Destroying the Ties That Bind

What You Believe

I have found that many Christians have little or no foundation for what they say they believe. The average Christian’s belief system is founded upon or based upon the beliefs and understanding of others. For example, the people in a particular church will tend to believe what the pastor teaches and believes. Usually the average Christian does not verify what ministry leaders have told him or her. Unfortunately not all that we are told is 100% accurate.

The fact of being bound does not necessitate a lie. Bondage is simply based on the fact that you are tied to someone else’s theology and not your own. In other words, you don’t know the truth for yourself and therefore bound to the knowledge and understanding of your pastor or ministry leader.  There are two aspects to this.  The first is that you can become easily deceived by someone else's teaching if you don't know the truth for yourself.  The second is you can become easily confused by a doctrinal challenge if you don't know why you believe what you believe.   Still another side effect of knot knowing the truth is that you cannot be an effective witness to those outside of your sphere of religion.  You are ineffective in sharing the fundamentals of the Christian faith because your belief is based on your church's, i.e., pastor's doctrine.

Knowing the Truth

The Christian should know the truth for themselves. It is not sufficient to blindly believe what we are told from the pulpit or by TV evangelists, and other ministry leaders. We must personally know the truth in order to be free to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives. We are susceptible to false doctrines, others’ understandings, and deception if we lack a personal knowledge of biblical truths. Refer to John 8:32-33.

A method that we can use to know the truth in God’s word, the Bible, is to examine the Scriptures and other pertinent resources, evaluate your findings, determine what the common teaching of the facts is, verify your findings, and apply your findings to your life.

 

  

 Examination: Examine as many scriptures, in their proper context, as you can. It is also possible to use other pertinent resources such as history and theological works.

Evaluation: Evaluate the information that you have gathered in the previous step. This is where you check the context of the scriptures.

Determination: Arrive at a conclusion as to the basic principle or teaching that is revealed from the data that you evaluated.

Verification: Verify what you have concluded via discussions with other Christians, reviewing the facts from the previous steps, comparing what you have concluded with others’ conclusions and so forth.

Application: Apply what you have learned to your own life.   However, always be receptive for adjustments to your conclusions as you may receive more information about the subject in the future.

The importance of this method is to help you to know the truth in God’s word for yourself and not totally rely on someone else’s understanding. This is not the only method that you can use to acquire biblical truth. There are many theological methods that may be employed to discover the teachings revealed in the Bible.   I have just presented one that I use and find effective.

Identifying the Ties

There are many things that bind us and keep us from prospering the way that we should. Debt, financial mismanagement, unwise commitments and more bind us. However, we will focus on those things that bind us within the Christian community. The last thing that the Christian needs is to be bound by that which should help bring about liberty. My experience has shown me that the number one tie that binds the Christian is RELIGION. The word religion is derived from and Old English word that means to restrain or tie back. The following are some of the religious ties that bind us.

Church Attendance

This is the teaching where it is the Christian’s duty to be at church every Sunday and to be in church all day and sometimes all night. It is also taught that the Christian (church member) should be at all services unless the absence is justifiably excused. Hebrews 10:25 is used to justify this teaching.  What happens in this situation is that a Christian will base their relationship with God on their church attendance and not their relation with Jesus Christ.  It is not enough to have faith in Christ Jesus.  It is also necessary that the Christian attend all services and participate according to the pastor's demands.  This is unfortunate because it leads the Christian down a path away from Christ instead of a fruitful relationship with Christ.  I should also say that this teaching is false, damaging, unbiblical, and deceitful to say the least.

Tithes and Offerings

It is taught that the Christian is commanded by God to tithe 10% of his or her income to God by giving it to their local church. This teaching is very inconsistent with the teachings of both the Old and New Testaments. It also negates the work of Jesus Christ. Malachi 3:8-10 is often used to justify this teaching.   Salvation is not based on tithing.  Furthermore, the way tithing is taught in the churches today is far removed from the way the Bible reveals tithing.  Tithing to the local church or the pastor in no way is consistent with giving a tithe to a Levite and/or for the orphans, widows, and foreigners.  The teaching in the church, regarding tithing, and the teaching in the Bible are very different.  Furthermore, we have to understand that our salvation and relation to God is not based in any way on tithing.  Tithing is simply a teaching in the church that binds the Christian and therefore hinders a fruitful relationship with God.

The Authority of The Pastor

It is sometimes believed that the Christian (church member) is under the sole authority of the pastor or other ministry leader. The authority of the pastor or any Christian leader is akin to a guide and not a king or dictator. Jesus Christ is the leader who leads us to God.  The only true authority we have regarding our Christian faith, is Jesus Christ.  Of course there are authority figures within the church.   For example, the pastor does have authority over the OPERATIONS of his or her church.  This does not mean that the pastor has authority over your life.   Relative to the church organization, the pastor is like the supervisor or boss in a business environment.  What the pastor says, regarding daily operations of the church, is the final word because he or she has authority over the organization.   However, the pastor does not necessarily have authority over your life as a Christian.

There are those who may have a degree of authority over your life.   These are your personal spiritual leaders.  This includes the person that may have lead you to Christ, your discipler, or Christian mentor.  These people should be given respect even to the point of effecting your life.  They also have a personal relationship with you and their goal is to help you obtain and maintain a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

What Now?

Now it is time to begin to seek truth for yourself. Learn what the Bible really teaches without relying solely on what others tell you. We get second opinions in the realm of medicine. We ask others for references about a mechanic, painter, contractor, etc. We tend not to believe anyone in every aspect of our life except when it applies to spiritual or Biblical things. Here we tend to believe whatever we are told and defend that teaching without really knowing the truth personally. Therefore, begin to study your Bible, talk to other Christians about what you believe, learn more about what you believe and correct yourself as you go on. In other words, pursue truth. The only way to destroy the ties that bind you is to know the truth that will liberate you.   Look at the following scriptures.

(2 Corinthians 3:17 KJV) Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

(John 8:31-32 KJV) Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; {32} And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Know God our heavenly father and be liberated from those things that bind you.  Be bound to Christ and therefore free in the Lord.  Know the fundamentals of Christianity and therefore know what God expects of you.  Don't take information solely from ministers, pastors, evangelists and the like.  Study for yourself.   Learn as much as you can about God, Christianity and Jesus Christ.  Know what the life of a Christian should be according to the scriptures.  You also will use other people as resources in obtaining information but don't let them be your sole source of biblical knowledge.