Heb. 2:14-15).
Abuses: Religious Legalism
Yet in spite of the clear word of the gospel of God, religions globally abound in the very name of God, and even Christ’s Name, that insist that some form of human works are necessary to secure salvation from condemnation. Some arrogantly deny the necessity of the sacrifice of God’s beloved Son as they teach that man has the ability to save himself apart from Christ.
Other deceivingly deny the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice as they teach that more than faith in Christ is necessary to obtain final salvation. They then define the works that will enslave one to their system. Grace is turned into law (legalism): defaming Christ’s work and exalting man’s. Their gospels might have moral social causes but it is Satan in disguise (2Cor. 11:13-15). Proclaimers of other gospels are “accursed” (Gal. 1:8).
Yet a believer in the Authority and Word of the Lord Jesus need not fear these empty threats and anathemas of religions that keep the ignorant in their clutches. Since the death of Christ absolves one from all sin, religions are powerless to carry out their tyranny of feat. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed,” promised the Lord (John 8:32).
GOSPEL – Free from Sin
God’s gospel not only frees from the condemnation of sin but also frees from the connection with the Adamic domain of sin. “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” The death and resurrection of Christ was not only substitutionary but representative. What He legally accomplished in the just society of God’s court also includes the believer.
Death is a separator as it breaks a legal bond, as a wife is legally free to remarry when her husband dies. However, life is a legal uniter as it joins one in a union as the birth of a baby brings it into the status of that family. The death of Christ frees the believer from the dominion (heritage) of sin and death into which he was born. The life of the Lord Jesus unites the believer with God: a new heritage, authority, status, family and life.
Logically, one obeys the authority to which he is connected with (parents, husband, employer). So the believer who is now connected to God, as demonstrated in the obedience of water baptism, is expected by God to obey Him and not sin. The reason for obeying is not to become saved but because God has adopted us out of sin’s family into His (Romans 6).
Abuses: Religious Liberalism
Others have spiritualized or culturalized the risen Lord’s commands for His church: “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness” – liberty to live out our own desires. Any gospel that does not teach the believer the duty of now obeying God through Christ’s Word needs to be vigorously withstood – for it keeps one in slavery to sin and self.
GOSPEL – Free from the Law
God’s gospel not only frees from condemnation and the connection with Adam but also from the commandments through Moses as a system for living: law. “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”
The death of Christ also has legally severed the believer from the bonds of law: O.T. ordinances and rituals in worship and service unto God. The resurrection of the Lord has united the believer to a new husband or head: Himself. The believer not only has a clean slate and a new family but also a new authority’s style to walk by: “Christ is the head of the Church” (Romans 7).
Christ’s gospel is not a messianic Judaism: the law with belief in Jesus as Messiah now added to it. Christ’s gospel creates a “new man.” It is where all believers (Jew and Gentile) are equal before God with a new kind of life from its Head. Shadows of sacrifices have given way to the substance (Christ for us). Human priests have given way to the Heavenly Priest (Christ as us). Rituals have given way to reality (Christ in us). Moses has given way to the Master (Christ over us).
Thus the gospel through Christ’s chosen apostles declares a radical change where the church (the one body of Christ of which He is the sole Head) is FREE:
– from a physical holy temple or cathedral on earth where one makes pilgrimages into God’s presence – to a spiritual temple made of living stones. “where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them.”
– from the formal ritualism of altars, sacrifices, lights, holy vestments, holy days, incense, special foods, etc. – to the Spirit in every individual member of the body producing the spiritual fruit of love and righteousness from their Head.
– from a partial priesthood (clergy-laity) that limited expression of all males – to where all believers are priests (clergy) with the right to offer (apart from a conductor) praise, psalms, teachings, etc. “in the church” – regardless of professional eduction or human ordination. The cleansing blood of Christ grants the authority (Rev.1:5-6). The Spirit of Christ gives the ability (1Cor. 12:7). The Word of Christ governs the order (1Cor. 14).
– from the non-priestly status of women – to where women are also priests with gifts. Though “in the church” she is silent under the choice of Christ Jesus’ headship of the man, her heart worship is received by God, and she also partakes of the bread (which only the male priests did in the O.T.), and by her submission, with its symbol of a covering, ministers to the very angels (1Cor. 11, 14).
– from selected and skilled musicians (choirs – praise teams) who led the silent worshippers in praise (2Chron. 5:11-14, 23:14, 29:28-31) – to where the whole assembly of believers, filled with the Spirit, and led by the Lord Jesus in their midst make melody in their hearts singing unto the Lord (1Cor. 14, Heb. 2:12, Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16).
