In the previous series "Teach Us Thy Statutes, Thy Law" and "Stewards of Grace," one of the main things I was trying to say was, "Why do we pride ourselves on living a lesser law while pretending we're actually living the higher law?"
The question we should ask ourselves is, "Are we deceived, or just hypocrites?" (That question was not meant to be judgmental; I am not accusing anyone but myself.)
Religion is expert at sleight of hand: skillfully diverting our eyes (and trust) away from God by manipulating our faith through the prestidigitation of priestcraft.
Sleight of hand
One of the simplest tricks of the devil is to take telestial practices, doctrines and programs and make us think they are all we need, when in fact they are impotent to save us, to transform us, to produce a mighty change of heart or a real relationship with God. The devil rebrands the same ol' snake oil and says, "Drink this celestial elixir."
I mean, who in the world is following Satan intentionally? We follow him unknowingly because we believe we are following Christ.
I heard John MacArthur say something like, "The sign above the road to hell is marked "HEAVEN."
What's Lucifer's plan? To convince us we're progressing along the straight and narrow path when in fact we're knee deep in the quicksand of a hollow religion, living on the scraps of a dead, or lesser, law. (The name "Lucifer" means Torch-bearer; maybe it should be translated Gas-lighter.)
Poor Unfortunate Souls
What's the harm of living a lesser law, one might ask? We're not perfect, after all.
The problem is very real. The problem is the Law of the Harvest. The problem is expecting the fruits of the celestial kingdom to come from living a lesser law.
Are we gonna plant a tomato seed and harvest a giraffe? And yet . . . just maybe . . .
So in this Series, "The Time of Harvest is Come," we will discuss the spiritual implications of the Law of the Harvest, and why we sell our birthright for a mess of pottage when we settle for a lesser law.
The Magic Kingdom
The devil's bargain is to trade something of eternal worth for something of lesser value. That is how we slip from the gospel law, trading the pure word of God for sacred cows.
Have you noticed how doctrines and practices that are "lesser" often end up becoming sacred cows?
It's kind of surprising, really. That in the midst of Christ's glorious Good News; in the bosom of eternal and infinite love; in the presence of unfailing redeeming grace . . . we want to wrangle over which hand to take the sacrament with, or what color of shirt we should wear to church; or whether open-toed sandals are modest; or whether we should play with face cards; or drink caffeine; or watch rated R movies; or stand when a dignitary enters (or leaves) a room; or eat at a restaurant on Sunday; and so on.
A "sacred cow" is defined as "an idea, custom, or institution held to be above criticism."
We can usually tell when we've struck someone's sacred cow because they become defensive about it, their pride piqued.
My favorite sacred cow is Home Teaching . . . I mean, Ministering.
TRIGGER WARNING: This series may contain several sacred cows headed to the slaughterhouse.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: