FREEDOM OF RELIGION #4
Has God granted unto us freedom of religion? No. In the past few articles, I have presented many scriptures which I believe teach this; and the purpose of today's article will be to present other scriptures, which I believe also say the same.
First let me say: I believe Jo. 15:1-7 teaches this. In this account, Jesus declares that the relationship between a vine and it's branches is comparable to the one which does exist between his disciples and himself.
All right, what is the relationship between a vine and it's branches? The branches are the dependents of the vine. They receive all their life sustaining food from it. Yes, we all know this is true. They are not capable of providing their own food; nor do they receive any portion of it from any other vine. If the vine from which they grow dies, they die. Or if they are cut from their vine, they die (Jo. 15:6). My friends, inasmuch as these things are true of the vine and its branches, and since Jesus says their relationship is just like ours with him, then it necessarily follows that our only source of spiritual life sustaining food is that which we receive from him. Yes, we like the branches of a vine cannot provide our spiritual food. This is why (if we want to be saved) we cannot afford to add what we think we should do. Please let us not forget that Jesus in Jo. 15:5 says, "Without me ye can do nothing." In saying this, he was as much as saying; without me you can do nothing that will be acceptable with God.
Let us ask other scriptures why this is so. Mat. 7:21 and James 2:8-12 say only those who do all of the will of God will be saved. 1 Cor.2:6-13 says it is impossible for us (of ourselves) to know what the will of God is. Heb. 1:1-2 (as well as many others) says that God through Jesus has revealed unto us his new covenant will. Then Jo. 16:12-16 and a multitude of other scriptures say: He has revealed unto us his will through and only through Jesus. Oh, yes this is why we hear Jesus make the following statements. I am the true vine (Jo. 15:1). I am the door (Jo, 10:9). I am the good shepherd (Jo. 10:11). I am your only teacher (Mat. 23:8). I am the head of the church (Eph. 5:21-23). I have the key of David (Rev. 3:7). I open and no man shutteth (Rev. 3:7). I shutteth and no man openth (Rev. 3:7). I am the beginning and the ending (Rev. 1:8). I am the way and the truth (Jo. 14:6). No man cometh to the Father but by me (Jo. 14:6). All, except God, both in heaven and earth have been put in subjection to me (1 Cor. 15:27). I have all authority in heaven and earth (Mat. 28:18), There shall be a judgment and I shall be your judge (Acts 17:30-31, Mat. 25). The standard, and only standard, by which I shall judge you will be the teachings and only the teachings which God has given unto you through me (Heb. 1:1-2, Jo. 12:48).
Yes, oh yes my readers, this illustration of the vine and its branches proclaims loud and clear; we must have authority from Jesus for each and every thing we teach and practice.
Now again, I submit that what Eph. 1:20-23, Eph. 5:22-24, Col. 1:18, and 1 Cor. 12 have to say about the church, the spiritual body, also proves we must have authority from Jesus for each and everything we do. Yes, these scriptures when considered together, set forth the fact that the children of God are the members of the spiritual body; and that Christ is its head. Then Paul, in Rom. 12 and 1 Cor. 12 says the spiritual body is comparable to our physical body.
But, what do we know about the physical body? We know that it is the head of the body, which directs all of the activities of all the other members. Yes, we know that no member of the body ever becomes involved in any type of activity, before first (through the nervous system) receiving a message from the head. We also know that the members of our body will not respond to a message from another heard. For example, if you and I were in a room, I would not say unto your hands, please raise a window. But I would say unto you; Mr. X will you please raise a window? Then your (brain) head would send this message to your hands and they would immediately respond.
All right, inasmuch as we know these things peculiar to the members of our body and its head are true and inasmuch as the above cited scriptures say that we are the members of the spiritual body, with Christ as our head, and that the spiritual body is comparable to the physical body, then we must conclude that we are to never become involved in any spiritual activity which Jesus (our head) has not directed.
Now consider with me, some scriptures which have to do with obedience. Jesus in Mat. 7:21 says that all people yea all religious people, will not enter heaven. In this same passage, he also says that only those who do the will of God will enter. To do God's will is to do what he has commanded. So, if this scripture teaches anything, it is that we must obey God's commandments.
Jesus, in Jo. 8:51 teaches we may escape the second death by doing what he says. My readers if we can escape the second death by doing what Jesus says, then it must necessarily follow we will die the second death if we refuse to obey his teachings. Oh, incidentally, to die the second death is to be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8).
Paul, in Heb. 5:8-9, declares that Jesus is the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. But what about those who refuse to obey him? Paul, in II Thes. 1:6-9 says they will be lost.
Oh, yes my readers, these scriptures say (I believe) beyond a doubt that obedience unto the teaching of Jesus is essential unto salvation. Then there are others which say obedience unto all his teachings is demanded (Mat. 5:17-19, Mat. 23:27, Heb. 2:1-4, Ja. 2:8-12, Rev. 22:19).
But guess what? Jesus in Col. 3:17 has commanded that we refrain from both the teaching and doing of anything for which we have not authority from him. To do something in one's name is to do it by his authority, Adam Clark says, "It means to begin and end with him."
So my readers, since the above scriptures say we must obey all the commandments of Jesus, and since Col. 3:17 is a command that we refrain from both teaching and doing anything which is not authorized by Jesus; well those of us who want to be saved must say to ourselves; "Freedom of religion, don't even think about it."
By: Tommy Hodge
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