I recently had the opportunity to have a Bible study with someone that is interested in learning more about the Bible. This was a fun, refreshing and exciting time of Bible study because this person was not tied down and blinded by the tradition of a denomination. Since they were not currently attending any church, they were open to scripture and what it teaches for itself. When I was bound by the name on my church I was well trained to listen until the speaker said anything different than my denomination teaches, which of course kept me for far too long from understanding the Bible as God intends. What is missing in Christianity today is an understanding of God’s plans and purpose throughout the Bible. As we worked through the Bible over the course of several hours we just read verses and took them at face value. Taking verses at face value and just believing them has an extraordinary effect on people. When believed, the Bible can effect us. It can change us. It can direct us. It can clear up confusion. It can clear up doubt. I know this because I see this so clearly in the people that are willing to sit down and actually study their Bible without all their preconceived notions. Paul states this principle for us in Thessalonians.
1 Thes 2:13, For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
There is a liberating feeling when you come to understand that God expects us to understand the Bible and he wrote it in such a way that we actually can. This study plan is Bible belief. It is this simple. Let me ask you a question. When you read a verse and it clearly teaches something different that you are taught week after week at church, why is it that Christians over and over will ignore the verse and fight for their tradition? Shouldn’t we stop and question what we are taught instead of scripture? Shouldn’t we stop and give God the benefit of the doubt? Shouldn’t we ask ourselves why the preacher avoids verses and redefines verses to match his denominational agenda? Yeah, I know that was more than one question. Did you answer them? Honestly? I would challenge you to start where I did. When I noticed these things I started studying the theological positions of all the other denominations around me. I read Catholic, Charismatic, Pentecostal, Brethren, Church of Christ, Church of God, Nazarene, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, and plenty more. Do you know what I found? NONE can explain the confusion among themselves! None of them can explain why the Bible seams to teach ALL these positions at the same time. They ALL sincerely believe they are right and the others are wrong. NONE of them have the answers that are so clearly written in the Bible that sits in their lap week after week. They are so blinded by the name of their church that they will not read the plain teaching of scripture. The answer? NONE of them rightly divide their Bible. Scripture itself clearly teaches that Jesus NEVER had a ministry to Gentiles while in his earthly ministry. Why do they not see this? Go back and read my blog named “Subconscious Deletion.” We were taught to change, skip, ignore, and rewrite verses and words in our head. When the final offer of the kingdom is rejected by Israel, Jesus called Paul (Saul) from heaven and gave HIM a ministry to us. A distinct, gracious, and merciful ministry of GRACE ALONE. Mix these two distinct ministries and you have what we see today, confusion. Separate what God separates and you see God’s purpose and plan working perfectly.
I recently read some research that was put out by the Creation Museum that you can find in their little book called “Gospel Reset” by Ken Ham. The title caught my eye since many Christians cannot accurately tell you exactly what the gospel is. Research in this book shows that 61% of millennials that grew up in church leave the church by their twenties, and only 20% of kids that were in church as a teen are still active at age 29. The book goes on to suggest that we need to change the way we share the gospel since today’s millennials don’t know “church language." I do agree with the premise of the book that we need to share the gospel differently today, but what this book should be about is sharing the gospel clearly, and you can ONLY share the gospel clearly by sharing Paul’s gospel of the grace of God without mixing it with the kingdom gospel Jesus and the 12 taught. Young people are leaving church because they have not been fed meat, and the few scraps of meat they do get from the pulpit today is under-cooked. Churches are all failing today for the simple reason that none of them are growing from new converts. Growth comes from having better music and more entertainment to pull people from smaller churches with less money. Kids are not taught doctrine because pastors and youth leaders don’t know how to rightly divide their Bibles. They preach Calvinistic doctrine and Israel’s earthly promises, and the kids quickly figure out that God lets them down. The fact is that God did not let them down, maybe we shouldn’t have promised them things the Bible does not! Here’s one clear example: My whole life I was told that God has a mate already picked out for me and he will “show me” whom I’m to marry. This sounds very spiritual and sure preaches well; unfortunately, the Bible DOES NOT say this, so now you have a teenager who believes God is going to show them who their soul mate is, and they look for circumstances to show them God’s will and get married. I ask this question: What is the divorce rate within the “church?” You probably already know the statistics are the same as in the