Myths that Turn from the Truth

There are two main distinctions to recognize with the law of Moses: (1) the moral righteousness of the law; (2) the non-moral actions of the law. The righteousness of the law is expressed in the moral commandments, “Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness … Thou shalt not covet” (Exo 20:13-17). Such morality is inherent and binding upon all people made after the image of God. But the actions of the law are the non-moral ordinances God imposed upon His people by circumcision: abstaining from meats, keeping the Sabbath day, observing annual feasts, and offering sacrifices.

Because Christ set us free from those actions of the law, He warned us to not misunderstand Him as destroying the righteousness of the law, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law [nomos 3551], or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Mat 5:17), “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law [nomos 3551] and the prophets” (Mat 7:12). He will deny entrance into the Kingdom those that didn’t keep the righteousness of the law, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity [anomia 458]” (Mat 7:23), “workers of lawlessness” (DBY), “you lawbreakers” (NET), “you who practice lawlessness” (NKJV), “you who break God’s laws” (NLT). The Greek noun anomia is the negation of the noun nomos for “law.”

The issue with the Gentiles in Galatia was that false teachers of the law had deceived them into circumcision with the intent of keeping the actions of the law. The Greek noun ergon means “actions,” whatever actions the context requires. In Galatians, it’s Peter’s actions that “he did eat with the Gentiles” (Gal 2:12), “We are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, yet we know that no one is justified by the works [ergon 2041] of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works [ergon 2041] of the law, because by the works [ergon 2041] of the law no one will be justified” (Gal 2:15-16 NET). Nobody is justified by the actions of the law—abstaining from unclean meats—but by Christ’s faithfulness to His Father in giving Himself as the sacrifice for our sins, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20 NET).

This was also the issue Paul addressed with the Romans—Christ’s faithfulness versus the actions of the law, “the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ … because of Jesus’ faithfulness” (Rom 3:22.26 NET), “a man is justified by faith [faithfulness] without the deeds [ergon 2041] of the law” (Rom 3:28).

Rather than the actions of the law versus the faithfulness of Christ, false teaching today makes it an issue of the righteousness of the law versus our faith or beliefs. The righteousness of the law is being destroyed by faith.

In the apostles’ days, the false teachers were “specially they of the circumcisionJewish fables [mythos 3454], and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. Unto the pure all things are pure” (Tit 1:10,14-15). The myth they used to turn people from the truth was that some meats weren’t pure. But these were simply actions of righteousness which don’t save, “Not by works [ergon 2041] of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost [breath]” (Tit 3:5). In our days, true to what Paul prophesied, it’s a different myth altogether that’s turning people away from the truth, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables [mythos 3454]” (2Ti 4:3-4). The myth is that we’re saved by faith, not by keeping the moral righteousness of the law.

The truth Christ and His apostles taught is that we must live righteously: “That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:20); “Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law” (Rom 2:26); “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us” (Rom 8:4); “that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness” (1Pe 2:24); “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1Pe 4:18); “he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous … whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God” (1Jo 3:7,10).

In Christ’s last words to us, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev 22:14). It’s not about believing but about doing God’s commandments.

Trinitarian Discipleship Programs

Christ’s great commission is to “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Mat 28:19-20). In commanding us to “teach all nations” or “make disciples of all the nations” (NIV, NLT, NKJV), He left no doubt as to what we’re to be teaching them, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” But rather than teaching Christ’s commandments, Trinitarian ministers concocted their own religious discipleship programs that accomplish nothing of eternal value.

Their discipleship programs are simply doctrines and commandments of men: “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mat 15:9); “(Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?” (Col 2:21-22); “Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth” (Tit 1:14). When Paul said, “Touch not; taste not; handle not,” he was alluding to the original deception, “God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it” (Gen 3:3). Commandments of men aren’t what God commanded.

I was a Trinitarian disciple for almost 30 years until my own study of the Scriptures finally led me to the truth taught by Jesus Christ and His apostles. Although I was a disciple of Trinitarian ministers, I wasn’t a very good one because I constantly questioned and bucked their program. I was an ongoing frustration to them because of my dogged pursuit of the truth in contention with their false doctrines.

Memorizing Scripture is one of the greatest dupes Trinitarian ministers lade on their disciples. They tout it by misusing certain statements: “thou shalt meditate therein day and night” (Jos 1:8); “Thy word have I hid in mine heart” (Psa 119:11); “Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart” (Pro 7:3). Memorizing verses helps us feel as though we’re accomplishing something, while wasting our time and mental energy accomplishing virtually nothing!

Another hoodwink is getting us on daily Bible reading plans by blended, canonical, chronological, historical, or Old and New Testament together. By immersing us into a daily reading plan, it soothes our consciences that we’re doing something of eternal value, and also keeps us from in-depth study of the Scriptures to discover the truth for ourselves. But if we really want to study, however, they direct us to their commentaries, theological works, study groups, and “Christian” books that keep us trudging down the broad way to destruction.

