Liberty in the Spirit of the Lord

2 Corinthians 3:17  Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Do you get the powerful statement at the end of that verse? “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Not bondage to traditions of men and made-up rules. Not bondage to cultural norms and political correctness. Just liberty in following the Holy Spirit.

You see, when we follow the Spirit, the other regulations lose their hold. We must always stay in tune with the written word of God, for the Holy Spirit will not lead us contrary to it. We need to follow God, not the words of men.

Some things that men try to drag us down with:

  • Bible reading schedules
  • Church meetings
  • Activities “social” in nature to help the church
  • Traditions to help us follow God
  • Other non-essential doctrines of men

Walk in the Spirit, so you do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh!

Shredded Bibles: NIV and Head Covering

Last week I wrote about shredded Bibles that are missing vital truths of Scripture. God showed me something about head covering that relates to the “shredded Bibles”.

I wrote about long hair not being the covering of 1 Cor. 11 in “Is the Headcovering for Today”, but there’s another aspect to address. The NIV has corrupted the last two verses of the headcovering passage (1 Cor. 11:2-16) in a way that confuses the matter:

1 Cor. 11:14-16 (KJV) Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?  15  But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.  16  But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

1 Cor. 11:14-16 (NIV) Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him,  15  but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.  16  If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice–nor do the churches of God.

Notice several basic changes here: the KJV says “her hair is given her for a covering” while the NIV says “long hair is given to her as a covering”. Big difference, isn’t it? Which is correct? There are two Greek words here. The one translated “long hair” in verses 14 and the first part of 15 is Strong’s #2863, and means “to wear tresses of hair: – have long hair” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary). The word translated “hair” in the second part of verse 15–“for her hair is given her for a covering”—is Strong’s #2864, which means “the hair of the head (locks, as ornamental, and thus differing from G2359, which properly denotes merely the scalp): – hair.” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary) It is the Greek word from which #2863 (“long hair”) is derived. So we can conclude that God said “long hair” when He meant “long hair” and “hair” when He only was talking about hair.

Why the change? It lines up with the erroneous footnote in the NIV that twists the Scriptures to make them say that long hair is the covering.

Next, note the difference in verse 16: “we have no such custom” versus “we have no other practice” (NIV). The word “such” is Strong’s #5108, and means “truly this, that is, of this sort (to denote character or individuality): – like, such (an one).” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary) So we see that “such”—not “other”—is the correct translation.

Why is this important? Read the last part of verse 15 with verse 16 in the NIV: “For long hair is given to her as a covering.  16  If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice–nor do the churches of God.” In other words—if anyone disagrees that long hair is not the covering in verses 5-6, we have no other practice than long hair being the covering. On the other hand, if we use the KJV reading, we could say that if someone wants to be contentious and claim that long hair is the covering spoken of in verses 5-6, “we have no such custom”. Do you see the difference?

The last point is the translation “the nature of things” in verse 14. Perhaps I’m splitting hairs, but it seems to me that there is a difference. The word translated “nature” here seems to have the context of the way things naturally are when we look at its translation in other places. For example, it is also in Romans 1:26: “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature”. In other words, the natural way that women work and the way they were created.

The difference between “nature” and “the nature of things” is this: “nature” indicates that God has planted inside of us a natural understanding that men are to have short hair and women long hair. “The nature of things”, on the other hand, is more subjective, like pointing out that men who have long hair are usually the less savory members of society.

We need a Bible that will tell us the truth, not twist it to fit the translators’ bent.

Stand Fast in Liberty

I am amazed at the ways some people will seek to put us under the Old Covenant. It is akin to finding reasons for going to jail, or going to a monastery. It is bondage. God says:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (Galatians 5:1)

This is a command to not go back to the Old Testament Law. God had just said:

Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
(Galatians 4:21-31)

We are free from the Law. We must stand fast in that liberty and not go back to the Old Covenant and attempt to resurrect it. It is not optional. We are commanded: “Be not entangled with the yoke of bondage.”