world at right around 50%. Now, your early twenties children believe God has let them down because their mate cheated on them, and their life is a mess. If that same pastor or youth leader would learn how to rightly divide his Bible, he would have taught those kids that God is not showing you things through circumstances today like he did for Israel. God directs us through his completed word the Bible if you rightly divide it and follow the principles contained in it. So what happens to the kids that believed God would “show them” who their perfect mate was? They leave church because their own life experience, or the life experience they see with their own eyes does not match up with the false Calvinistic denominational teaching they were taught. The sad thing is marriage is only one example of the proof that we are setting our kids up to become disillusioned with church and leave in their twenties. They are taught that God is answering prayer just as he did in the OT and during the Acts period and they quickly learn from life experience that God is not answering prayer the same way regardless of what the pastor says, so when that loved one dies even though they prayed so fervently they lose hope in God and leave the church. Here are the FACTS, God IS NOT picking a mate for you because he gave you a mind and clear Biblical instructions to follow in his word on how to go about doing this. I am not saying not to pray about it, but I am saying stop looking for circumstances in this sin cursed world to direct you. Here is another fact, God IS NOT answering prayer today like he did during the OT and the Acts period because we are NOT his earthly people with earthly promises. We are his heavenly people, and we ARE NOT promised deliverance from sickness and distresses like Israel was. We are promised GRACE while we are IN our troubles and trials. We need to stop watching Christian movies and start studying our Bible the way our apostle Paul told us to. IF we do this, we will see our kids stay in church because rightly dividing your Bible has the answers. The ecumenical preaching found in the vast majority of churches today is setting our kids up for failure because they go off to college, and the atheist professor seams to make more sense than what they learned growing up in church. What happens when you blamed God for picking the perfect marriage partner and then you end up divorced? What happens when you tell someone God is healing today because he did it back in the gospels, and the sickness does not go away? There are probably dozens of examples like these we could find to show the way churches today are prepping kids to leave. The proof is in the numbers, and you can’t discount the numbers. Kids are leaving church at a staggering rate. Teach them right division, so they can actually UNDERSTAND the Bible, what they believe, WHY they believe it, and can actually STAND UP for the truth. Are your kids worth it?
If you’ve been in church long enough or read enough you will eventually hear someone say that people in the Old Testament were saved by “looking forward to the cross.” I have personally heard this taught and read this in the past. This is a ridiculous notion and just one more myth that is perpetuated again and again by those repeating what they have read in a theology book or were taught in a Bible class. When you are told this, you will undoubtedly be quoted a verse about Abraham. Abraham was justified by faith yes, but in a future cross? Abraham was required to have faith in WHAT WAS REVEALED TO HIM. The cross was in NO WAY revealed to Abraham. Abraham proved his faith by leaving his home. Abraham had to DO something to prove he was faithful. Was it enough for Abraham to just take Isaac up the mountain? Abraham proved his faithfulness once he lifted the knife. Do you expect me to believe he was thinking of a future cross when he was lifting that knife? Of course he wasn’t. Abraham was being obedient to what he was told AT THAT TIME, and AT THAT TIME he knew NOTHING of the cross. As a matter of fact, you will be hard pressed to find any OT scriptures about being “saved” that does not relate to deliverance from Israel’s enemies. NO Jew ever expected to go to Heaven. The doctrine of the OT focuses on God’s judgment and the earthly kingdom. It takes men with a preconceived agenda to say people in the OT were saved by looking forward to the cross. I ask you to read three verses, Matthew 16:21-23. This is the record of the FIRST time Jesus mentions he is going to die to his disciples. Do they respond indicating they knew about the cross and were expecting Jesus to die soon? Of course not, Peter himself rebukes Jesus for even bringing it up. So here is a good question for all those who believe People in the OT get saved just like we do, or by looking forward to the cross. Matthew 16 is well into Jesus earthly ministry and all his disciples have been preaching the gospel of the kingdom for some time now, so how is it that Jesus JUST NOW mentions he is going to die? How could anyone in the OT be saved by the cross when the disciples themselves don’t know or understand ANYTHING about the cross as late as Matthew 16? The obvious answer is, they can’t be. Why? Because Jesus’ preaching was not about him dying on a cross! Jesus’ preaching was about Israel’s king is here and Israel’s earthly kingdom was at hand. We were taught to believe men’s opinions and denominational agenda’s. I’m asking you to learn how to rightly divide your Bible so you can believe the WORDS ALONE in your King James Bible AS WRITTEN and then just believe them. Interested?
