The number one enemy of the Cross of Christ is the antichrist spirit. This spirit can be assigned at birth and raised up with an entire family, it can be the number one spirit worshipped among particular denominations, and it can be found in a believing churches mist as well.
18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but [they went out] that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. - 1Jo 2:18-19 NKJV
An antichrist spirit is a pharisaical and religious spirit that offers nothing but false burdens and an outside appearance of good with a heart of evil. Jesus hated this spirit and preached against it more than any other. Then the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness." - Luke 11:39 Jesus was killed by this spirit, though He gave His life willingly it was an antichrist that took it. Antichrist is a liar and a deceiver who works for Satan so that he can steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).
Jesus described these types of religious leaders as “hypocrites” and informed them of their demise should they continue in their ways. Jesus also spoke to the scribes who were with the Pharisees as the writers or town clerks; scribes were the support system to the Pharisees.
"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in [yourselves], nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. - Mat 23:13 NKJV
It would appear by these words of Jesus that there are religious teachers who lead people astray with their doctrines of work. Jesus came to reveal the heart of the Father and His desire to reconcile the world to Him through His Son Jesus Christ. The Pharisees knew the Holy Scriptures of the prophets and their forefathers, yet they refused to believe the Savior of the world was standing in front of them. As they continued teaching people the “works” lifestyle to God, they were not able to keep this lifestyle for themselves nor were the ones’ they were teaching. They were going to great lengths to get people to believe their doctrine and yet were preventing them from entering the kingdom of heaven. These false teachers were in danger of great condemnation.
The converts were of the same condemnation as the Pharisees for Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” ~ Mat 23:15
As believers in Christ, we will develop what Jesus called “fruit,” evidence of our conversion to Christianity. The Pharisees taught Jewish tradition even though the Messiah stood before them. The belief was to do all the right things traditionally which burdened people by causing them to believe that they could only see God if they did everything right. For those without Jesus Christ, the belief stands true today, and it causes many to perish. Jesus said, 28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." - Mat 11:28-30 NIV
There are people today that have come to know Jesus as their Savior and yet believe that they still must work for their salvation, they have it backward. Works are good and necessary for without them our faith is considered dead (James 2:20). Works for faith is religion and not faith. Sadly, there are still teachers of the word of God that cause people to be entangled in a performance mentality thereby causing them to live a life of bondage. These teachers promise people liberty when they are actually servants of corruption because they are overcome by a spirit of religion that brings them into bondage (2Pe 2:19). Jesus said, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32 NKJV
Truth Makes Freedom
The word of God is Jesus Christ for He was the word before the word became flesh. The word is the chain breaker, coupled with the work of the cross and the blood of Jesus Christ; freedom is available. Those who are looking to enter heaven by faith in Jesus Christ can become shipwrecked because of false teachers that lay heavy burdens on them, causing them to give up on faith and fall.
Believers in Jesus Christ are called to follow Him, do what He did, deny themselves and walk according to the Spirit and not the flesh but to get entangled with a works mentality is extremely dangerous. Apostle Paul had to address this issue with the Galatians when he wrote them a letter with these words; 1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? - Gal 3:1-3 NKJV
This word bewitched means to misrepresent or to fascinate by false representations such as another way to God except through His Son. A works mindset is a false representation of the gospel of Christ. Many people have a tough time receiving love and grace just because they are offered it. Many have been abused and taught they are not valued so when they are told a Creator loves them so much He sent His only Son to die for them, they struggle and feel the need to do something to earn that love.
As much as we may desire to earn our way to heaven it just isn’t possible. We will never become a god and will never be able to out sacrifice Jesus, it isn’t possible nor is it necessary. If you have found yourself in a position that has put you in a slavery mindset of working for heaven, then you have gone astray. Good works are a must for every believer, but grace salvation is the only way. You and I do not deserve what was given, but the Father counted it a joy to rend the heavens and tear the veil that we might draw nigh to Him. May you be free in your heart and mind to serve the Lord of lords and King of kings with all your mind, soul, and spirit because of love and not fear for perfect love has cast out all fear.
Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ I enter Your throne room for grace and mercy. I need to rest, I have become exhausted with working for Your love and salvation. At the cross today I bow, I believe there is no greater love than that which laid His life down for me, help me accept what I say I believe and rest. Forgive me for working for something that was already done through the Cross, restore in me a right heart that is fixated on Your divine will for my salvation and not my intention to work myself into it. I command the pharisaical and religious spirits enforcing a works doctrine in my life to leave me now in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen