Legalism

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Maverick, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. Maverick

    Maverick
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    True legalism is all about the predominantly Jewish Church of the 1st century seeking to have the Gentiles become Jews in order to become Christian. That is what Paul fought against.

    If you look at the big picture you see all through the NT Paul gives various decrees/commands/doctrines on day to day living issues, hair, music, eating and drinking and modest clothing and even sex.

    Legalism is basically making Christianity mean Christ plus you name it instead of Christ's work alone for salvation.

    Sanctification also comes from God, but we are also told that we should all speak the same thing and be in one accord. Yet, there are far too many Christians that equate grace to meaning do whatever you want to do since you are under grace. That is great error and has led to Ranterism, Oneidaism and other antinominan groups.

    The Amish and the Mennnites are not at all wrong stating that Christians should avoid worldiness and should stand united to let their light shine. Where they would go wrong is making hook and eyes versus buttons or head coverings a matter of salvation. That would be legalism.

    A "corporate" teachig or standard is not legalism.

    1 Cor 11:16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God. KJV

    No matter how you interpret this Paul was saying that no church of God had that custom. No room for private or personal interpretation or "liberty" here.

    Paul said that his writings were the commandments of God. That would make them applicable to everyone not just to spiritual while the rest of the folks said that was just Paul's interpretation and he was a legalist.

    We like to quote Romans 14 & 15 and quibble over gray areas, but Paul told the stronger brother to bear the infirmities of the weak and even said that the pork eaters were right as were the lads who didn't celebrate the Hebrew holidays. If we don't keep passages in their context especially when dealing with merging of the Jews and Gentiles we can come up with all sorts of nonsense.

    In the contect of Romans, if teh pants wearing women are the stronger then they need to give it up at church so as not to offend their weaker sisters but wear them at their home or anywear the weaker sister may not see it and if that is not possible than to give them up forever as Paul would have given up food. Hence, while they may shout that they have liberty Paul would tell them to give up their liberty not flaunt it. The Gentiles could eat their pork chops at home but they should not bring them to a love feast or shove one in the nose of a Jewish believer.

    If we are in the world but not of it and we are ambassadors of another country then our attire, desires and demeanor should be far different then that of the world we live in not a mimic of it or even a condoning of it.

    If we are friends with the world we are the enemies of God. Conversely, if we are the true friends of God the world will hate us. If they hate us that is good.

    1 Peter 3:16-17

    16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

    17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. KJV

    If we do what they are doing they certainly won't call us evil doers but rather friends. They call us evil doers when we do the will of God which is contrary to their culture. Using their culture to bring them into the Church is much like bringing strippers to your wedding and telling your Bride that you were only trying to be sure that there were plenty of guests at the wedding. I doubt she would buy it and I doubt that the Lord buys most of the junk we are doing in the name of bringing them in. Yes, scour the byways and bushes compelling them to come in but don't bait them in with entertainment.

    Can you show me one example where Christ entertained people? The Apostles? Nope, they spoke to their needs or warned them of Hell but there were no entertaining shows put on. I wonder why Paul didn't do stand up comedy to bring them in. Everyone loves comedy.

    Jesus lost most of His audience when he did not keep feeding them or doing miracles on the hour.

    Indeed, the "seeker" churches may be a version of modern legalism since it is Christ plus entertainment and media shows. If those churches cannot reach out to the real needs of people to bring them in I am a bit concerned about the Gospel they are sharing.
     
  2. Dr. Bob

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    Legalism is trying to please God by anything other than the faith HE gives us.

    In the early church it focused on man-made or Jewish ritual added to Christian liberty to try to please God.

    Today, it is more easily seen in evangelicals who seek to curry favor with God by man-made standards (not in the Bible) and think that their works somehow please God.

    So we make lists of actions. And if someone does not follow OUR lists, then we judge them unworthy.

    In reality, the list-maker is unworthy.
     
  3. Tim

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    Not only is the list-maker unworthy, but there's always someone with a longer list.
     
  4. John of Japan

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    Which is exactly why the council at Jerusalem made that nasty ol' legalistic list in Acts 15, right? ;)

    "That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well." (Acts 15:29)
     
  5. tinytim

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    God cannot love me anymore than He does now.
    No matter what I do.

    God cannot Hate me anymore than He does now.
    No matter what I do.

    When God looks at me He sees Christ's righteousness.

    Legalism is forgetting this.
     
  6. James_Newman

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    tinytim, the idea that all sin is the same in God's eyes, and all sinners the same is unbiblical. There are degrees of righteousness or unrighteousness, and God can be more pleased, less pleased, more and less displeased. It is truth that in regard to our eternal salvation, it is all paid for and on that day God will see Christ's righteousness if we have His blood for our atonement. But we will appear at the judgment seat of Christ to recieve the things done in the body.
     
  7. tinytim

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    What can I do to make God love me more then?
    Since His love is based on what Christ did not what I did. I don't see what I can do to make him love me more.

    Salvation is not of works, it is grace.
    God chose to love me.
    And you!
    He didn't have to. Nothing I do or can do will ever merit His love to me.

    So what can I do to make Him love me more?
     
  8. Emily25069

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    I do like what one mentioned earlier that someone will always have a longer list.

    Never in a million years, would I have figured out on my own through reading the bible that slacks were not modest. I had to hear it come from somebody elses interpretation and conviction, and I still dont necessarily agree, though I do do my best to be dressed modestly according to their standards when I am with them. I can say the same for modern worship music, which is the music I was accustomed to at the time of my salvation. The thought of it being unGodly never would have occurred to me. I was praising my Lord!

