Tuesday, September 15, 2015


I've been thinking ! That can be dangerous I know, but the results of my thinking are some points that are fascinating to me and I thought they might be of interest to you as well.


When Paul the Apostle dealt with LEGALISTS [rules keepers], as he did in his letter to the Galatians, he uses the Law of Moses as his weapon of choice to correct them. The Galatians were groups of young Christians [churches] who had a fantastic beginning. Their response to the preaching of the Apostle was heartwarming. Paul was greatly enthusiastic about these groups of growing young Christians. But, after a while, word came to him that legalism, or rules keeping, had set in and it was certainly taking its toll. What had been a bright and marvelous testimony of the grace and glory of God was being turned into a dull, apathetic group of rules keepers__ cold, barren, and empty__ almost devoid of spiritual life. He tried to show them in the Galatian letter that even the law of Moses would never be a good tool for salvation or sanctification. Legalists got the lesson of the Law from the Apostle.

But when he dealt with LIBERTINES, [there are no rules to keep] as he did in his letter to the Corinthians, he NEVER used the Law of Moses as his weapon of choice.  In fact, he doesn't even mention the Law in the first Corinthian letter. He did use, however, the Wisdom of God to counteract their misconceived notions of their own wisdom. They were philosophers remember, [Phileo_lovers/ Sophia_wisdom or lovers of wisdom] and liked to think of themselves as people who were smart enough to live their life the way they wanted without ANY rules from ANYONE. In that first Corinthian letter Paul showed them that God's smarts are so far above their own that it made their smarts seem like foolishness. Libertines got the lesson of God's Wisdom from Paul. Not the law of Moses.

I'm finding myself thinking that, culturally, America is more libertine than legalist in the present day and I'm wondering if there might not be a lesson for us here!


In the New Testament there is no mention of the early churches ever putting on seminars, holding revival meetings annually, doing workshops to train Christians on how to have quiet times or do scripture memory. Don't hear me say those things are WRONG. I'm not! But it is interesting to me that the early church had none of them, and yet, they had an unbelievable power and even a purity that makes present day church life rather anemic, if not pathetic, in comparison.

What they DID seem to have, however, was an incredible SIMPLICITY about their preaching and teaching of the gospel. They seemed to simply relate all of Who Jesus was/is to everything about who they were, what they had and what they did in life. I think their power and purity was BECAUSE of that simplicity. Christ and His Cross work was the SOURCE of life for them.

The source is that from which we draw all that is really needed for life and is what makes life really worth living. Everything thing else is simply a resource which may help a little but isn't the source for anything. So for those SIMPLE early day Christians JESUS was the source of what made life really life and job, family, church attendance, etc, were all good resources but nothing more.

Present day Christianity is mistakenly making RESOURCES [local church attendance, bible reading, prayer, sermons, witnessing, marriage, family, work, money] the SOURCE in their search for a full and meaningful life and are reaping the unfortunate harvest which is a loss of power and purity in living. [The Jews had done the same thing with the Old Testament scriptures and Jesus reminded them, "You search the scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life but they are they which speak of me."]     

I'm often asked, "Whatever happened to the power and Purity of the early Church." My question is,"Whatever happened to the simplicity with which they viewed Christ as their very life?"

Just a couple of things I've noticed.

Paul B.


Aussie John said...


I have thought,but never as concisely as you have here.

"America is more libertine than legalist in the present day"- I am saddened to say that Australia I observe, at least the same, but I think even more so.
The left side of politics here, even proud of the fact.

I've noticed that some legalistic groups often spawn libertine offshoots as a reaction to legalism. Maybe the reverse could be true as well?

Both are missing the central thing which makes a great building, the starting point from which everything grows the Cornerstone (Eph.2:20).

Thankyou Paul!

Bob Cleveland said...

It seems to me that, somehow, the church has adopted the thought that it's our responsibility to bring people to Jesus. To get them into the church. That seems at odds with Jesus' statement that if He's lifted up, HE will do the drawing.

Add to that the general weakness of discipleship .. including discipline .. and you have a collection of churches that have one out of three people who even show up on Sundays. That can hardly be called (for the majority of the people GOD has sent to us) "making disciples", which is THE Great Commission.

Rex Ray said...

I believe Paul’s weapon of choice in Galatians was: “…my message comes from no less a person that Jesus Christ himself, who told me what to say…” (Gal. 1:12 Living) “Let God’s curse fall on anyone…who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.” (Gal. 1:8 NLT)

I think Galatians was a gun battle between Paul and “…those trouble makers who want to mutilate you by circumcision…” (Gal. 5:12 NLT) “Those who are trying to force you to be circumcised…” (Gal. 6:12 NLT)

The Corinthians had the same problem as the Galatians: “…those false teachers of yours…bring long letters of recommendation…” [From James’ church?] (2 Cor. 3:1 Living) “God never sent those men at all; they are “phonies’ who have fooled you into thinking they are Christ apostles.” (2 Cor. 11:13 Living)

What these false guys were teaching is argued against by Paul: “…We do not tell them [Galatians] that they must obey every law of God or die; but we tell them there is life for them from the Holy Spirit. The old way, trying to be saved by keeping the Ten Commandments ends in death…” (2 Cor. 3:6 Living)

Rex Ray said...