For the last couple weeks, we have been studying some basic rules for any Bible student, teacher or preacher to follow. One of these rules is to trust God’s Word rather than commentaries. For many people, the idea of Bible study is reading a commentary. Last week when we discussed this rule I brought in eight commentaries, and we did a test. I looked up the same verse in all eight commentaries to see how each writer explained the verse. I picked a verse that is very clear to someone that rightly divides the Bible but hard to understand for the average Christian. Acts 1:6 says this: “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” If you’re not familiar with this verse, Jesus has just taught the disciples for 40 days after his resurrection, and they ask him this question. The kingdom they are asking about is the only kingdom they knew about and the only kingdom Jesus taught about which is the EARTHLY, DAVIDIC, LITERAL kingdom where Jesus would rule and reign ON EARTH. This is what the OT clearly teaches, and this is what Jesus taught; unfortunately, this is probably not what you are taught at church. You are wrongly taught that the prophets and disciples were wrong and that God really meant it was a “spiritual” kingdom with Jesus ruling and reigning in our hearts. People that teach this are accusing Jesus himself of being so bad of a teacher that even after 3 years walking with him during his earthly ministry and 40 days of teaching that the disciples were still confused! The confusion is caused by the stack of commentaries I just mentioned because most Christians trust commentaries over the Bible itself. I started with Matthew Henry’s commentary. He berates the disciples for asking the question of Acts 1:6 and then goes on to call them childish, prideful, confused, and a whole lot more. Commentary after commentary followed suit accusing the disciples of not understanding what Jesus really meant. I would ask all those who spiritualize your Bibles and explain away the promises to Israel; wouldn’t this be the perfect time for Jesus to stop them in their tracks and tell them all that the earthly kingdom talk was wrong? Does Jesus take this perfect opportunity to do this? No! He just tells them it’s not for them to know the timing of things. Jesus knows Israel will reject the offer of the kingdom after his resurrection and the stoning of Stephen. Jesus knows he will soon call Paul and offer salvation to Jew and Gentile alike based on belief alone apart from the law. Jesus does not berate them like the commentators do, but Jesus simply tells them it’s not for them to know the timing of things. I was happy to read in J. Vernon McGee’s commentary that he had some understanding of the earthly plans God had for Israel. Most of the others fall in line with their Covenant theology friends and most of Christianity as a whole and explain away everything the Bible so clearly explains for us. It’s not fashionable anymore to believe the Bible AS WRITTEN, and Bible believers are few and far between these days. The Bible works effectually in “those that believe.” (1 Tim 4:10) This explains the state of Christianity today clearly. Christianity believes the commentators over scripture. I very well realize you have been taught your whole life to read yourself into the kingdom Jesus was speaking of but I would remind you that the words themselves in scripture ALONE do not teach this.
I’d like to talk about one huge difference between the vast majority of churches that would be categorized as Christian, and even fundamental, and those that rightly divide their Bible. I’ve experienced this difference my whole life growing up in church. The difference is an openness in allowing the Holy Spirit to teach you something even though it might sound different than what your traditional view has been. One sure fire way of never teaching from a pulpit again is to teach something different than your denominational position says is allowable. I have a friend that was told he could not understand the Bible because he had never taken a course on Biblical hermeneutics. Let me tell you something about hermeneutics classes, they have ALL failed. I know that statement might anger some men with a higher education from a seminary or Bible college but the truth is the truth. Why would I say such a thing? Look around you at the state of Christianity today. The only churches growing quickly today are the ones who spend 45 minutes waving their hands in the air during their praise and worship service, and the preachers mumble self-help mottos and tell you everything God is going to give you just because he loves you so much. Never mind the FACT that God is as JUST as he is loving, and he hates the sins of pride and arrogance as much as he hates the sins that are easy to point out. Hermeneutics is a failure because each seminary teaches Biblical interpretation according to their own tradition! Every class in Bible interpretation is taught from the denominational agenda of the school. I could provide a list of denominations here, and you could easily tell me the slant each one teaches their “preacher boys” as they show up for class each day. There’s really not much need because these preacher boys have been spoon fed their denominations agenda from day one. I know this because I grew up in this and was well on my way to indoctrinating my kids too. Chances are you are doing the same thing. The huge difference between a church that rightly divides the Bible, and those who stand behind their chosen denominational position is an openness to the teaching of the Bible ALONE, taken LITERALLY, trusting that God can give us the words we are to learn in our own language. At Abundant Grace we allow 1 hour if needed EVERY SUNDAY for questions, and yes these are discussed in the open. If you can’t and don’t question anything and everything you believe, are you open to the Holy Spirits guidance? Why do you think every denomination has its own colleges and seminaries? Is this because they all teach the same method of Biblical interpretation? You already know the answer. It’s so once we have taught our kids that our denomination is right, and everyone else in Christianity is wrong we can send them to a college that tells them the same thing. Of course never mind the FACT that each of those other colleges also use the Bible to prove their position, and they tell all their kids that YOUR denomination is wrong! I understand many will not like this post but I’m so weary of seeing people fight for their traditions and ignore the Bible that it feels like a weight on my back, and I just want to scream at the world to just BELIEVE WHAT GOD SAID IN HIS WORD and forget your denominational tradition. Problem is so few are listening. Teachers today do such a masterful job of teaching around the verses that don’t support their position or explaining the meaning away that the average Christian has no clue how little they actually understand their Bible. I contend that those that read their Bibles regularly see these contradictions all the time but have been conditioned to ignore them. Does this describe you?
I recently heard someone use Galatians 1:6 to attempt to prove there is only one gospel in the Bible. This was accomplished in the usual way. The verse was read, and then explained in a way different than the words actually say. This is the standard procedure when people are tied closer to their denomination than the Bible itself. Well scripted explanations and references to commentators or scholars make the people in the pews easily ignore the fact that the ACTUAL WORDS often don’t convey the meaning being orated by the speaker. The book of Galatians was written in part to explain the OUTCOME of the Acts 15 Jerusalem council. The Jerusalem council was convened for the sole purpose of settling the dispute between PAUL and the ELDERS IN JERUSALEM as to the content of the gospel. This fact proves that there was a vast difference between the gospel being preached by Paul and the gospel that was STILL being preached by the 12. Peter in Acts 15:11 settles the matter by stating that “WE (Israel) shall be saved even as THEY (Gentiles)”. Peter had finally realized after the exhortation from Paul that his gospel of the earthly kingdom was set aside and God was now dealing with everyone in grace and by faith alone. The words themselves in Galatians 1:6 prove that there were different gospels. The phrase “another gospel” proves the point. Paul knows, at this time, that Israel has been set aside in unbelief. Paul tells us his gospel in verse 7 is the “gospel of Christ” and goes on to tell us in verses 8 and 9 that no other gospel should be preached other than HIS gospel, the gospel of Christ. This, once again, proves there was more than one gospel at the time! Pay close attention to the little word “YE” in verse 9! Words matter! Paul was talking to the Galatians. None of the 12 nor Jesus himself had a ministry to the Galatians! The Galatians had heard and received PAUL’S gospel! Most of the book of Galatians is about Paul telling these Gentiles NOT to be drawn back to the gospel Jesus and the 12 had been preaching which involved FAITH AND WORKS. Jesus over and over in Matthew through John required works along with faith. These are the verses your church probably changes to match your chosen denominational agenda. Paul goes on in verses 10-12 making sure his readers know his gospel did not come from men which separated him from the 12. Paul tells us in 15-16 that he was separated from his mother’s