Memorizing verses, daily Bible reading, listening to sermons, attending Bible study groups, and reading “Christian” books are all aimed at occupying us with exactly what Christ warned against, “whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them … every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:24,26). Their programs simply spin our wheels hearing and hearing but not doing!

Apologetics is another huge deception of Trinitarian discipleship programs. It’s essentially training us to defend the very system that’s damning our own souls! Rather than “earnestly contend for the faith [faithfulness] which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jde 1:3), it’s contending for their false Trinitarian theological system. They misuse Peter’s directive, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1Pe 3:15), to convince us that we need to be trained with arguments against any objections. But Peter was quoting from Isaiah, “Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread” (Isa 8:13). When we fear God in our hearts and not men, He will give us what needs to be said: “take no thought how or what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit [breath] of your Father which speaketh in you.” (Mat 10:19-20); “Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist” (Luk 21:14-15); “And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit [breath] by which he spake” (Act 6:10).

Trinitarian discipleship programs also include fasting, fellowshipping, giving time and money to Trinitarian ministries, husbands and wives praying together, keeping a journal, meditating, and sharing their “gospel” message with others. It’s all about keeping us busy doing anything except what Christ commanded. Rather than “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you,” they’re teaching them to observe their program on the broad way to destruction.

Trust and Obey

Salvation has always been by trusting and obeying God. The Greek noun pistis and verb pisteuo appear some 250 times each in the New Testament but have been mistranslated as “faith” and “believe” respectively rather than “faithfulness” and “trust.” We’re not saved by believing some facts are true but by trusting and obeying the one true God—Him being the God of our lives.

Many times God’s people were told to keep His commandments: “And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exo 20:6; Deu 5:10); “Therefore shall ye keep my commandments” (Lev 22:31); “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them” (Lev 26:3); “That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God” (Num 15:40); “Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God” (Deu 6:17); “Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments” (Deu 7:11); “Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God” (Deu 8:6).

It’s taught today, however, that God’s people couldn’t keep His commandments and neither can we because we all were born with a sin nature inherited from Adam. But that’s simply false doctrine that keeps us from obeying and being saved. Jesus Christ Himself taught that we must live according to the righteous standard He taught or we won’t be saved: “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:20), “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (7:23); “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them … And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (7:24,26).

The gospel isn’t only to be believed but also obeyed: “But they have not all obeyed the gospel” (Rom 10:16); “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb 5:9); “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy” (Jas 4:12); “And this is his commandment, That we should believe [trust] on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment” (1Jo 3:23).

It’s taught today that Abraham is our example of faith but Paul taught his trust in God and faithfulness to Him, “Even as Abraham believed [trusted] God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness … So then they which be of faith [faithfulness] are blessed with faithful Abraham” (Gal 3:6,9). And God Himself commended his obedience, “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice” (Gen 22:18), “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Gen 26:5).

Paul taught that to be counted righteous as Abraham, “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed [trusted] God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Rom 4:3), we must trust God as he did, “Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe [trust] on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Rom 4:23-24). This is what he meant later in his letter, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe [trust] in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom 10:9). It isn’t just believing the resurrection happened but trusting in God who made it happen, “Who by him do believe [trust] in God, that raised him up from the dead” (1Pe 1:21).

It was for lack of trust that God’s people were destroyed, “And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed [trusted] not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief [distrust].” (Heb 3:18-19), “the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed [trusted] not” (Jde 1:5).

Salvation is ultimately about the one true God being the God of our lives: “I will be their God” (Gen 17:8; Jer 24:7,32:38; Eze 11:20,37:23; Zec 8:8); “will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer 31:33); “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Jer 32:38); “ye shall be my people, and I will be your God” (Eze 36:28); “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Eze 37:27); “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2Co 6:16); “I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people” (Heb 8:10); “God is not ashamed to be called their God” (Heb 11:16); “they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev 21:3); “I will be his God, and he shall be my son” (Rev 21:7). And being the God of our lives means that we trust Him to provide for us, protect us, and defend us, and that we obey the commandments of His Son Jesus Christ.

Blessed are They that Do His Commandments

From the very beginning, God has required man to keep His commandments, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen 2:17). But because he disobeyed, God banned him from the tree of life, “lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever” (Gen 3:22-23). And at the very end of Scripture we read that it’s those keeping His commandments that regain access to the tree of life, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life” (Rev 22:14). From beginning to end, eternal life has always been about keeping God’s commandments.

The false gospel of sola fide or “faith alone” concocted about 500 years ago by Martin Luther asserts that we’re saved by faith and nothing but faith. In fact, if there’s anything other than faith, including obedience to God’s commandments, then we’re not saved. Furthermore, it’s claimed that salvation under the law of Moses was by keeping God’s commandments perfectly without ever sinning. But since nobody could do it, then salvation under the law was also by faith. This is not true. There was never a requirement of utter perfection under the Old Covenant.

