Thanks for the article! I printed it out! But…I am so confused over some things in my life that I was reminded of in your article. You mentioned your own testimony, of how you prayed the prayer, and was baptized in the Holy Spirit, and then lived your life away from Christ for a while. So please accept my questions as I intend them. I just need some answers to things? I may or may not take what you say, but I just need to start asking the questions instead of being shamed into silence.

    Two Questions: What is this Baptism of the Holy Spirit? I have heard the argument before, but I don’t understand it. Do you believe it is necessary for salvation, and what do you mean by it?

    Secondly, In that time you were away from Christ, do you believe you were still saved. Did your lack of good works take away your salvation?

  2. Eric L

    Good article. In addition to your two definitions, I would say that many Christians I know believe legalism is “the belief that we can fall out of favor – or even lose our salvation – by failing to maintain certain behaviors like ________________ and _________________. ” Or to put it briefly, “You’re not a good Christian if you do / don’t __________ disputed behavior.” For instance, some would say, “you’re not a good Christian if you celebrate Easter and Christmas and ignore the biblical festivals.”

    That may not be disputed for you and me, but for most who call themselves Christians, this is far from a settled issue. For my dad, growing up, the disputed areas that defined who was a good Christian were not dancing, not going to movies, or ladies not wearing makeup. Those who insisted on these were called legalists by the Christians who didn’t.

    What are your thoughts on us exhorting Christians to do things (or avoid things) that we are convinced are clear from Scripture, but they consider optional? I like you’re rules/relationship continuum and may draw that out on a napkin while having discussions with people. But if they really don’t believe something is biblical, then my exhortation for them to obey just appears to them like brow-beating.

    • It’s important that we make the distinction here between man-made rules/regs like “ladies don’t where make up,” “don’t go to movies or dance” etc. and rules that are in the Word, ie:

      Deuteronomy 12:30
      Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.

      We have a responsibility to exhort one another daily, which means to not just encourage each other to live holy, but to rebuke when necessary. Each 1×1 communication requires discernment, for example you don’t want to come on strong to someone who is downtrodden and barely holding on… but if someone has been “in the Way” for awhile (pun intended), they should be able to take rebuke/correction. I know, I know, most people can’t handle rebuke/correction, but oftentimes that’s there problem. Hope this helps.

      • Eric L

        It does help. Thanks for the distinction between man-made and God-made expectations. I like how you emphasize the importance of not snuffing out smoldering wicks, too. “Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable”. BTW I didn’t see the other comments when I posted mine, which covered some similar territory.

        Specifically, I have trouble getting very far with traditional evangelicals when we discuss Sabbath worship, or keeping the biblical festivals rather than the traditional American holidays. Almost universally their sense is that I must think I am better Christian since I do X and they do only Y. The words legalistic and condemning comes up a lot, even when I’m gentle (which is most all the time).

        They don’t see Sabbath or the festivals as biblical, mostly due to a misinterpretation of Paul’s teachings. If they did, I might exhort them on biblical grounds. But we’re not agreeing on the grounds, you know? Should I get a little aggressive? It’s not my style, but if I thought it might be more convincing I’d give it a try!

        • I would say follow the Spirit’s leading. Most of these pastors don’t “get it” because they don’t want to “get it.” They’ve been “in the Way” for a very long time and they only support scripture as long as it lines up with their understanding, which (like you said) usually comes from a misunderstanding of Paul’s scriptures. I hope that you can convince some, but keep in mind, He said the path that leads to life is narrow and few there be that find it, so don’t be surprised if few (or none) listen to you.

          All the best… Kevin

  3. Dorcas

    Hi Kevin, thank you for the wonderful teachings. I want to ask a question in relation to legalism or self righteousness. In many churches in Africa, including my church, wearing make up, jewelry, women wearing trousers and hair extensions is condemned. If you are such a person, you are not regarded as born again at all. My church is not growing, and new people come and go because we are called religious. What does the bible say concerning the above mentioned and whats your view about this matter? I am passionate about serving in any ministry and I want to open a women’s ministry, as I plan to involve women from different denominations, I wouldn’t want this to be an issue. Thanks.

    • Hi Dorcas,

      I feel that people take 1 Peter 3:1-6 way out of context. The subject is that of wives winning over their unsaved husbands to YHWH. Peter is not saying that women shouldn’t wear make-up or make themselves look “better”. He’s saying that outward beauty is NOT going to contribute to the salvation of their unbelieving husbands. It is the meek and quiet spirit, as well as submission to their husbands that will win them over.

      From a practical standpoint, I’m not against women making themselves look good outwardly as long as they are not going out of their way to be sexual about it. If you feel like you need to ban makeup and other forms of outward adornment because the women are struggling in the area of purity, I have no problem with that… but technically that is not in the Word, so you shouldn’t make a doctrine out of it.

      Lastly, I want to stress that you shouldn’t look for growth in numbers… numbers do not automatically mean that God favors what you are doing. If numbers equate with God’s favor, then Joel Osteen and the other false teachers/prophets are doing the right thing. He said the Way is narrow… and holiness is never popular. You make it your focus to follow the Word (all of it) and let YHWH worry about the numbers.

      I hope this helps.

      • Dorcas

        Thank you Kevin. I appreciate your views on this matter. I have indeed gained clarity on this matter.

  4. Nina Dixon

    I have come across teaching in ‘Hebrew Roots’ that seemed to be making Torah obedience a pre-requisite to ‘salvation’. Thanks for this article, it has clarified for me how wrong that view point is 🙂

    • Even HR groups put the cart before the horse. Yahweh doesn’t show His children how to become citizens of the Kingdom until they decide to cross over. He shows them grace BEFORE they make the decision by giving them the OPPORTUNITY to go from “Enemy of the Cross” to “Friend of God.”

  5. lauralee

    Dear Kevin,
    Your message is a breath of fresh air. I left organized religion a while ago due to disgust toward cheap grace, lack of honoring His commandments, and blatant disobedience to The Word. It has been a lonely journey, but Yahweh has led me to a few like minded folks and is opening my eyes to the fact that I really am not alone in my search for Truth and desire to walk in His ways. It is a narrow road, this walk to eternity…thank you so much for being a willing vessel for His Breath to move through you…Shalom

  6. Kris

    Thanks again, Kevin! More good work dispelling misconceptions, misinterpretations, deception and lies!!!!While I’ve come a long way with the Lord, He faithfully opened my eyes through your articles on Righteousness to a particular lie I had been taught in the organized church. So timely! The Lord brought me and my husband out of the world in church over a decade ago and even the false signs and wonders movement! Thank God. Your articles have been so helpful and confirming for me, as well as for the many brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I’ve shared your material. We’re all very grateful. God bless you!!! Keep hearing from the Holy Spirit and share it with us. It’s so good!

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