womb to “reveal his son in me”. Notice the words “in me”? Only Paul tells us of our position “in Christ” and only Paul explains that Christ is in us solely by the grace of God. Now read verse 20. Paul is making it very clear that his readers know he is not lying. This is quite a strange choice of words don’t you think? Paul says similar things several times. Would it make any sense at all for Paul to say this if he was preaching the same thing as the 12? This verse would make no sense whatsoever if Paul is preaching the same gospel as the 12. He would have all the backing of Peter and the 11, and there would have been no reason whatsoever for the Jerusalem council or much of the book of Galatians for that matter. Verse 20 proves Paul was preaching a different gospel than Peter. Paul feels the need to verbalize he is not lying because he is preaching grace alone apart from the faith plus works message that Jesus and the 12 preached. Paul goes on to tell his readers in 2:2 about “that gospel” that he preached among the gentiles as he explains the outcome of the Jerusalem council. Verses 2:7-9 clearly shows that the different gospels are going to different audiences AT THAT TIME. You must remember Peter’s remarks at the end of the Jerusalem council when he stated everyone now will be saved under PAUL’S GOSPEL. Galatians 2:11 through the end of the chapter explains Paul’s open rebuke of Peter because Peter was “NOT WALKING UPRRIGHTLY ACCORDING TO THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL” How could Peter, who walked with Jesus himself, not be walking according to the truth of the gospel? You that are loyal to your denomination and not scripture alone please answer me. I’ll tell you how he isn’t. Peter DOES NOT KNOW the gospel Paul is preaching! Peter has only known the Gospel of the kingdom and has never heard the gospel of the grace of God beyond what Paul had instructed him previously. The book of Galatians cannot be used to prove there is only one gospel in the Bible because this book proves to a Bible believer that Paul is preaching a gospel of faith ALONE, apart from the law. Jesus never taught a gospel of faith alone and the content of his gospel is that the earthly prophesied kingdom in AT HAND. Paul tells us NOT to go back to what the believers in Jerusalem were preaching. Why? Because the believers in Jerusalem had believed in Jesus’ gospel of faith plus works and repentance and baptism, but Paul knows that the gospel of the kingdom is over just like Peter now does. Galatians is clear! Your commentaries are written based on the writers chosen theological position, and most often this leans to a Covenant position with a few Dispensational phrases here or there where it doesn’t contradict their point. You can choose to believe the Bible as it stands, or you can choose to believe the Bible the way it gets “explained” to you. The choice is yours.
One thing you can pretty much guarantee in today’s Bible version and perversion industry is the blank page between what tradition calls the Old Testament and the New Testament. This blank page is taught as the dividing point between what belongs to the Jews and what belongs to all of us. Of course Christianity will go back and take the verses they want from the OT when it’s convenient for their agenda, and ignore the ones they don’t like from the NT for the same purpose. This OT/NT dividing line is one of the causes of the mass confusion we see among denominations today. Tradition calls the Gospels the beginning of the NT and we have millions of people who claim to follow the red letters in their Bibles because they want to follow Jesus. I’ll talk about the red letters in another blog, so let’s focus on the OT/NT dividing line. Just like the OT cannot have begun in Genesis 1 the NT cannot begin in Matthew 1. Testament and covenant are sometimes used interchangeably in scripture but there is a difference! Two living people can have a covenant, but a testament is not in force before the death of the testator. Why? Because the testament can be changed or modified while the testator is living and is only in force after the death of the testator. Hebrews explains this clearly. Hebrews 9:16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
According to the Bible itself the NT cannot have begun at Matthew 1, Mark 1, Luke 1 or John 1, because Jesus had not died yet. When you are reading the historical accounts of Jesus’ life in these books everything is about Israel and everything concerns the Jews. Christians today pretend to be Jesus followers by claiming to follow what Jesus said but have to ignore and avoid much of his clear teaching in the gospels to do it. If you are not a right divider of your bible now, I would ask you this simple question; don’t you think it’s odd that you claim to follow Jesus but then you don’t do so much of what he said? Jesus required his followers to follow the law and this continued after his death. In fact, the New Covenant would enable his people to follow the law perfectly. Strange because Paul tells us we are not under the law. Jesus told his followers to sell everything they had and Paul tells us we should provide for our family and if we don’t work we shouldn’t eat. Jesus and Peter said to endure to the end to get salvation later and Paul says it’s available NOW. The OT/NT division is the cause of much confusion in the teaching of today’s churches. The true division in scripture is between Prophecy and Mystery. Prophecy is information that was known “since the world began”, and Mystery information was “kept secret since the world began”. Compare Acts 3:21 with Romans 16:25. When you use the dividing line in your Bible that the Bible actually teaches, the Bible becomes understandable just as it stands, and you can clearly see how perfect it really is. When you refuse to follow the Bible and instead choose to continue to follow man made tradition and his OT/NT dividing line you will continue to be at odds with other Christians about doctrine after doctrine. There are some good traditions, but dividing your Bible between Malachi and Matthew is not one of them.