Jesus gave us commands to keep, and gave us more through His secretaries. He did not want us to go back to the Old Law, or He would not have needed to give us new commands. There were already commands about doing good to your enemy (Prov. 25:21-22), loving your neighbor as yourself, etc. Jesus came and set up a new system that was not part of the Law. Through Him we die to the Law. We must walk in newness of life. Walk in the Spirit!

Shredded Bibles

Shredded Bible

Today, the Lord reminded me about Jeremiah 23:28-31

The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.  29  Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?  30  Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.  31  Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.

God’s word is “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword” (Heb. 4:12). His Word is more powerful than anything else. He says not to worry about the false teachers—“What is the chaff to the wheat?”

But God is against something else: prophets who do not give God’s powerful words; who steal God’s words from others. This is happening today in a variety of ways, but one of the worst is right in the very book that we hold in our hand and proclaim to be the Word of God. It is destroying the Church.

Is it a question of Bible translations? No, it is a question of Greek texts used to translate the New Testament. The scholars who tell us what to believe about the Bible have told us that the best text is an eclectic text put together from a handful of manuscripts that do not agree with each other. It removes part or all of 400 verses in the New Testament. It is called the Nestle-Aland/United Bible Societies’ (NU) Greek text.

There is another Greek text that scholars have been throwing mud at for over a hundred years. It is known as the Textus Receptus (Received Text) and is compiled from manuscripts that agree with each other. I am told that it is in agreement with approximately 95% of the Greek manuscripts available.

Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, told us that a wise man hears Jesus’ sayings and does them. If we are to hear Jesus’ sayings, they must be present in our Bibles. But even in the Sermon on the Mount, there are several things missing. Compare the readings below. The Textus Receptus readings are taken from the King James Version. The NU Text readings are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).

Textus Receptus

NU Greek Text

Matthew 5:22  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Matthew 5:22  But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

Matthew 5:44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Matthew 5:44  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Matthew 6:1  Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 6:1  "Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 6:4  That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

Matthew 6:4  so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:6  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Matthew 6:6  But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Matthew 6:13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Matthew 7:28  And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:

Matthew 7:28  And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching,

Some of these things may seem insignificant, like the last one. But is it significant if your Bible is missing the only record of the last part of the Lord’s Prayer? Yes, it is! Is it significant whether Jesus said not to give alms before men, or said not to be righteous before men? Yes, it is!

It only gets worse from here. As you continue through the New Testament, you find that seventeen verses are missing in their entirety. We find that in the Textus Receptus, Matthew 9:13 says that Jesus came to call sinners to repentance, while the NU merely says He came to call sinners. In Romans 8:1, the Textus Receptus says:

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

While the NU Greek text says:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

That is a big difference. Is it any wonder that “say-the-words-and-you’re-good-to-go” theology has taken over the church?

I am not exaggerating this by showing you the very worst examples. You can see for yourself what the facts are by reading the long list in The NIV Report. After you read it, ask yourself: “Who is right?”

The scholars who have told us that this is for the best have their arguments about “the oldest manuscripts” and the like. But let’s put down the reasoning and just look at the facts. When so many verses containing critical doctrine on critical subjects are damaged or missing altogether, we need to take a close look and find the truth. We cannot base eternity on a faulty Bible.

“Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

Led By the Spirit

But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.  (Galatians 5:18)

This is the answer to the question of the Law: walk in the Spirit. Led by God’s Spirit, we can walk in obedience to Him, doing exactly what He wants us to do.

When God showed me about redeeming the time, one thing that stood out to me was that in order to redeem the time, we must get direction from HIm. Only God knows what will happen tomorrow. Therefore, only He knows what the very best usage of our time is.

When we don’t listen to God and seek His direction, we will waste time. We cannot be led by the Spirit if we don’t listen to Him. Consequently, we end up doing things that have no eternal value. Many times, God will lead us to do the exact opposite of what seems logical. However, if we will follow Him, we will learn the logic of His direction. If we insist on doing our own thing, we never learn what He wanted to teach us and never accomplish what He wanted us to.

Live in the Spirit!

Vision

I have heard about “vision” and family vision and such. There is even an organization called “Vision Forum”. But what is “vision”?

One day I read in my Bible:

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

The opposite of having no vision is obedience to God! Obviously, we no longer keep the Law of Moses, but we still are to obey God’s commands in the New Testament. So the answer is not “developing a vision for your family” but learning obedience to God.

