The truth is that no one really “sees” the full depth of the destructive evil power that is contained in sin – that which works contrary to God’s one true way – in opposition to (against) God. If everyone could truly see sin for what it is, it would be so hated and loathed that even with the selfish human nature that we all have, sin would be far more deeply feared, resisted, and then quickly repented of when it does occur.
Sin Breaks Every Commandment
To more clearly grasp how ugly, evil, and destructive sin is, it is always an excellent exercise to consider how a single sin in life actually works in direct opposition to (against) each and every one of the Ten Commandments. Obedience to God’s law, when in agreement with it, is a “spiritual” matter that reveals the right motivation that is produced from “thinking” that originates in the mind, in the very spirit essence of one’s being. With the impregnation of God’s holy spirit with our spirit, the mind can actually be transformed in how it thinks, which then changes the way one lives.
So let’s consider the sin of disobedience to God when someone chooses to fellowship with anyone who has been “disfellowshipped” from God, His Son, and His Church.
God has clearly revealed the structure and spirit of His way of peace that is spiritually manifest through the commandments He has given to selfish, pride-filled humans. These commandments are about the way that peace is to be produced in relationships when in agreement and obedience to them. Jesus Christ confirmed the simplicity and true spirit of all the commandments when he was asked which is the greatest commandment in the law.
“Jesus said unto him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your life, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second (greatest commandment) is like unto it in that you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang (rest) all the law and the prophets’” (Mat. 22:37-40).
Jesus Christ plainly revealed that one’s true relationship with God is first in importance in life. If God is not first, then the way of peace with all others will fail. After being called by God, then a person is able to choose to work at yielding themselves to the creative process of being transformed in how one thinks and lives. That process working in our life has incredible potential to enable us to experience true peace forevermore in His Family, Elohim.
Every spirit-begotten member of the Body of Christ must work (strive and fight against carnal human nature) at true relationships. Such relationships are not natural and don’t just happen nor are they “owed” to anyone. One cannot “wait” on others around them to change and live right toward them, but one must change themselves by exercising and living by those laws that can produce right relationships with others. When one grasps the deeper reality that by being in agreement and in obedience to God’s law is the only way to have right, true, and meaningful relationships, then they will more deeply grasp the importance of “true fellowship.” Such understanding also helps reveal a greater depth of ugliness that exists in the need for anyone being removed (disfellowshipped) from the kind of fellowship (relationship) that God offers in Elohim forever more.
As Jesus Christ made it plain that the greatest commandment is about one’s true relationship with God, we need to focus first on the first four commandments that magnify that great law. These reveal how to build a right relationship with God that will lead to our being able to love Him with all our heart, with all our life, and with all our mind. We are going to look at each and every commandment and how they are rejected, broken, and disobeyed when someone chooses to sin by having fellowship with someone who has been disfellowshipped.
“I am the Eternal your God (Heb. – Elohim), who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:2-3).
This first sentence is omitted when the Ten Commandments are quoted, yet it is essential to the purpose of God revealing to man how he should live in all relationships – fellowship. This command was given to Israel on a physical plane, with physical meaning, and physical interpretation on their part. However, with those called and then begotten of God’s spirit, much more is being given. For everyone in the Church, this is to be received with both physical meaning and understanding, as well as spiritual, as the spirit gets to the intent and origin of “thinking” that is in the mind.
When giving these commandments, God began by revealing Himself as the authority and power to deliver “Israel” (both physical and spiritual) from Egypt – from bondage. But God actually revealed much more in that first sentence. He referred to deliverance from the “house” of bondage. This word for “house” has a specific meaning in this context as a “household” or “family.” God is revealing that His deliverance is from a household (of Egypt) that holds its servants captive.
God begins by revealing that He is the Eternal – the Ever-lasting Self-existing God. The Eternal then states that He is the one who has delivered us out of the household (family) of Egypt into His household or family – Elohim. He said, “I am… your Elohim.” Once we are called out of this world, God begins to deliver us out of spiritual Egypt – out of the household (the family relationship) of bondage into a new relationship and into a new family – into a new fellowship.
“Now therefore you are no more strangers or foreigners, but fellow citizens (two Gk. words: “union,” as together or with, and “of the same city or place,” and here it literally means dwelling together in the same place) with the saints (others called and begotten of God’s spirit), and of the household (family) of God” (Eph. 2:19).
God continues in this first commandment by saying, “You shall have no other gods (Heb. – elohim) before me.”