Trust but verify
This phrase became popular by President Ronald Regan. It was a good policy when dealing with Russia, and it is a good policy when dealing with Bible teaching and preaching. We all want to believe everything we hear on the radio, on TV, or from a pulpit is correct, but the Bible instructs us to follow a policy similar to trust but verify. That policy paraphrased is “listen but check for yourself.” You have no scriptural reason whatsoever to follow an allegorical interpretation of scripture unless the Bible itself is clear that the speaker is using an allegory. In John chapter 6, Jesus uses an obvious allegory when speaking of eating his flesh and blood. We know this is an obvious allegory because in verse 63 Jesus goes on to say: John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
Jesus makes it clear what he said earlier should be taken as an allegory. Unfortunately, many people are taught otherwise. Churches today are full of well-intended people allegorizing much of the Bible. Obviously when major portions of scripture are given a “spiritual” meaning only confusion can result. The lost world looks within the church and sees this confusion. I had a conversation recently with a girl who made the point that Christians use scripture against each other. This is a direct result of allegorizing the Bible. Each teacher picks the slant they want to put on scripture based on their agenda. I would challenge you to follow the policy we started with “trust but verify.” Christians follow the trust part and ignore the verify part. Have you ever taken the time to read the theological positions of other denominations, and the verses they use to prove their position? Here is the result if you have the honesty and enough desire for the truth to do it. You will see that the people your denomination says are wrong also use the Bible to prove their position and also have verses to support their position. When you do this enough, you can very well come to a point where you just give up and only follow the “trust” part. You feel like you can’t understand the Bible, and you never verify anything you just follow. We are NOT meant to just blindly follow. Romans 14:12 tells us we will give account of ourselves to God. Chances are you attend a church that has allegorized the entire earthly kingdom program God promised to Israel. This is the basis of ALL the confusion in Christianity today. If you read the literal meaning of a verse and it seems different than the meaning you are being taught, it is your imperative to verify. You verify by reading the verse just as it stands and see if the literal meaning can make sense within scripture if the verse makes sense then never spiritualize it! If the verse is speaking to Israel then don’t change it or put yourself into the context. If Jesus is speaking, the context is always his ministry to Israel because his ministry was only to Israel. Jesus sent Paul to you. Doctrine for the body of Christ is found in Paul’s epistles. Be a Berean and trust but verify.
An unfortunate byproduct of the way we were taught is the assumption that when we read the word baptism in the Bible we think water. This “water assumption” is just part of the reason Christianity is so divided and at odds against each other over baptism. One of the most egregious passages that this assumption happens in is Romans chapter 6. I challenge you to find water anywhere in this passage. You won’t find water because it’s just not there. More importantly, what you lose by forcing water into Romans chapter 6 is the proper understanding of an extremely important doctrine every Christian should know and understand.
Romans 6:3-4 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Did you notice how clearly these verses explain what you are baptized into? This is an identification into Christ’s death, NOT water. The reason you might not agree with this statement is you were never taught that Jesus was baptized TWICE. You’ve probably never been taught this but just read what Jesus said.
