The Problem of Independence

by | Feb 19, 2024

In much of the world today independence is seen as a virtue. We speak admiringly of someone being an independent thinker. Some forms of independence are good. For example, God would not have us to live our lives as the slaves to the opinions of other men. But one form of independence that is not good, and which should never be viewed as virtuous, is independence from God.

Most Christians today would most likely nod in agreement with this statement, but sadly they don’t realize that they are living lives independent of their heavenly Father. Indeed, the vast majority of Christians today know little of what it means to be led by the Spirit of God. For every saint who has entered into this blessed realm of life in the Spirit, there are a thousand others who are being led independently by their own reasoning as they look to the written word to determine what God expects of them. The statement I am about to make will startle some, but it is absolutely true. Reading and studying the word of God will not reveal what activities God wants you to be involved in. It will not lead you to obedience.

Now, I am in no way advocating that Christians should not read or study the word of God. Paul told Timothy that he was to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15). He further said, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:16-17). But whereas a sound understanding of the scriptures can furnish or equip a man for good works, these same scriptures will not show him as an individual what those good works are that God has planned for His life.

This truth is clearly seen in the following scripture.

Matthew 7:21-23
21  "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.
22  "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
23  "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'

Yahshua stated here that MANY will say to Him on that day of judgment, “Didn’t we do the works that you commanded us to do?” His response will be “No, you did not.” How can Yahshua say this? These people were prophesying in the name of Yahshua. These people were casting out demons in the name of Yahshua. These people were even performing miracles in the name of Yahshua. The scriptures forbid none of these activities. In fact, the scriptures show that these were things that Yahshua and His disciples practiced.

The key to understanding this passage is observing the words here that deal with the Kingdom of God. Yahshua begins by saying “Not everyone who says to Me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of God.” The title ‘Lord’ denotes rulership. By calling someone Lord you are saying that you are submitted to their rule in your life. These people were not saying it once, but twice. They were saying “We are doubly submitted to You.”

Yahshua tells the people up front that it is not sufficient to call Him Lord and then to proceed to do good works in His name. The only thing that qualifies one for entrance into the Kingdom of God is to “do the will of My Father.” Putting these statements together we must conclude that there are MANY who say Yahshua is Lord of their life, but they are not doing the will of the Father. Their words are a lie. Yahshua cannot be your Lord if you do not submit to His Lordship, or authority.

Yahshua further reveals the truth of this when He says to these same ones “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” Why did Yahshua call these people who were prophesying, casting out demons, and performing miracles in His name, lawless? It is because they were not under His authority. To be lawless is to fail to submit to authority. Yahshua, nor the Father, had instructed these ones to do the things they were doing. They were doing so independently. They had chosen for themselves what their activities would be. There was no truth to their statements that Yahshua was their Lord.

How did such ones (and remember, there are MANY) come to be doing these activities apart from the leading of God? They did so like so many saints do today. They read the word and are led to their activities by the reasoning of their mind. They reasoned “Yahshua and His disciples did these things, so I must do so also.” Tragically, this is how most believers are taught to live their lives in Christ and they will receive the same words that Christ spoke here “I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”

The saint who is taught to read and study the word of God to find out what the Father requires Him to do is on very shaky ground. Indeed, he/she is in danger of being rejected by Christ for his/her error. One might be thinking now, “This is how I have been taught all my life to determine what God would have me to do. What other way is there to know what God would require of me?” The answer is that God intends for us to be led of His Spirit into all of our activities.

Romans 8:14
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Reading God’s word and studying it to see what we should be doing is not the same as being led of God’s Spirit. These things are quite different in fact, and they often lead to conclusions that are in sharp contrast to each other. When Satan tempted Yahshua in the wilderness he did so by presenting the word of God to Yahshua and inviting Him to act upon it in a certain way.

Matthew 4:5-6
5   Then the devil took Him into the holy city; and he had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,
6   and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God throw Yourself down; for it is written, 'He will give His angels charge concerning You'; and 'On their hands they will bear You up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"

Did Satan misquote scripture? No, he did not. He simply arrived at an application of the scripture that was not of God. Satan did not stop doing this when it proved unsuccessful with Yahshua. He still does the same thing today. In fact, he has caused the church to adopt doctrines (ever heard of ‘doctrines of demons’?) that justify doing the very thing he tempted Yahshua to do; for saints to determine themselves how scriptures are to be applied in their life.

The church is rife with this teaching today. The vast majority of saints are not led by the Spirit into their activities. They are led by their own reasoning as they examine the scriptures. It is not good enough to perform the same activities that Yahshua and His disciples performed. Yahshua was led of the Spirit in all of His activity. He did not begin His ministry until the Spirit descended and rested upon Him. He stated emphatically, over and over, that He only did the things that He saw the Father doing and He NEVER acted on His own initiative.

John 5:19
Yahshua therefore answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”

John 5:30
"I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”

John 8:28
Yahshua therefore said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.”

John 8:42
Yahshua said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me; for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.”

John 12:49
"For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak.”

John 14:10
"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.”

