Conflict Within the Church
Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 3 Lesson 1 Thursday
The lesson focuses on the conflict in the church with those who came from Jewish background wanting the new Gentile believers to be circumcised and obey the feast days.
What were the Judaizers focusing upon? Rules, laws, which is what type of law? Imposed law, and what did Paul say about such an approach?
That those who want circumcision should go all the way and castrate themselves and maybe they would stop reproducing people who taught such non-sense—does that sound too strong?
But as for me, my brothers and sisters, if I continue to preach that circumcision is necessary, why am I still being persecuted? If that were true, then my preaching about the cross of Christ would cause no trouble. 12 I wish that the people who are upsetting you would go all the way; let them go on and castrate themselves! Galatians 5:11,12
What did the first church counsel decide the converts needed to do? Was this imposed rules or promotion of design law?
“Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood” (Acts 15:20).
These instructions are not imposed rules but are the wisdom of design law. How?
Food polluted by idols:
- An idol cannot change the nutritional quality of the food. Therefore, eating foods offered to idols does not pollute the body. Paul makes this clear in Romans 14.
- The issue they were addressing is the design law of worship—by beholding we become changed, this is called modeling. What we believe has power over us: truth heals and sets free, lies damage and enslave. Don’t allow your minds to become contaminated by giving any credence to idols. Thus, don’t eat food polluted by the idea that it is a bounty given you by a false god.
- God designed relationships to operate on love and trust. When sexual intimacy occurs between husband and wife, as God designed, healthy bonding occurs. The brain actually rewires, and reward circuits are heightened for one’s spouse. This is design law—how our biology is actually built to work. Deviating from this design is damaging to the mind, body, and relationships.
- It is a violation of design law, altering brain circuitry, inflaming selfish and fear circuits, thus obstructing healing of mind and character.
Meat from strangled animals or blood:
- It also violates design law—the laws of health.
- Humans were not designed to eat meat, and the blood carries waste products, stress hormones,
and various inflammatory factors. Eating raw meat and drinking blood increases disease risk, and when the body is unhealthy the mind is compromised.
The New Testament church rejected the imposed-law rules and focused instead on living in harmony with God’s design law for life. When we have accepted the lie that God’s law is simply a list of rules, we believe they are subject to change with time and place. Good Christian people fall into the trap of arguing back and forth over trivial points, oblivious to the fact they are all worshiping the same dictator god. We then teach our children ideas of God that drive a wedge between them and God.
Unfortunately, gospel has come to be the name for a certain body of theological belief and Unfortunately, gospel has come to be the name for a certain body of theological belief and doctrine. It’s good news. If we could stay with that, then we could substitute, maybe, the word “truth” for it. Or the word “light” for it. You see, we have many synonyms for this. It’s something we need to know; something of great consequence to us. Paul, when he says that the gospel brings freedom, could be echoing Jesus’ words, “When you know the truth, the truth will set you free.” Doesn’t he talk a lot about freedom in Galatians? The gospel sets you free. The truth sets you free. Truth about what sets you free? Good news about what? Light about what? And I don’t think we should go off in different directions in every book. I think they’re all pointing in exactly the same direction. The essence of the good news that is the basis of our trust, and God will save all who trust him; it’s the truth that establishes an entirely different relationship with God—one that brings peace, and brings freedom.
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