Luke 12:50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
Jesus was baptized twice! Jesus himself calls his death a baptism. So I ask you, which baptism of Jesus would you want to be identified with? His water baptism that had nothing to do with you, or his death baptism that had so much to do with securing your salvation. I realize your denomination teaches you there is water in Romans chapter 6, wouldn’t you rather just let the Bible say what it says and believe it? Can you explain what our Apostle Paul means when he says “I am crucified with Christ” (Gal 2:20) when you force water into this passage? Can you fully comprehend what it means to be dead to sin without a proper understanding of our identification with Christ’s death? Will you properly understand Colossians 2:12 and our being “buried with him in baptism” when you think water? You should know the answer but I’ll say it anyway. You will never understand these and other vastly important things when you force water into baptism passages where there is NO water. Christ’s death was a baptism according to scripture. If your church teaches Romans 6 is a water baptism then if they were honest they would be teaching that water is a REQUIREMENT for salvation because if this is a water baptism then it’s also how you get into Christ! We get into Christ today by the only baptism valid today and the only one Paul tells you matters today, the “One Baptism” of Ephesians 4:5, Galatians 3:27, Romans 6:3-4, I Corinthians 12:13, and Colossians 2:12. I’m sorry this does not fit your tradition but scripture is clear. Water baptism is arguably the most divisive doctrine in Christianity. Rightly dividing the Bible and following your Apostle Paul makes the argument about baptism go away overnight. Why? Because if you were following your bible WATER BAPTISM would go away overnight.
Tradition can be a very important thing in our life. Many have a family tradition they hold dear and look forward to each year. One of my favorite traditions is going to my mom’s and eating pork roast and sauerkraut for my birthday. This is by far my favorite meal of the year. Christianity is full of tradition. Most Christians are too quick to blame the Catholic church for holding traditions when they hold too many themselves. Religious tradition is something Jesus dealt with throughout his earthly ministry.
Mat 15:1-3 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
Jesus knew they were holding their tradition on equal ground or even higher than scripture. Something many do in error today. Unfortunately today, many Christians know the information that has been passed down to them in church but can’t use the Bible to find scriptural support for the things they believe. Jesus was not upset that they washed before eating, he was upset at the importance they put on this act. They were holding their man made tradition over scripture and even rejecting God’s word with their traditions.
Mar 7:7-9 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
They were “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men”. This is the result when Christians spiritualize the Bible. In their failure to rightly divide scripture and in their attempt to force things together that God made separate they teach for doctrine the commandments of men. Your church probably teaches you that you must tithe 10% of your income and even goes so far as to say that this must be calculated before taxes. Your church will use Malachi 3:8-10 to teach you this doctrine. Thousands if not millions of churches across the world teach this tradition. They of course have to ignore verse 6 in the context which specifically puts the “sons of Jacob” in view as the people being spoken to, but you have been taught to read yourself into all kinds of context where you don’t belong. Verse 12 in this chapter, and the immediate context, is also ignored which clearly states that someday “all nations” will call Israel blessed. This verse doesn’t fit into the man made theology that most churches follow today which ignores all the promises and prophecies of Israel’s future earthly kingdom. None of these verses line up with church tradition as taught today in denominational churches because they have assumed Israel’s promises and Israel’s prophecies for themselves. Why can they do this so easily? Christians today don’t know why they believe what they say they believe. Christians today blindly follow the theology of their chosen denomination over the Bible rightly divided. Malachi chapter three belongs to the people TO WHOM it was written. You don’t give because you are commanded to in this chapter. In this dispensation we give because we have the privilege to and because of the grace God extended to us. This is a higher standard than 10%. God is interested in your heart. God does have an interest in your giving, and his standard in found in Paul’s epistles. You know, the books in the Bible that are specifically written to the body of Christ in this dispensation. Our motivation is God’s grace not Israel’s tithe. Your giving is a direct indicator of how thankful you are to God for his grace. How are you doing?
Steve Schoenberger is a student of the Bible and the teacher at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship, A Mid-Acts Dispensational Bible church teaching the Bible rightly divided according the the revelation of the mystery delivered to the Apostle Paul