Your letter was very touching. I will show you the way to freedom, and to rest from this yoke you now carry, only strive to enter it. Here are the answers you have sought for years to find.
In Romans 1 Paul presents our utterly hopeless and lost condition. In Romans 2-3 he presents the purpose of the law, that it was to show us our guilt and present us condemned before its requirements. In Romans 4-8 we find the good news, that we have been redeemed from the condemnation of the law. XXXXXXXX, so long as you cling to the law you will remain under the ministry of the law, which according to Paul, is “the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones.” 2 Corinthians 3:7.
We are no longer called to follow “the letter of the law.”
Jesus “hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” 2 Corinthians 3:6.
It is the letter of the law and your seeking to obey it in every particular that is leading you down this path of self-hatred, guilt and condemnation. I know this path all too well. I followed it for nearly two decades, and have had more than my fair share of what you are still going through.
Obeying the letter of the law leads to this type of bondage and servitude. Galatians is dealing with this in very plain terms. Unfortunately the interpretations of the Adventist church have placed a veil over our eyes and kept us from seeing the liberty Christ wants for us.
2 Corinthians 3:12, 14 12 seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 14 But their minds were blinded: for UNTIL THIS DAY REMAINETH THE SAME VAIL UNTAKEN AWAY IN THE READING OF THE OLD TESTAMENT; WHICH VAIL IS DONE AWAY IN CHRIST.
For YE HAVE NOT RECEIVED THE SPIRIT OF BONDAGE AGAIN TO FEAR; BUT YE HAVE RECEIVED THE SPIRIT OF ADOPTION, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily TO SPY OUT OUR LIBERTY WHICH WE HAVE IN CHRIST JESUS, THAT THEY MIGHT BRING US INTO BONDAGE:
Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; THE ONE FROM THE MOUNT SINAI, WHICH GENDERETH TO BONDAGE, which is Agar.
For this AGAR IS MOUNT SINAI IN ARABIA, AND ANSWERETH TO JERUSALEM WHICH NOW IS, AND IS IN BONDAGE WITH HER CHILDREN.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
XXXXXXXX, as long as I was under the Mt. Sinai I could never understand those words. I could never know the peace of the gospel, and the transforming presence of Christ in my heart. Neither will you. You will remain in a this constant unwinnable struggle that only leads to self-loathing guilt and condemnation. There are more Adventists going through this same thing than are willing to admit it. If they are not self-loathing, then they are self-righteous and judgmental of others who are.
The good news XXXXXXXX, is that you are one of the publicans that know your sinfulness and unworthiness, which means you are able to find peace in Christ. But you will never find it as long as you are trying to climb Mt. Sinai.
Have you ever read Pilgrims Progress? Christian went through the same thing when he was deceived into climbing Mt Sinai. The further he went, and the closer he came to the top, the greater his burden began to crush him. The greater his guilt and his shame.
XXXXXXXX, we like Christian in Pilgrims Progress have had one “Worldly Wiseman” come and deceive us into going the wrong way, the way to Mt. Sinai. If you have not read Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan then you need to know this language I just used comes from his book written in the 1600’s during the reformation.
Today I am fortunate because I now get to play the role of the character in his book called “Evangelist” who came to “Christian” and got him back onto the path that leads to the Cross through the wicked gate. But in order to get back on the right path Christian had to leave Sinai behind him and travel the other direction.
Mt. Sinai is not the goal of our journey. We have been lied to about this. Mt. Sinai was only intended to do its ministry of condemnation, so that “all the world may become guilty before God.”
The Adventist church now holds you in this place and it will never let you go from it. You will be in this bondage the rest of your life unless you decide to get back onto the right path again. The law was only meant to be our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.
Galatians 3:24-25 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, WE ARE NO LONGER UNDER A SCHOOLMASTER.
When I was a boy teachers could still slap a child’s wrist with a ruler as a mode of punishment. If permission was granted by the parent the teacher could even spank a child, and that was in the 80’s.
If you think that is something, then you need to realize that the law which was our schoolmaster is able to do much more harm than this. It does not afflict the physical like my teachers did; rather it goes right after the heart, and produces guilt condemnation and the like. Before we come to Christ that is exactly what we all need. We need to know we are lost in order to appreciate and accept what Christ has to offer.
