Paul’s letter to the Galatians was REALLY powerful in loosening the locks on my brain put there by religion. It was the book in which I understood GRACE and was led to REPENT of my legalistic attitude that held me in bondage.
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A Fall From Grace
In August of 2006, I began emailing with a pastor named Cletis Clayton. Cletis lived in South Dakota at the time and I was in Wisconsin where I received a weekly newspaper from his town of Hot Springs. I had been reading his series called “Jesus is Jehovah” in the church section of the paper. He became aware of the confusion I was in as a former Jehovah’s Witness unable to rid myself of their doctrine. Pastor Cletis continued to pray for me and entertain my questions through a flurry of emails.
Six months had passed and I sent this “breakthrough” email to Cletis on February 20, 2007
Nevertheless, those who receive instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor. --Galatians 6:6
Good morning Cletis,
Actually the sun is beckoning my dog and I to share a walk, but first things first!
You suggested I re-read the Israel of God discourse you prepared. I did and once again couldn't help but be the devil's advocate and slip my Watchtower indoctrination in the sidebars. I think this is good though as it's really shining the light on the powerful hold the cult has on its adherents. Much like an addict having to come to that point of admitting his weakness before he can accept help, I have to continually bring this weakness to Jehovah and seek His truth on it. The Israel of God to a JW is only the 144,000 anointed ones, so when a JW reads about the Spirit indwelling or being born again it is only attributed to the Israel of God (the New Jerusalem, the anointed, the heavenly class, the remnant, blah, blah, blah). And my mind still follows that pattern in some warped logical reasoning. But it gets me mad and gets me thinking. It got me mad because I was being very encouraged by recent Bible reading (a lot in Romans) that had me crying thank you's to God because the verses were reaching me personally as an adopted child. When the Watchtower’s reasoning reared it's ugly head I sensed that loss of grace I'd been enjoying and went into guilt mode (such as "all things in Jude apply to me, an apostate"). So back to work I go. Work, I say, as in committing to prayer and reading this subject of 'who is the Israel of God?' So I have a little notebook to collect verses and insights on the subject of the Israel of God. Thought I'd share some with you.
2 Cor 5:17 says if ANYONE is in Christ, the new creation has come. And then goes on to say how God was reconciling the WORLD to himself in Christ. There is no two class system in this like what the Watchtower teaches. Anyone is just that, ANYONE, the world. If it only meant the 144,000 it should say so!Read more
Galatians: An Important Letter
Paul's letter to the Galatians was REALLY powerful in loosening the locks on my brain put there by religion. It was the book in which I understood GRACE and was led to REPENT of my legalistic attitude that held me in bondage. I felt like I had been traveling backwards in a relationship with God instead of forward, but when I read Galatians 5:4, I understood why; I had FALLEN FROM GRACE.
You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. (Gal 5:4)
I understood how it happened too. I made the mistake of coming into agreement with the LIE that my religious works were better than what God had already done for me through Jesus Christ. It was a very humbling moment.
The letter was written by the apostle Paul to the churches of Galatia probably around AD 49. It's clear he's writing it as a warning to his Christian brethren to protect the faith they've already been given. Some were claiming they MUST get circumcised in order to be pleasing to God. Even though circumcision is not a big issue in most churches today, it’s a relevant letter to Christians in our era according to the introduction in my NASB Study Bible, "All theologies that teach salvation by faith plus human effort are forcefully negated by this great letter."
What “human effort" have you been told you must add to your faith for salvation?
Would you like to discuss this letter over the phone with Julie?