The stronger the legalistic bondage a person is under the greater they will oppose Grace!
“For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out.” 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15
The reason the early church was hated was in a word – Grace!
Grace means Not being under the law and there is nothing more frustrating to legalist than a follower of Jesus Being Grace-Full! Trust me I know I have been growing in Grace since the early 90s after being thrown out of a few churches for teaching it!
Why is that?
In my own journey I have found three primary reasons why “good works” make you more holy to be one of satans greatest deceptions –
1) Misery loves company – It’s easier to laugh with someone that is in the same miserable state that you are in – and nothing says misery more that doing something of no value that can’t ever be done completely!
2) The “aren’t I special” mentality – somehow God in all His infinite wisdom decided that just you are supposed to have just the right ingredients on the magic checklist to please Him! (Really did you think about the ego produced by this?)
3) Good works = getting more church members mentality – because everyone knows we are right and if you endure with us you will go to the sweet by and by! (Again and ego builder if there ever was one but it is good for teaching sales techniques!)
The problem with all of them as you can plainly see is that they do Nothing to establish His Peace that passes all understanding in your life because they are all based on works – NOT HIM!
The early church was persecuted the most by the most legalistic, rule bound and works for righteousness group that ever lived – before or since! The real church of Christ still is!!
Bob, is it because Ego wants power and control and not LOVE?
Yes, sad but true – most are in the flesh in this way!
There is such a beauty and a rest in True Grace as we can see our works as worthless but His Love as the single one defining important discovery to make! Once made the more Grace is understood and grasped the greater the greater the gratitude grows and the more a Love based relationship is strengthened! The reason why some historians talked about the bravery of the early Christians in the face of such hate and trials is that the early Christians got it! They got Grace – Paul made sure of that!
God bless you Bob.
I love how the N Testament records that certain men came to ‘spy out the liberty’ that the early Church believers enjoyed. Their response to the vibrant unity, love, power and work of grace in those people? . . . ‘You must be circumcised!’
It seems that history does repeat itself. Maybe not through pushing circumcision; but instead putting up expectations of religious duties, works and good old human effort and traditions of men.
Great point, Thank you for sharing Gary!
Yes satans greatest trick is to make us think we can contribute to our relationship with God! It takes a lot of Faith to think that God could Love me but that Is the essential quality and All I bring to the table!
True, brother Bob! Oh, how true!
Thank you for sharing sister!