The word that is translated as “before” in English is actually an interpretation of two separate Hebrew words and not the literal translation of both. One word simply means “before, next to, or in front of.” However, the second word means “above, over, or against.” An excellent example of the use of this second word (when translated as “against”) is found in the Psalms:
“The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Eternal, and against His anointed (Christ), saying…” (Ps. 2:2).
In this first commandment, God is saying that no one should place any other relationship (fellowship) “before” or “in front of” Him and His purpose in Elohim. He is stating that to do so is to place some other family (fellowship, relationship, friendship) against Him and against His purpose in Elohim – to place “other gods” before Him – to place some other god family (god elohim) before and against God, and before and against His true family, Elohim.
Better understanding of this very first commandment should greatly enhance one’s understanding as to God’s strong instruction concerning the importance of having (maintaining) true fellowship with Him, His Son, and His Church. Those who do not strive to have (keep) God first in their life will become contemptuous of their relationship with Him and begin to tolerate (allow and excuse) sin in their life. One of the greatest (or most serious) sins (although sin is sin and all sin requires death) is to choose some other relationship (fellowship) that is “against” Elohim, as it is both against God and His Family. To choose some other relationship (fellowship, friendship) apart from what God offers in His Family is to make “other gods” of those other relationships.
“You shall not make unto yourself any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I am a zealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them who love me and keep my commandments” (Ex. 20:4-6).
Mankind has an extremely selfish nature that is fueled by pride and thereby seeks to “naturally raise himself” above all others, including God. Therefore, mankind seeks to make God in an image that he can control and that he can determine for himself in order to satisfy his own desires, needs, appeasement, and self-gratification. Such a nature tends toward being immoral, debased, depraved, vile, and corrupt. It is everything that moves contrary to true righteousness – against God.
It has been rather easy for Satan to establish twisted and highly distorted beliefs about God, His Son Jesus Christ, and His word (truth). In the Church that was scattered after the Apostasy, over 600 differing and conflicting beliefs (organizations each claiming to be God’s) emerged seemingly overnight. All these groups had many forms and variations of God’s truth within their teaching, and therefore, not at one with God. Within traditional Christianity, there are thousands of varying ideas, concepts, and beliefs about God. Yet each one of these fail to recognize that they have “raised up” something they themselves have chosen to believe – to their liking, appeasement, justification, and satisfaction.
God’s way – God’s truth – is so basic and plain, but the human mind resists it and finds it rather easy to “raise up” (idolatry) something else to believe rather than truly believing God. God says plainly that there is one belief, one faith, one truth, one Church, one God, and one Christ, yet even in the true Church that was scattered, hundreds of conflicting beliefs emerged over these very basic truths. Such history should be deeply sobering, for the road that leads away from God is paved with gold. The road that follows where God leads is paved with the fire of trials, hardship, and battles. Yet it is that road that leads to all fullness of life, peace, and age-lasting life.
In this commandment God is simply telling mankind that there are to be no idols “set up” (raised up) before Him, yet that is precisely what man has done. He has worshipped nearly anything imaginable, including that which is in the heavens, on the earth, and in the waters of the earth, as well as what is under it. God inspired Paul to aptly address this:
“Because that, when they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, neither were they thankful, but they became vain in their own imaginations, and their foolish heart became darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and slithering creatures” (Rom. 1:21-23).
It is an astounding thing to see those who indeed profess themselves to be wise and highly educated in math and science to turn a blind eye to the laws of science and mathematics in order to bow down to a “big bang” that created the vast universe. Such people also “raise up” the foolish teachings of Darwin and others who chose to believe in evolution rather than God.
“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creation more than the Creator, who is blessed forever, Amen” (Rom. 1:25).
So when someone “raises up” (spiritual idolatry) their own self-righteous judgment that they can maintain a relationship (to befriend, have fellowship) with someone cut-off from God – disfellowshipped from God’s Church and presence – then they have raised up the importance of that relationship above a true one with God. In covering the first commandment, it was stated: “God is saying that no one should place any other relationship (fellowship) before Him and His purpose in Elohim. He is stating that to do so is to place some other family (fellowship, relationship) against Him and against His purpose in Elohim – to raise up other gods – some other god family (other god elohim).”
There is a powerful tie-in between the first and second commandment when discussing the specific subject of “true fellowship” and those who have been disfellowshipped. To “raise up” some other relationship (fellowship, family) above God’s only true family is to commit the act of idolatry and thereby make an elohim (some other god family) of that disfellowshipped relationship.
It is truly one of the most heinous acts of all idolatry to “raise up” some other relationship (family, fellowship) above what God has called us to become – His Family Elohim – which is currently in His begotten Church. Indeed, God’s Church is a Family!
(This series will continue into Pt. 5.)