One other point: those who have no vision—who do not obey God—will perish.

The Law

In the church today, there is something that underlies so many disputes, discussions, deceit and divisions: the Law. Not the law of the land, but the Old Covenant. I have not found another teaching that is so pervasive in its scope and the places that it pops up. It worked its way into my beliefs.

God speaks very clearly about the Law in the New Testament. He says:

Luke 16:16-17 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. 17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

Acts 15:1-2,10-11, 19-29 And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. …10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. … 19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. 22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas: namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia. 24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: 25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well, Fare ye well.

Romans 7:1-4 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 15:54-57 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2:16-21 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. 17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. 18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Galatians 3:24-25 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

So why do we think that we need to follow the Law? If only we knew! It sneaks into the smallest places and affects our lives. As i have surveyed the church, I have realized that there are many places where the Law sneaks into our thinking. Like:

  • A church building being “God’s House” (Referring back to the Temple and the Tabernacle of the Old Testament)
  • Going to this house to worship one day of the week.
  • Applying the “Sabbath day” to Sunday
  • Applying the rules about the Sabbath to Sunday
  • Tithing
  • Priests (pastors) who go to God for us and are the intermediaries between us and God.
  • Sanctioning divorce because the Law allowed divorce
  • Following dietary laws based on Old Covenant laws
  • Applying Israelite methods of romance to Christians today
  • Requiring beards
  • Using the Old Covenant as a basis for a doctrine or teaching instead of Jesus’ commands

There are other things that could be on this list. We must beware of “flat Bible” theology: holding that the Old and New Testaments carry equal weight in determining our doctrine and way of life. Most such teachers will not keep all the Old Law or the New Covenant. They pick and choose from each, making a mis-mash of teaching. Others pick out other commands from each section  while ignoring some commands. Is that what God wants?

No! God wants us to realize that we are dead to the law. We are not to go back to the Old Law and pull out things to do. Galatians 2:18 says:

For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

If we go back to the Law and try to resurrect certain things in it, we make ourselves transgressors. Nobody keeps the whole Law. They would have to offer sacrifices if they did so. But if we want to use part of the Law, we have to accept the whole thing. We are building again what we have destroyed. You can’t die to something, but bring part of it back to life.

God has brought over certain things from the Old Covenant into the New. For example, He brought over the last six of the Ten Commandments—but not the first four, as such. We are still commanded not to be idolaters and not to blaspheme and use filthy language. BUT—God never re-instituted the fourth commandment—“Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.”

God instituted things in the Old Covenant that were for the nation of Israel—a nation on earth that did not have a Savior. There were things that they did that were types for today.

Such is the Sabbath. In Colossians 2:16-17, God says:

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

So the Sabbath day is a type. In Hebrews, God explains further:

Hebrews 4:1-5  Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.  2  For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.  3  For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.  4  For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.  5  And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

There is an argument that I saw one time: “God never said that we don’t need to keep the Sabbath.” No. God said that the whole Law of Moses no longer applies. That includes the Sabbath. If you want to observe the Sabbath, that’s fine (Col. 2:16). But God does not command us to observe it. Nor do we need to observe feast days, dietary laws, or other ceremonies.

This is so important if we want to have unity in the church. So much division comes from pulling commands out of the Old Testament and holding them up as things we must observe today.

For years, I would have agreed that we are no longer under the Law. I wrote an article called “The Guaranteed Christian Success Formula” in which I said:

No, we do not need to keep the Old Testament law.

At the same time, I had an article online that said that women who wear pants are an abomination to God, because Deuteronomy 22:5 says, “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” This is clearly part of the Old Covenant, but I said that we still needed to follow it because it said that women wearing pants was an abomination to God.

But when we started studying the Law and its relationship to us as Christians, we saw that there were only four commands in the Law that we need to keep, spelled out in Acts 15: “That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication”. Our guide in life is the New Testament, and you cannot argue from the New Testament alone that women must not wear pants.

The Law is still with us for us to refer to, to help us understand the New Testament. But we must not go back and try to keep the Law. We are dead to it through Christ.