OUT OF LIBERIA

LIBERIA'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE GLOBAL SPIRITUAL LANDSCAPE

Recently I had a conversation with a young lady whom I believe had strayed from the pure faith in Christ. I had called to invite her over for dinner on Christmas day. However her response was that she no longer celebrated Christmas because of its pagan origins. She went on to add that she no longer went to Church on Sundays nor did she call the Lord, "Jesus" anymore because his right name is "Yeshua". She now observed the seventh day Sabbath as a dedicated "Hebrew".

I was not shocked by her comments but at the realization that she had gone back to a works mentality in obtaining the salvation of her soul. It dawned on me that when Christians lose sight of Jesus and His finished work on the cross pertaining to our salvation, deception can easily find its way back in.

Let's say Christmas was no longer observed (Jesus was not born on December 25th); Jesus should be called Yeshua; and the seventh day sabbath should be observed. Would mankind be saved? It is amazing to realize how many false belief systems are taking root in the lives of people because they lose focus of the finished work of Christ in his death and resurrection. I have come across people who major in the following questions:

Is Christianity a white man's religion?

Was Jesus white or black?

Who are the real Jews?

Can the different Bible translations be trusted?

Should we celebrate Easter or not?

The questions go on and on. Like any other issue, people have their opinions and persuasions. However, my stance on these matters has nothing to do with my deliverance from sin and the dominion of darkness.

What bearing does the color of God have on our redemption? The celebration or non observance of Christmas does not save a single soul. The version of the Bible one reads does not bring salvation either. Paul in the book of Colossians ( Chapter 1: 15-23, NLT) clearly lays out the preeminence of Christ in every way possible.

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.

He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.
Christians need to frequently remind themselves that no religious rituals can justify us in God's sight. Only faith in the finished work of Christ gets the job done. Our souls should find rest in this. Not in all of these endless arguments about colors, feasts, holidays, race, creeds, denominations etc.
These distractions are not new. Paul dealt with the works mentality among the Galatian Christians (Galatians 2:6-9).
6 I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.
Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.
And for those who are still stuck on obeying special days (like this young lady) as their way to salvation, here is the Spirit's response through Paul, the apostle (Colossians 2:6-23):
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. 10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
11 When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. 12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.
13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
16 So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths17 For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. 18 Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, 19 and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.
20 You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, 21 “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them23 These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.

My pray for you and for this young lady as we enter 2014 is that Christ will fill you with the spirit of wisdom and revelation, that you will be grounded in His love and that you will continue to look to Him as the author and perfecter of you faith. Amen.
                                                    References
Colossians 1;Colossians 2; Galatians 2 (New Living Translation). Retrieved from http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Col&c=1&p=1&...

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