Oops, should be:
“We do not tell them [Corinthians] that they must obey every law of God or die…”
Past my bedtime. :)

Rex Ray said...

Who are these men that Paul called “false teacher”, “phonies”, and “trouble makers”? Are they the ones Paul said “Let God’s curse fall on?

Where did they come from?

“Certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” (Acts 15:1 KJ) [Holman Bible’s title of this chapter: “Dispute at Antioch”.]

“When Peter came to Antioch…he used to eat with the Gentiles before certain men came from James. He withdrew and separated himself, because he feared those from the circumcision party.” (Galatians 2:12 Holman) [All translations say: men from James or friends of James.]

When Paul had a ‘showdown’ with James and the elders, he was told “…You see, brother, how many thousands of JEWS there are who have believed, and they are all ZEALOUS for the law.” (Acts 21:20 Holman)

I believe these Jews were the roots for Catholicism and those that believed as Paul were roots for Baptists.

Rex Ray said...

These roots are shown in Scripture:


“We are not slave children, obligated to the Jewish laws, but children...acceptable to God because of our faith.” (Galatians 4:31) “We are saved by faith in Christ and not by the good things we do.” (Romans 3:28)
“…Abraham found favor with God by faith alone...But didn’t he earn the right to heaven by all the good things he did? No, for being saved is a gift.” (Romans 4:4)

Jesus taught Paul that man was free from the law because believing in Him was a higher law. Paul wrote nearly one hundred Scriptures how man could have eternal life by God’s gift, faith, belief or trust in Jesus.

ROOTS of CATHOLICS GREW from FAITH in JESUS PLUS WORKS (James Chapter 2 Living Bible)

“You say the way to God is by faith alone plus nothing; well, I say that good works are important too...” (v. 18)
“Abraham was declared good because of what he did…”(v. 21)
“...a man is saved by what he does, as well as what he believes.” (V. 24)
“if you have been merciful, then God’s mercy toward you will win out over his judgment against you (v. 13)

James was a Christian but could not give up the Law of Moses.

Rex Ray said...

“I've been thinking ! That can be dangerous I know, but the results of my thinking are some points that are fascinating to me and I thought they might be of interest to you as well.”

I guess my thoughts are too dangerous and not of interest to anyone, but I’ll give it another shot.

Will anyone explain what this means? “For judgment is without mercy to the one who hasn’t shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13 Holman)

Is “mercy” ‘works’?

Is “mercy” being righteous?

Did James believe “…All our righteousness are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6 KJ)?

Is James saying our works triumphs over God’s judgment?

I’ll bet not anyone will replay.

“…so-called Christians; false ones [false brothers (Holman)] …sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations.” (Galatians: 2:4 NLT)

Who were these ‘spies’? I think they were probably the ones in Acts 15:5:

“But then some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the PHARISEES stood up and insisted, “The Gentile converts muse be circumcised and required to follow the Law of Moses.” (NLT)

I think the squabble between Christians today is a molehill compared to what Paul faced.

Rex Ray said...

A missionary from Australia wrote on Wade’s blog that he didn’t agree with my ideas on “PPL”. What did he mean? Here’s the whole story.

(On Wade Burleson’s blog 11-16-06)

Denton, Texas 1978: a young black man asked an older man (Hez, my twin brother) if a house was for rent.
“No, it’s for sale. Where’re you from?
“No one has heard of my town, Yellow Knife, Canada.”
“I spent two weeks there. “How come you’re so far from home?
“I was on a high school hockey team that won a gold medal in the first Arctic Winter Games in 1968. They gave us a four year scholarship and now I’m working on a PHD.
I almost didn’t get to play as there was a fuss if I was eligible or not. They called some American to decide. If it hadn’t been for him, I’d be working in the gold mines now.”
Hez said, “So you got to play even thought the school picked you up from an Indian school.”
“How’d you know that?”
“I’m that American.”

At the time, Hez was Parks and Recreation Director of Fairbanks, Alaska. He’d been selected by the governor to explain to Canada why Alaska was not going to participate as they didn’t have the money. Canada planned for only adults to participate. Hez told the authorities he wouldn’t walk across the street to see adults play, but he’d work hard to help kids play, and others would too.
They complained that’d cost too much money. Hez said Alaska was out if they didn’t include kids, and they finally agreed.
The Alaska governor threw a fit, but Hez organized a benefit drive and they had the games. Today, 27 countries are in the Arctic Winter Games.

On Wade’s blog, an anonymous missionary from Australia wrote:
While I do not always agree with your ideas (especially on PPL) - I enjoy reading them.
Nevertheless - your post caught my attention - because apparently your twin brother Hez - he was my 9th grade PE teacher - he was a great guy and I loved him to death.
I was in a new place and a new school and I could not have had a better teacher than Hez Ray. I have often thought about him and knew somewhat about him through my good friend and colleague - a relative of yours – Mark Ray.
Anyway when you see him tell him he made a difference not just in this young man's life but many of that time in Fairbanks. 11/18/2006