XXXXXXXX, I pray God that your heart will receive the truth tonight, that the true gospel does not leave us there. The gospel of the Adventist church does, but the true gospel sets us free from this. I want you to know that freedom. And yes you can. I once thought as you now do, that it was something I will never achieve and that I was not good enough. And that there must be something wrong with me. But today I am FREE from condemnation and guilt. I know from experience what it means when Paul wrote, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1.
However you need to know that this will ONLY happen if you choose to cast out the bondwoman and her child (Mt. Sinai). See Galatians 4:30.
God no longer measures us by the letter of the law, he only asks for us to bare good fruit. Love gentleness, kindness, and patience. Weeds will pop up from time to time, but when your focus is on Christ instead of the law you will find uprooting the weeds becomes something done more naturally from within the heart.
Obeying the law is a yoke of bondage. The scripture tells us this. You yourself said, “I tried to do right.. but my body was wearing out. After years of physically demanding labor.. and serving the Lord. It seems that He really put me through the rigors. and i feel broken.. and with little to offer God. Yet people keep expecting me to do more, give more.. keep working etc. etc.. .and i feel so exhausted.”
Do you not know that Jesus spoke these words just for people like you and me that have felt just like this?
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Christ was speaking to the Jews who were still under the law who were wearing its yoke.
Paul tells us plainly,
2 “she is LOOSED from the law “ (same Greek word as abolished in Eph 2:15, also v. 6) 3 “she is FREE from that law; 4 “ ye also are BECOME DEAD to the law by the body of Christ;” 6 But now we are DELIVERED FROM the law” and “serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” (Referring to the Tables of Stone Paul also said, “The Letter Kills” 2 Cor 3:6) (WHICH LAW?) 7 “I had not known sin, but by the law: for I HAD NOT KNOWN LUST, EXCEPT THE LAW HAD SAID, THOU SHALT NOT COVET.” Romans 7:2-7
Clearly the law we have been loosed from, free from, become dead to, and delivered from is the law which said, “Thou Shalt Not Covet.” i.e. the Ten Commandments. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. Galatians 2:19
XXXXXXXX, I will end my writing here, I want to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart. Read these passages from the Holy Bible. Receive its message and let the healing begin.
As you read what Paul wrote about the “works of the law” in the following verses think about what you just shared with me, “Yet people keep expecting me to do more, give more.. keep working etc. etc.. .and i feel so exhausted.”
WE ARE NO LONGER OBLIGATED TO OBEY THE OLD COVENANT 1. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. (Compare to Galatians 3:12) Romans 10:4-5
2. v. 2 “she is loosed from the law “
3. v. 3 “she is free from that law;
4. v. 4 “ ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ;”
5.v. 6 But now we are delivered from the law” and “serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”
Compare with 2 Corinthians 3:3,6
v. 3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. v. 6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
7. “ I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” Romans 7:2-7
Clearly the law in question by Paul is the Ten Commandments.
8. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20
9. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Romans 3:27-28
10. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, Romans 4:13-16
11. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (Compare to Galatians 3:23, 5:18) Romans 6:14
12. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; Romans 9:31- 32
13. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Galatians 2:16
13. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. Galatians 2:19 ( I noticed I posted # 13 twice, but was too lazy to re-number the list 🙂 )
14. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Galatians 2:21
15. This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Galatians 3:2
16. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Galatians 3:5
17. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. Galatians 3:10
18. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. Galatians 3:11
19. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Galatians 3:12
20. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every
one that hangeth on a tree: Galatians 3:13
21. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Galatians 3:17-18
22. THE LAW WAS “ADDED” UNTIL CHRIST CAME Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Galatians 3:19
23. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. Galatians 3:21
24. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:23-24
25. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; Ephesians 2:15
CHRIST WAS CIRCUMCISED, AND KEPT THE SABBATH AND OTHER FEAST DAYS BECAUSE HE WAS BORN UNDER THE LAW PAUL MAINTAINS THAT JESUS FULFILLED THE LAW SO THAT HE COULD FREE US FROM THE LAW
26. But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. Galatians 4:4-5
DESPITE PAUL’S PLAIN TEACHING ABOUT THE LAW, THERE REMAINS THOSE WHO STILL DESIRE TO OBEY IT. To these Paul asks,
27. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? Galatians 4:21
28. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Galatians 5:3 DON’T BE FOOLED! THOSE WHO TEACH OBEDIENCE TO THE LAW DO NOT OBEY IT THEMSELVES
29. Galatians 6:13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
30. Galatians 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. OBEYING THE CONDITIONS OF THE OLD COVENANT NULLIFIES THE NEW
31. Galatians 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.