Yahshua repeatedly revealed to the people what constituted acceptable service to the Father. If even Yahshua did not act on His own initiative, if He didn’t determine what activities He would do or what words He would speak, how can we do so? Yahshua was not independent of the Father. God did not send Him to earth in the form of man and tell Him to be led and guided by the scriptures. No, Yahshua was always beholding the Father and He was always being led of the Spirit of God into all of His words and actions. This is our pattern.

Christians today, however, are taught principles of Christian living and then told to find ways to apply these principles. This is totally foreign to the way Yahshua walked and has led myriads of saints to fall into the very pattern that Christ warned against; calling Him Lord, Lord, but failing to do the will of the Father. The church today is epitomized by its lawlessness. The saint who seeks to discern the voice of the Spirit in his/her life and to walk in obedience to this leading is most often subjected to scorn, ridicule, rejection, and condemnation, and in many ways has impediments placed in his/her path to keep such an one from continuing in this way.

I have experienced this reaction myself in the most volatile means; having my place of ministry stripped from me, being put out of the church, and being rejected by family and friends. When the Spirit of God instructed me to walk in a certain manner, being strictly obedient to Him, I was met with the condemnation of brothers and sisters who would point to the word of God and say “You are violating this scripture, or that scripture, as we understand it, and we cannot walk with you any longer if you do so.” In the same way many saints through the ages have been falsely condemned by the improper usage of scripture.

Yahshua Himself suffered in this way. He was crucified as a blasphemer because He violated the Jewish leaders interpretations of the scriptures. Those who refuse to walk by the Spirit will always use the scriptures to condemn those who do.

This in no way implies that the scriptures are not profitable or useful, but they are Spirit breathed and must be discerned and applied by the Spirit. Any man or woman, whether they be a child of God or not, will only reap death from the scriptures if they are not led by the Spirit of God in their reading, study, and application of them, “For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (II Corinthians 3:6).

God has a specific plan for each one of His children and this plan is based upon the child’s intimacy with, and dependence upon, Him. God had no intention of giving the church a manual of instruction and then telling them that they were on their own to work it out and apply it as they will. The fact that the church has done just this has led to the sorry state of the church today. The church is carnal and full of division, strife, self-seeking, envy, covetousness, and a whole assortment of ills. The church has failed to reach the maturity of the fulness of the stature of Christ that God intends for her. This is due to a failure of the church to walk by the Spirit and to teach others to do so.

The church is likened unto the Pharisees of whom Christ said:

Matthew 23:13, 15
13  "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from men; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in...
15  "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel about on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”

The leaders of the church today know little of being Spirit led themselves and they hinder others who would walk after the leading of the Spirit of God. A vast number of pastors and church leaders want people to support them and to follow them as they build their little kingdoms and their worst nightmare would be to have saints who were led of God’s Spirit. Most saints are dependent upon their pastors and church leaders to tell them what constitutes acceptable service to God, and the pastors like this arrangement. For the saint to become Spirit led would jeopardize the position of many leaders who wish to keep people dependent upon them.

Vast numbers of saints today are failing to discern the mind of God. They are not ‘beholding the Father’ and seeing what things He would have them to speak and do. Many are simply following man, and most others are determining for themselves what their activity will be. Lawlessness rules in their lives for there is no true submission to the rule and reign of Christ. Paul said that lawlessness would be the order of the day before the return of Christ. Many saints have been ignorant of the fact that they are the lawless ones.

II Thessalonians 2:3-4
3   Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the return of Christ] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
4   who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

The key to understanding this passage is discerning what temple Paul is referring to in verse 4. We know that Yahshua completely fulfilled the Law and by His sacrifice He abolished the need to anymore keep the ceremonial law. This ceremonial law was primarily focused on the temple which was located in Jerusalem. The passing away of this temple built of wood and stone in its function of being the location where God would meet with man was immediately demonstrated at Christ’s death by the veil of the temple barring the entrance to the Most Holy Place being rent in two as Yahshua breathed His last breath.

The covering of the veil of the Temple was mandated by God to prevent those who were unsanctified from gazing on the presence of God. To look on His presence was to invoke His immediate judgment, and death was the penalty. By the veil being torn and the Most Holy Place exposed, God was signifying that His presence no longer would be found in a building made of wood and stone. His temple was now the temple of man’s body, a building built of living stones. This was further demonstrated by God when forty years later, in AD 70, the Temple in Jerusalem was COMPLETELY destroyed by the Romans so that not one stone remained upon another.

Since the death of Christ, the temple that God has revealed His presence in has been exclusively a temple formed of the bodies of men and women. When Paul then speaks of the man of lawlessness taking his seat in the temple, he is not talking about a temple built of wood and stone, but one built of living stones. It would not offend God at all for a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem to be defiled because God’s presence will no more be revealed in such buildings. What angers God is for the man of lawlessness to take his seat in the living temple, the temple of man’s body where God’s Spirit dwells, for this is the temple where the glory of God is to be revealed.

The apostasy that Paul speaks of which must occur before Yahshua returns to be revealed in His saints, refers to a rejection of the truth by those who are of the household of God. The word apostasy is defined by Strongs Hebrew/Greek Dictionary as: “defection from truth.” This is why Paul describes the last days to Timothy as being “perilous times”, for men will not listen to truth, but will heap to themselves teachers who will tickle their ears and tell them what they want to hear.

