WHAT IS THE WAY?
In the New Testament, they refer to something
mysterious called "the way". What were they talking about?
Before Paul was converted, he
was out to arrest anyone connected to the Christian church. But,
at that time, they did not call themselves Christians, in fact, that
was a derogatory term in those days. Originally, they were called
the Church of God. The name Church of God is used 8 times in the
New Testament. The plural term "Churches of God" is used 3 times.
Paul himself referred to the true church by this name when he said, "For ye have heard of my conversation
in time past
in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church
of God, and wasted it..." Galatians
1:13 Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:9
"For I am the least of the
apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I
persecuted the church of God."
So it is well established that the early church was called The Church
of God and they followed something called "the way." This
way was not very popular at the time. There was a movement to
crush it, led by the priests or Sadducees. (Zadoks sons) These were the
same men behind the death of Christ. They were not satisfied to kill
Christ, they wanted all of his followers put to death as well, and Paul was
their cohort. At
the stoning of Stephen, Paul held the coats of the men throwing the
stones. Which tells you that he was the one behind it.
Paul (called Saul before his conversion) worked in powerful conjunction
with the Sadducees to kill anyone he caught following "the way." with
full authority of the high priest. "Then Saul,
still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues
of Damascus, so that if he found any who
were of the Way,
whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem."
We all know the story of Paul's conversion. It had to really hurt
those priests when Paul converted to Christianity. I would have
liked to have seen the look on their faces when they found out Paul had
become a follower of Christ. Then Paul himself became a victim of
persecution for following the way. He went to trial. Acts 24:22
says, "But when Felix (the governor) heard these things, having more
the Way, he adjourned..." Felix did not disagree with Paul
as much as he did not want to aggravate the Jews, so he left Paul in
jail for 2 years after this trial.
In those days you went to jail or you were put to death if you followed
"the way." We have to remember that "the way" at that time, was
not purely about keeping the Sabbath alone. It was not purely
about keeping the Holy Days, or the food laws, because all Jews were
supposed to do those things. It was about being a follower of
Jesus Christ and about following His teachings. The teachings of
Christ were more strict than that of the Jews, even though the
conception is that He was a rebel who did away with everything.
That is not true. The truth is that Christ taught a more perfect
kind of obedience to God. Christ taught that God wants us to
worship God in Spirit and in truth.
Peter called it "the way of truth." He also called it the "way of
righteousness." 2 Peter 2:21-22 says, "For it had been better for
them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have
known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them."
So we see that this way of righteousness was connected to keeping the
True Christianity was and is a way of life. It is the way of God
that God wants us to live. It is based on belief in Jesus
obedience to God, receiving the Holy Spirit, conversion...in other
words, being changed due to these things. Becoming more and
more like Christ. We learn more and more as we go, how Christ
wants us to live.
The New Testament
outlines the birth of true Christianity, and all that it entails.
We have to learn the way of God bit by bit and God wants us to learn it
more perfectly. Acts 18:24-26 explains that one can learn "the
perfectly. It says "Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at
Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to
Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and
being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of
the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak
boldly in the synagogue. When
Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to
him the way of God more accurately.
have a lot to learn. We need to ask God to teach His way more
accurately. And to help us to absorb the mind and character and
teachings of Jesus Christ. Because as members of The Church of
God, we are members of Christ's body.
Paul said, in 1 Corinthians 12, "Now ye are the body of Christ, and
members (limbs) in particular...." You've heard
the saying "What would Jesus do?" That is not a bad question to ask
ourselves in our effort to be conformed to the mind and character of
Romans 8:29-30 says, "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed
to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among
many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom
He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He
also glorified." When it says, He justifies us, that is because,
we sin and we are not perfect. We cannot achieve eternal life
through our own righteousness or our own efforts, therefore, God has to
justify us through the sacrifice of Christ.
In John 14:6, Jesus said, "I
am the way, the truth, and the life." Even with all our efforts
to keep God's law and to live a righteous life, we fall short.
Our own effort at righteousness will not save us. Jesus Christ's
perfection and His sacrifice is the only thing that can save us...and
the whole world.
In the end, Jesus Christ truly is the way for every human being
destined to be a future Son of God.
an annual Sunday (the first day of the Feast of Weeks)
mistakenly used to "prove" a weekly Sunday Observance.