– from fallible human mediators (priests) – to direct access to God by the common indwelling Spirit and the infallible heavenly Priest: Jesus Christ our Lord (1Tim. 2:5, Heb. 10: 19-23).
In the New Covenant, God no longer views His people as babes where symbols and rules dictate their every move, but as sons (mature adults) where righteous behavior is still produced but now from a heart that knowingly has the desire – because of His Spirit (Gal. 4). “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” So not only is justification without the law but so also is sanctification and edification. The seen was then, the unseen is now – faith! We implore the church in light of Christ’s gospel to “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
Abuses: Religious Legislation
There are those who abuse the church as their creation rather than God’s. These usurping heads and authorities ignore the headship of Christ and with their man-made authority legislate their ways on God’s sons (mature adults) treating them as little children.
In the guise of being biblical they use the law principles of the Old Covenant to justify their errant ways. Thus we behold in the church: vestments; titles of prestige for a “professional”; trained clergy over “laity”; elaborate cathedrals and buildings that are called God’s sanctuary; an emphasis on the visual and talented in worship and service. Thus law is replacing the Spirit of the Lord Jesus’ Authority and glory.
GOSPEL – Free from the Law (Principle) of Sin and Death
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” declares the gospel of God (Rom. 8:2). Here “law” means an unchanging principle like the “law” of gravity, not a code of conduct. Israel, like Adam, functioned on the principle of sin always bringing the penalty of death (Ezek. 18). Those “in Christ” do not operate by this principle as they are free from it. These have His Spirit and therefore, have life not death. This is because the Spirit is life eternal as He is God; the very One who imparted life to the dead body of Jesus (Rom. 8:11).
Therefore, one in Christ can never be separated from the love of God – for he has “something” that naturally produces life – not death. And this “Spirit of life” also provides living power to overcome the sinful deeds of “the law of sin” in our body, something the law can never do (Rom. 7,8).
Abuses: Man’s Psychology
Though God’s gospel is clear that “the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” Christians are pointed – by the church – to self-help programs, drug therapy, counseling, religious formulas and rules, all to overcome depressing feelings of God’s rejection or the struggles of indwelling sin (the flesh). It still is only “the truth shall make you free” declares the Son of God.
GOSPEL – Free from the Body of Death
Even though the one in Christ has the Spirit of life in his body, his body still ages and dies (though not his spirit). This death demonstrates man is also a sinner by nature, his body being endowed with sin. Here the hope for “the body of this death” is “the redemption [deliverance] of our body.” This occurs when the Lord Jesus Christ comes to transform the body to be like His: immortal (Rom. 8:21-23, 1Cor. 15): the fulfillment of “the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
Abuses: Man’s Philosophy
In spite of God’s admonition” “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy” (man’s wisdom or rationale), believers are being distracted from the blessed gospel hope for their body with an emphasis on their bodily needs now with ideologies ranging from the political to the financial to the mental to the dietary.
Conclusion. Satan, “the god of this world” and the ruler of darkness but appearing as “an angel of light” is “a liar and the father of it.” To those religious authorities he has seduced who have a deaf ear to appeals from the Word of the Lord – in the preaching of the gospel they are objects of God’s gracious salvation, but in the church they are “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Php. 3:18) – we say; “Let God be true and every man a liar.”
We therefore, as the body of Christ of which He is the Head, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the living and the dead for the rectitude of our freedom purchased by precious blood, in the Name and Authority of the good Lord Jesus Christ, solemnly declare that we are independent of the discussed abuses and are absolved from all allegiance to Satan’s man-made religious authorities. All financial and religious cooperation ought to be totally dissolved in obedience to the head’s directive (Rom. 16:17, 1Tim. 6:3-5, 2Cor. 6:17) and a return to autonomous Christian assemblies that are free to obey God under the Lordship (Name) of Jesus Christ alone.
Yet in contending for the faith, it is not to be in a violent way but rather spiritual. Also this freedom never means independence from the Lord’s written Word over His churches nor from God’s ordained human authorities on earth. As long as authorities do not ask a Christian to violate a command of their Lord, they are to be obeyed. These authorities include government, whether it be to the king supreme or to the governor with his officers and ordinances as well as parents over children, masters (employers) over servants (employees), husbands as head of the wives and overseers (elders) as shepherds of God’s flock in each autonomous church.
We Christians though undeserving of this “glorious liberty of the children of God” support this gospel declaration, no matter what the cost or persecuting opposition fueled by the gates of hell, with a firm reliance on the Sovereign eternal protection of the Divine Savior, and thus mutually pledge to the Lord Jesus Christ and then to each other, our love, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor obtained by grace alone. “For, brethren ye have been called into liberty”(Gal. 5:13).