Very few Christians live in the Spirit of the Word. Most try to do the right thing by living by the Letter of the Word. The difference is Life vs Death.
The answer to life is in the Spirit of the Word, not the Letter
Jesus forgave the woman in adultery but yet sends adulterers to hell, 1 Corinthians 6:9. Does forgiving one woman mean that we should forgive adulterers? The answer is
not in the words of the Bible; it’s in the Spirit of the Word.
The Word says to stay separate from evil and resist the Devil, yet Jesus talks freely with Satan at the temptation, invites Satan to access heaven to discuss Job’s character, and hasn’t stopped Satan’s power on earth. Satan is Jesus’ enemy. Satan hates Christ and envies His crown and position and tried to usurp His throne, so why didn’t Jesus just tell Satan to rack-off at the temptation? Why did Jesus talk amicably with him? The answer is not in the words of the Bible; it’s in the Spirit of the Word.
How come Eli is punished for letting his sons misbehave, but Samuel got away with it? How come King Saul gets replaced by God for not doing the right thing, yet David gets away with pre-meditated murder? How come Peter becomes head of the church when he denied Christ, whilst Judas goes to hell even though he said he was sorry? How come God says we are not to hate yet He Himself said He hates Esau even before he was born? Isn’t God showing favouritism to Jacob when He says that’s a sin? And how come God says we are to forgive our neighbour, yet He says He won’t forgive if we don’t, and there’s a time not to forgive. The answer is not in the words of the Bible; it’s in the Spirit of the Word.
How should a Christian respond in every situation? How are we to know what’s the right thing to do?
Most Christians look for a standard answer that will help them make right choices, but the Word of God is flexible; it doesn’t lock into a fixed answer because it’s not the Letter that is the truth, it’s the Spirit of the Word that’s the truth. No one can do the right thing unless it’s by the Spirit of the Word … they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, not just in truth. The truth is not the truth without the Spirit.
1 Samuel 15
In 1 Samuel 15, King Saul thought he was doing the right thing. He thought that he was being obedient to the instruction of God via Samuel, but when Samuel confronted him that he hadn’t done what was right, he couldn’t believe it. Saul said he was bringing back the animals to offer as a sacrifice to God. That sounds like a good thing to do. How do we know whether he was really going to do that or rather keep them for himself? How do we know whether Saul was lying or not? Why didn’t Saul do exactly as he was told? Why did he think it was ok to do it slightly differently? The answer isn’t just in the animals; the answer also lies in Agag. Agag was the head of the evil regime. If anyone should have been killed on the spot, it was Agag. Why did Saul drag Agag back with him? I suggest it was to show him off as a trophy; to show Samuel how good a job he had done and to show the people how great a king he was, and to emphasise to Samuel that his way was just as right as Samuel’s, and right there we see the true heart of the man.
God doesn’t measure you by your sin and mistakes; He measures you by your heart. If your heart is truly towards Him you will own up to your mistakes by faith in His rightness. God lets you make the choice to sin, but He also brings correction to cause you to re-evaluate and repent. But, if you live by the letter of the Word your repentance, like Judas, will be in vain no matter how much you believe yourself right.
What’s your Agag?
Agag is the thing that makes you look or feel superior to others; anything that makes you feel proud about yourself. Agag is anything you hold onto to promote your prowess when you’ve been told to destroy it … like money, popularity, position, work, hatred, injustice, envy and unforgiveness. Pride hangs onto Agag to justify its rights and promote its position, whereas, humility turns to God and trusts His time for justice.
One Christian I spoke with, fully believed he loved God and was living a good Christian life. He said he was open to correction so when I challenged him that he was unloving to his wife and children, intimidated others to agree with his opinion and had a mood when he was contradicted about anything, he struggled at first, but then suddenly realised that his Agag was his hatred of bossy women. From his perspective and hurts, bossy women intimidated and manipulated him to react with a mood making him always look the baddie. Instead of turning to God and trusting God with vengeance for the injustice, he had set his course to never let women tell him what to do.
This man, through pompous cursing, was dragging the hatred of his mother-in-law around with him and unwittingly actually doing her bidding against others by acting as her puppet. He began to see that despite his good outward appearance his heart was bitter and ungodly. It was the beginning of his freedom and salvation.
Humility can’t be measured by being elevated in the eyes of others; it can only be measured by your reaction to others putting you down
Like King Saul, he hadn’t killed Agag as instructed, but rather dragged him around in the depths of his heart, and couldn’t see that he was disobedient to God, that he was living for the accolades of others, and that he was under the influence of a lying spirit, while at the same time speaking the right religious words about God, worshipping the God of Heaven, and truly believing that he was keeping the ten commandments, and fully believed he was a Christian of some future importance. Thankfully, but rarely, this man I was counselling began to see that his goodness was all a deceptive lie for his own self-promotion in the eyes of others.
If you don’t let your Agag go you will end up like Agag
King Saul pretended to be cooperative and sorry for his arrogance, but it was Samuel that killed Agag, not Saul. In his heart he really wanted the popularity over the humility. It didn’t take very long for the character of Saul to become evil like Agag, and the exposure of it more open and obvious and no longer hidden. God through Samuel had brought his true spirit’s character out into the open and he hated Samuel for exposing the real him to others, when in fact, it was Saul’s opportunity to break free.
If you set your course to stand up for your rights against evil, then inadvertently you will come under the influence of the evil spirit operating through the person you are resisting, and end up acting just like the person you hate … Matthew 7:1,2
If you don’t kill your Agag, then your Agag will kill you.
All that will live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution … 2 Timothy 3:12
The correct tactic against evil is to set your course to suffer the injustice and trust God’s will and purpose in the pain of it. This is the only way to be set free from any evil that oppresses you. The evil may not be destroyed but your spirit will be lifted above it. This was the strategy of David and Moses and even Jesus in the temptation, so it is the truth and until you accept this path you won’t ever be able to understand the Spirit of the Word. To do anything else is really just letting yourself have a mood and to be arrogant in your own self-value, self-knowledge and self-strength, and inadvertently to be under the bondage to evil spirits and just blindly obeying the letter of the Word on your path to nowhere.
Correction will either redirect your course or solidify your stubbornness and resistance
When a Christian drags Agag around with them they are living by the letter of the Word in full conviction that they are right and good, when in fact they’ve blinded themselves to their disobedience and can’t see their stubborn resistance to the conviction of the Spirit of the Word. Their right and wrong will be what they believe is right and wrong, and no one will tell them otherwise even if they pretend to agree with the man who lives by the Spirit of the Word. When Samuel comes along to challenge your lies, you’ll either listen like David or resist like Saul; and that’s the real distinctive difference between them, not their sins or their goodness. One humbled himself and listened, the other resisted and told Samuel how to behave towards him.
May God open the eyes of His remnant through suffering, to see the Spirit of the Word and be freed from the Letter of rightness.
Pastor Scot Steinman