Are you living a deadly lie?
By Pastor Lee Hemen
March 18, 2009
Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites–Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth–became insolent and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD’s assembly?” When Moses heard this, he fell facedown. Then he said to Korah and all his followers: “In the morning the LORD will show who belongs to him and who is holy, and he will have that person come near him. The man he chooses he will cause to come near him.” (Numbers 16:1-5)
Are you living deadly a lie? Priesthood of the believer can cause ungodly pride resulting in the death of those who think they are church members. If priesthood of the believer is not seen as our freedom to approach God through faith instead of being able to do whatever we want – it can ultimately kill you. Why? Let me explain a bit…
We find that the people who walked by faith in the Old Testament were examples that Paul and other New Testament writers used to prove that a person is saved by faith, not the works they do. The writer of Hebrews deftly writes that the “law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship….” (Hebrews 10:1) therefore “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all!” (Hebrews 10:10) We are to “draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith!”
Paul would teach that “man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.” (Galatians 2:16) Peter would say that Christians are “being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5) He would go on to say that Christians are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that [they] may declare the praises of Him who called [them] out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
As wonderful as priesthood of the believer is, because we can chose to sin after being saved, and spiritual smugness can creep in and become prideful — Christians can be like Korah with Moses. They can think they do not need to follow God’s leadership, be part of a church, and do whatever they see fit. It is a deadly lie, patently false, ungodly, heretical, and the same sin that Adam and Eve fell for way back in the Garden of Eden.
What Korah and his followers were telling Moses and God was, “We do not need to follow what You say! We can worship our own way!” God deals with these miscreants in a deadly way: “The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah’s men and all their possessions. They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community.” (Numbers 16:32-33) Wow! It shows how God viewed self-centered worship and how He felt about those He chooses as leaders.
This is the sin of many who say they are part of today’s church when in fact they are not either in spirit or in faith. They think that because of their freedom in Christ, they do not have to submit to the leadership God has placed in His church and that they can do whatever they want whenever they want. They are as arrogant as Korah.
Ananias and Sapphira lied to the church in Jerusalem, sought public acclamation for their false piety, and were deceived to worship God in their own way. Satan had so filled their heart that they would lie not only to the church, but to the Holy Spirit as well! The result? They died at the hands of the church leadership and the power of the Holy Spirit.
This ungodliness was seen by the early church as so abhorrent that they quickly developed guidelines whereby folks could not easily get away with this false membership. We know that as early as by the end of the 2nd and the first part of the 3rd centuries the development had already occurred. In fact, you had to adhere to and be able to relate why you believed. A series of doctrinal statements were adopted to filter out those who were false in their faith. Nowadays we are supposed to adhere to biblical truth and endorse church membership only for those who profess Christ and are willing to join and become members of the local church.
Sadly, there are churches today who do not ask for its people to profess their faith in Christ but opt for an open door policy. Nor do they ask for people to join as members. There is no accountability or discipline. Priesthood of the believer is our freedom to come to God by faith alone, not to disdain His church and its leadership. It is not an excuse to spit on becoming a member of a local body of the Lord. The dark truth is that these churches and those individuals who proclaim their “independence” to follow God openly any way they want, without church membership or discipline, are following Korah and his rebellious nature. It is living a deadly lie.
This article is the copyrighted 2009 © property of Lee Hemen and may not be copied or reproduced in any way shape or form without using the full text of this entire article, and getting the permission of its author.