The animal sacrifices offered under the law by the high priest were for the people’s sins and for his own: “And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house … and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel” (Lev 16:11,17); “And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins” (Heb 5:3); “Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s” (7:27); “the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people” (9:7).

God’s mercy isn’t for those breaking His commandments but for those keeping them, “And shewing mercy [ḥese 2617] unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exo 20:6; Deu 5:10), “the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy [ḥese 2617] with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations” (Deu 7:9).

Under the Old Covenant, God’s people were saved by living righteously in obedience to His commandments. But when they did sin, they would repent and offer an animal sacrifice that would cover it. And this is the same model under the New—as God’s people today, we must live righteously in obedience to His Son’s commandments and confess when we sin, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1Jo 1:9).

Since sola fide claims that Abraham is our example of faith or believing, therefore “faithful Abraham” (Gal 3:9 KJV, WEB, YLT) is mistranslated as “Abraham the believer” (NET), “Abraham, the man of faith” (NIV), “believing Abraham” (NKJV). But Abraham is our example of faithfulness to God in obeying His commandments, “thou hast obeyed my voice” (Gen 22:18), “Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Gen 26:5).

Paul taught, “For if Abraham were justified by works [actions], he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed [trusted] God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Rom 4:2-3). Abraham’s “actions” were that of building altars to offer sacrifices: “there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD” (Gen 12:8), “Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD” (13:4), “built there an altar unto the LORD” (13:18). That he “trusted God” is that he trusted God would one day provide the sacrifice for his sins, “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (22:8).

God’s people under the law of the Old Covenant were saved by loving God and keeping His commandments, “them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exo 20:6; Deu 5:10), “them that love him and keep his commandments” (Deu 7:9). Jesus said the same, “If ye love me, keep my commandments … He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me … If a man love me, he will keep my words … He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings” (Jhn 14:15,21,23,24). And John as well, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments” (1Jo 2:3), “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments” (1Jo 5:3), “And this is love, that we walk after his commandments” (2Jo 1:6). Eternal life comes not to believers but to the obedient, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life” (Rev 22:14).

Blessed are They that Do His Commandments

The Lord Jesus Christ said that He will decide who enters the Kingdom, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven … And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity [458 anomia]” (Mat 7:21, 23). The Greek noun anomia is a compound of the negative participle alpha and noun nomos for “law.” One day He will deny before the Father knowing any that practiced lawlessness or didn’t keep God’s law.

He said at the beginning of His Sermon on the Mount that His teaching doesn’t overturn what was stated in the law and the prophets but fulfills it, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law [3551 nomos], or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law [3551 nomos], till all be fulfilled.” (Mat 5:17-18). He later encapsulated His teaching on the law in one commandment, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law [3551 nomos] and the prophets” (Mat 7:12).

Again, back toward the beginning of His Sermon He said, “That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:20). He then stated what the scribes and Pharisees had been teaching about the law, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time” (v. 21), followed by what He was now teaching, “But I say unto you” (v. 22). And this is the repeated pattern throughout the rest of the chapter—what they said and what He was now saying (vs. 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44). Christ’s law isn’t a new code of ethics superseding the law, it’s the proper interpretation—as opposed to what the scribes and Pharisees taught—of its moral righteous requirements. We must live to the moral standard of God’s law.

Finally, He concluded His Sermon with the injunction to not only hear but also do what He said about the law, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock

And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand” (Mat 7:24, 26). The only difference between the wise man and the foolish man is doing or not doing what He taught and commanded about the law.

Jesus Christ’s directive for newly baptized converts is “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mat 28:20). We aren’t to be teaching them to memorize verses, stick to a daily Bible reading plan, keep a journal, read “Christian” books, or join small group discussions. These things are certainly good but what we’re to be teaching them is His commandments and obedience to Him.

It’s Jesus Christ’s prerogative to grant access to the tree of life, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Rev 2:7). And He will grant it to those that do His commandments, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev 22:14).

We can say that we love Jesus with all our hearts but if we’re not obeying Him, we really don’t: “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jhn 14:15); “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” (Jhn 14:21); “If a man love me, he will keep my words” (Jhn 14:23); “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (Jhn 15:14); “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected” (1Jo 2:5); “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments” (1Jo 5:3).

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Mat 5:17), Jesus Christ didn’t invalidate or nullify the law but even restated and reinforced its two greatest commandments, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Mat 22:37-40).

The very last statements of Scripture declare, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” (Rev 22:14-15). Notice that it’s not “believers” that are blessed and gain access to the tree of life, and it’s not “unbelievers” that are left without. The difference between the two is either doing or not doing His commandments, “Blessed are they that do his commandments.”