Is 'Legalism' a sign of a weaker brother?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by dianetavegia, Feb 22, 2004.

  1. dianetavegia

    dianetavegia
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    Romans 14: 1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4 Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. 5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: "As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God." 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way. 14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. 22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.
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    Thoughts please!

    Diane
     
  2. computerjunkie

    computerjunkie
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    My FIRST though is "paragraphs are your friends"!! :D

    But I'll read it anyway!!

    CJ
     
  3. Tim

    Tim
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    I believe legalism (at best) is a sign of spiritual immaturity--which is certainly a form of "weakness".

    The OT Law acted as a tutor for a people who had not yet received the full revelation of God. Then in the NT, as the newborn first century Jewish church matured, it gradally shed more and more aspects of OT Law--for the Law of Christ was growing within the hearts of the body of Christ. It was becoming a "mature man" through the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit in its midst.

    We can see the same pattern in our children as they grow. Initially, they need only know, Do this, Don't do that". But if trained in godliness, as they mature--by the grace of God-- they incorporate a love for God and for others into their patterns of life. They no longer need such legalistic lists, for their hearts are changed from within.

    In Christ,

    Tim
     
  4. gb93433

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    I have seen people be comfortable with legalism because they are not comfortable without structure. Often they try to measure their spirituality by a rule and they want that assurance of spirituality. But the problem as I see it lies in the idea that they really are not comfortable with the unknown of the Holy Spirit leading. Knowing God is an adventure of the unknown to us but known to Him. They have not learned to let go and let God take control.
     
  5. David Mark

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    There is encouragement for me if I find that I am weak. I can become legalistic to protect my own conscience. This can be good for me.

    But if I think that because I am weak, everyone else is weak and needs to be as legalistic as myself, and I start trying to teach that, then that could be bad.

    For example, If I refrain from eating meat for my conscience's sake and I try to teach you that you will also refrain from eating meat because I do, then I've overstepped my boundaries.

    If you know that I refrain from eating meat and you press me or intimidate me with your freedom and try to get me to eat meat, then you've overstepped your boundaries.

    Dave
     
  6. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Legalism might be a sign of immaturity. Purity and holiness are not. Unfortunately, they are too often confused by immature believers who don't know the difference.
     
  7. donnA

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    Holiness is the work of the Holy Spirit in us, we do not have the ability to make ourselves holy, it is grace. Legalism is us trying doing the work of the Holy Spirit. All it can do it hold us in bondage, we can not be free in legalism.
     
  8. Elijah

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    I would have to (at least in this context) say yes. A weaker (babe in Christ) brother or sister is more subject to stumble over non essentials, as Paul I believe is addressing here. Paul is saying to the mature Christian , "You know this stuff is of no importance in the scheme of things, but, be mindfull of your little brother or sister in Christ.
     
  9. Tim

    Tim
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    If the liberals think you're a legalist and the legalists think you're a liberal--you're probably in pretty good shape.

    Tim
     
  10. justdan

    justdan
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    To me legalism is when someone who CLAIMS to be a stronger Christian trys to tell you what you can or cant do with your christian liberty.
     
  11. dianetavegia

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    YES, YES, YES!!

    Diane
     
  12. paidagogos

    paidagogos
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    Well, this may be what “legalism” is to you but it is a complete misunderstanding of “legalism” in a Biblical context. Of course, the thinking of this age and society is that truth is whatever it means to you—this is relativism. It is passing strange that definition of words should be determined by feeling rather than reason. By Scriptural standards, “legalism” is where the keeping of the Law is essential for salvation or keeping one’s salvation. To have standards and convictions is not “legalism” as some would have you to believe.

    It would appear that those who bash other people’s standards and convictions by calling them legalists—used as a buzz word—try to preserve and justify their impiety by claiming so-called Christian liberty. Christian liberty, in a Biblical sense, is freedom from sin, not the freedom to sin. It seems that Christian libertines have never grappled with the issue of dying to self and lust.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. paidagogos

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    Yeah, the real question is which believer is the immature one—the one labeled a legalist for his convictions or the so-called Christian libertine? One can almost detect a spiritual smugness in those who claim spirituality and piously frown upon others by referring to them as legalists and weaker brethren, as if they are patronizing them. One old German commentator said, “It is precisely the most spiritual man who realizes what a great sinner he is.” Amen!

    I’ve noticed a lot of people who seem excessively bothered by any restriction on their desires (read lusts in the Biblical sense—passionate desire).

    [​IMG]
     
  14. justdan

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    I never said anything about anyones convictions or standards! I believe that Christian liberty DOES NOT give us the right to sin. Christian liberty gives us the right to do things that ARE NOT wrong! but even this must be tempered with love for weaker brothers who could be offended or given cause to stumble. Grace covers us when we sin. Again it does not give us a right to sin! but gives us forgiveness. All Christians have a responsibility to live Spirit filled holy lifes! We are after all bought with a price!
     
  15. paidagogos

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    YES, YES, YES!!

    Diane
    </font>[/QUOTE]NO, NO, NO!!! God said to exhort, admonish, and rebuke with patience and longsuffering. Seems that one is obligated to reprove the erring brother. It would appear that the trend of this thread is to espouse the modern view of tolerance rather than the Scriptural view of confronting sin. BTW, this shallow definition of legalism is all misconstrued. It is based on an inane, relative premise. In other words, it’s wrong.
    [​IMG]
     
  16. paidagogos

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    1. Do you have a right to do something that is not wrong of itself even though it causes a another to err or sin?
    2. How does GRACE cover wilful sin? Is there a penalty? (HINT: What about chastening and loss of reward?)
    3. Please explain exactly what a Spirit-filled, holy life is?
    4. If you are not talking about the convictions and standards held by another, whom you call a legalist, what are you talking about?
    5. What are the rights that Christian liberty give to you? Please support with chapter and verse.
    6. How is your action affected by it's impact upon another?

    [​IMG]
     
  17. paidagogos

    paidagogos
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    Hey, Dave! Is this just your opinion or do you have some authority for this? Or, is it just that you're speaking from the CHAIR? [​IMG]

    Let's change the scenario a little. Suppose we’re talking about smoking. Since smoking is harmful for me, I believe that I ought not to smoke and should encourage you to quit if I love (i.e. have your best interest at heart) you. If so, listen to your little example.

    Dave would have said:
    "For example, If I refrain from smoking for my conscience's sake and I try to teach you that you will also refrain from smoking because I do, then I've overstepped my boundaries."

    Makes sense? BTW, meat is bad for me because it raises my bad cholesterol to a dangerous level and I may kick the bucket with an old-fashioned heart attack. So, brother, lay off the meat since God will destroy those who destroy the body. Am I a legalist? Your serve!

    [​IMG]
     
  18. CalvinG

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    With regard to paidagogos questions, I think you might wish to consider additional factors:

    (1) Whether you know in advance or can predict with relative certainty the impact of your actions on another. (For instance, I have heard many teetotaling members of my denomination say that one should not drink because it "can cause your brother to stumble" without giving any specific likelihood or reasoning as to how this is likely to happen.)

    (2) What the impact or impacts of your action is on the other person or persons and the degree of certainty attributed to the particular potential impacts.
     
  19. justdan

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    1. Do you have a right to do something that is not wrong of itself even though it causes a another to err or sin?
    2. How does GRACE cover wilful sin? Is there a penalty? (HINT: What about chastening and loss of reward?)
    3. Please explain exactly what a Spirit-filled, holy life is?
    4. If you are not talking about the convictions and standards held by another, whom you call a legalist, what are you talking about?
    5. What are the rights that Christian liberty give to you? Please support with chapter and verse.
    6. How is your action affected by it's impact upon another?

    [​IMG] [/QB][/QUOTE]
    1 Yes, 1 Cor.10:23&24 but with rights come responsibilities.
    2. Rom.5:8-21, is how grace covers sin,and of course there are consequences for sin on this earth.
    3. Rom.6 ( Paul explained it better than I could!)
    4. Someone who tries to impose there preferences on others.
    5. 1 Cor. 8,9,and 10 teach the principal
    6. I am not sure what you are asking
    [​IMG]
     
  20. David Mark

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    I was drawing from Paul's example of eating meat sacrificed to idols. I should have mentioned that (I'm sorry). I didn't mean someone who is not a vegetarian. [​IMG]

    I hope that will satisfy your competition with me. However, if you send a polite volley over the net again, I will oblige you with a polite return volley.

    [​IMG]

    Dave.
     

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