    It gets to the point where I can please God, or I can please nit-picky man.

    Where it gets confusing to me when it seems as though I need to please nit-picky men in order to please God. The only thing that I can do at that point is try to maintain blamelessness within reason. There really is no way to completely non-offensive to all believers.
     
  9. tinytim

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    Abiding by a list of do's and don't's can make one prideful and lazy.

    For instance, say church A has a list of about 15 things that make one a "holy" Christian.
    On this list is the following.
    1. no slacks for women
    2. No modern worship Music, hymns only, no drums or CCM
    3. KJVO
    4. You must go door to door to be truly evangelistic.
    5. No drinking
    6. No card playing.
    7. No movies
    8. No TV
    9. Read Bible everyday
    10. Pray everyday.
    11. Go whenever church doors are open.
    12. No denominational associations
    13. No going to Applebees
    14. Men cannot wear shorts
    15. No multi-media illustrations

    Now suppose a person abides by all these rules that the preacher preaches on all the time.

    That person could become prideful, and look down on others that don't.
    And if that is all the church ever preaches on, then that person will soon start believing that he or she has spiritually arrived.
    At this point they can become lazy and only focus on the above list.

    Forgetting the fact that they are judgemental and gossipers, they fall into sin.
     
  10. tinytim

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    Oh, I forgot,

    16. No dancing
    17. Men cannot have long hair
    18. Women must have heads covered
    19. No eating within church (fellowship hall must not be connected to church building.)
    20. No Santa Claus
    21. No pictures of Jesus on walls
    22. No sunrise service
    23. No drinking soda from bottles that could be mistaken for beer.
    (BTW, has anyone tried Jones Soda?)
    24. Must always sing the Doxology when receiving offering.
    (if biology is the study of life, theology is the study of God, is Doxology the study of DOXEN?) :rolleyes: [​IMG] :D
    25. No advent season services
    26. Men must not wear beards.
    . . . You get the idea.
     
  11. John of Japan

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    Exactly right! God never made lists. The Ten Commandments were Moses' idea. ;)
     
  12. Tim

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    Trying to follow the OT law today is yet another form of legalism. That schoolmaster became obsolete once Christ came to provide true righteousness (Gal. 3).
     
  13. John of Japan

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    Exactly! You are right! For example, Jesus never ever taught the ten commandments, did He!! Oh.... I forgot in the Sermon on the Mount where He actually taught them and made them internal, except for that one on the 7th day.... ;) Hmm. Maybe morality is for all ages.... :confused:
     
  14. HankD

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    Acts is a book of transition from law to grace.

    For instance, in the Book of Acts, Jesus Christ brought the revelation to Peter that He cleansed both the gentiles and their food (for one thing, it's difficult to keep kosher on the road in gentile nations) for the fulfilling of the Abrahamic Covenant.

    With the full revelation of God through other apostles we have:

    Romans 14:14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean (I was however unable to eat a bowl of hog's blood soup offered to me by a Polish man, but that was me).

    As to our relationship to the Law we have exactly the same relationship that a dead man on a cross has to it.

    NONE.

    In Judaism a dead man is freed from the Law of Moses.

    We are dead in Christ to the Law but alive unto God through the Spirit which raised Him from the dead.

    We are NOT under the law but led of the Spirit who has never led anyone to commit the works of the flesh.

    Galatians 5
    18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
    19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
    20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
    21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
    23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
    24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
    25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
    26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

    If we call ourselves "Christian" and yet commit or even yearn for the works of the flesh, then I believe we are "sick", "weak" carnal Christians or Christians who are ready to die ("sleep").

    Romans 8
    11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
    12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
    13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
    14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

    OR, perhaps we are none of His and the Law must rule over us to protect society from our evil deeds.

    1 Timothy 1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
    10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.

    If we walk in the Spirit we won't need mere "morality" which changes like the weather.

    For instance fornication is perfectly moral today between "consenting adults".
    The ultra moral would add "they should be in love as well".

    HankD
     
  15. Tim

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    Jesus did not teach the ten commandments in Mat 5. Five times He said, "Ye have heard . . . But I say unto you . . . ". Jesus was teaching a greater law--an internal law of the heart--not the Mosaic Law. Christ was the teacher greater than Moses. He fulfilled the OT Law.

    Of course morality is for all ages, but the OT law is not. It's purpose was condemnation, as are all merely legal systems. As Hank's post clearly points out, we live by the Spirit, not in the power of the flesh--trying to keep laws by our own effort.
     
  16. mioque

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    tinytim
    "13. No going to Applebees"
    "
    I recognize all the other prohibitions, but from a legalistic position, what is sinfull about eating at Applebees?
     
  17. All about Grace

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    They serve alcohol ... better known in fundy circles as "liquor". [​IMG]
     
  18. PASTOR MHG

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    I certainly hope the schoolmaster has not become obsolete...my 4 year old and 2 year old are not yet born again. What a tragedy if the Law is not available to teach them their need for the wonderful grace found in the person of Christ. What a tragedy that we have come to a place in the church that all we need is the Love and Liberty of Christ...We have forgoten about that eye-opening reality that each one of us must face as we behold ourselves next to that awesome and humbling picture that is CHRIST'S RIGHTEOUSNESS...the Law of God.

    Max
     
  19. John of Japan

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    They serve alcohol ... better known in fundy circles as "liquor". [​IMG] </font>[/QUOTE]Tinytim was being facetious. No Fundamentalist I know of nowadays has a standard against eating at a place selling liquor (a word used in many circles, including among proprietors of "liquor stores").
     
  20. John of Japan

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    Well said, Max.
     

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