As the church experiences this defection from truth because they have not loved truth, the man of lawlessness will take a seat in the temple which is the bodies of God’s saints. This lawlessness is a rejection of the authority of God; a failure of obedience to the Lordship of Christ. A rejection of the truth, and the man of lawlessness taking his place in the temple of God (the bodies of the saints), are greatly related. Because the saints have not received the truth of being led by God’s Spirit they have become lawless, determining for themselves what their activities will be.

In receiving the doctrines being taught today that saints are to learn Biblical principles and then apply these principles to life as they see fit, believers have become independent of God. There is no need for a saint to be led of the Spirit, since they believe that they can fully understand the scriptures themselves and know how to apply them in any given situation. The believer has basically become independent of the need to constantly hear God’s voice because they assume that the answer to every decision is to be comprehended as one looks into the scriptures. This is something that God never intended.

Yahshua would not have said that it was better for Him to go away and for the Spirit to be sent to the church unless there was exceedingly great value to be found in our relationship to the Spirit. However, the believer’s call to be led by the Spirit of God into all of his/her activities is largely lacking from the teaching of the church today. Even in many so-called Spirit filled churches today, the church has merely acknowledged that spiritual gifts are valid (something many churches deny), but they fail to exercise these gifts according to the leading of the Spirit. They fall into the pattern described by Yahshua of those who prophesy, cast out demons, and perform miracles, but not under the Lordship of Christ.

There seems to be a false mindset among believers that if a saint is manifesting some spiritual gift then the Spirit of God must of necessity be guiding and leading them. Yahshua’s words, however, reveal that this is not the case and that MANY will manifest these things in a way that does not please God at all. To many saints and entire churches and denominations, the presence of spiritual gifts is merely an ornament they hang onto to demonstrate to other churches that God is certainly present with them. However, this is no such proof, for Christ’s words which we have looked at were “I never knew you.”

The only thing that is revealed to make a saint approved for entry into the Kingdom of God is doing the will of the Father who is in heaven. This implies walking under a true Lordship in regard to Yahshua Christ. This means that the saint moves when Yahshua says to move and speaks when Yahshua says to speak. How is a saint to know when this is unless they are being led of the Spirit of God? To be led of the Spirit demonstrates that one is not independent of God.

There is a great struggle going on today among those who are being led of the Spirit and those who are not. Yahshua said that the day would come when men would think that they were doing God a favor by killing the disciples of Christ. Who are those who would think they were doing God a favor, but those who claim to be the children of God. These are the one’s who will mistreat and abuse and cast out the saints who are walking by the Spirit. In this very hour there are many of God’s most precious saints who are going outside the camp bearing the reproach of Christ. They are outside the camp because they found it was impossible to walk with God and walk with an apostate church. Many have been put out of the church by brothers and sisters who have rejected them, but this could actually be at the merciful leading of the Father who is declaring today,

Revelation 18:4 
Come out of her My people, lest you participate in her sins and partake of her plagues.

The Babylonian church system of our day is full of error and corruption and it is actually an impediment to millions of saints advancing to maturity in Christ. The judgment of God is soon to fall on this system and God is even now calling His people to come out of her. This church system has hindered untold numbers from coming into the kingdom of God. It has prevented multitudes from coming under the Lordship of Christ and entering into life in the Spirit.

Yes, God has good works for His saints to do, but he desires to guide us into those works that He has specifically chosen for each individual. The choosing is not ours, but His. This is the message of the following verse.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Yahshua for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

God has prepared beforehand what our activities should be. As we become attuned to the voice and leading of His Spirit we will be able to enter into these works and we will one day soon hear the voice of our Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”

1 Comment

  1. John Mark

    Amen Joseph. After going through my own wilderness journey (and discovering your audio teachings), God led me completely out of the Church, and after revealing to me the truth about the restoration of all things, the damage was done. I saw how the doctrine of eternal punishment tainted every aspect of God’s word, and after He cast down that doctrine, it was like a veil was lifted. When you mentioned the letter kills and the spirit gives life that is what came to mind.

    I am curious, if you don’t mind me inquiring… You use Yashua to stay more true to what He was called back in those days, but you still use “Church” to describe the “called-out ones”. As you know “Church” doesn’t come from “ekklesia”, it comes from “Circe”, which I absolutely appreciate your writing on the matter back in 2010.

    Wouldn’t calling Yashua’s body of saints by a false name, be the same as giving Yashua a false name?
    I don’t mean to offend, I believe the Father connected those dots for me and led me to leave a comment. Take care Joseph, I appreciate what our Father has shared through you. I’ve been reading and listening to since I was 20, I’m almost 32 now.

    Sincerely in Christ,
    John Mark


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This is the Blog site of Joseph Herrin. It is a companion to the Heart4God Website. Writings are posted here first, while the Heart4God site contains an archive of all of my books, presentations, concise teachings, audio messages, and other material. All material is available free of charge. Permission is granted to copy, re-post, print, and distribute (free of charge) any of the material on these sites.

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