If you have rules, you may be called a legalist!
|As Bible believing Christians we are trying to obey and line our lives up with the Word of God. As the Lord leads us towards a life of obedience, many saints have been cautioned towards this walk because it might lead towards... legalism.|
The label "legalist" has a very bad meaning in many major Christian circles today. To some it means "being saved by DOING the Word of God" or by works. To others it means doing Old Testament Levitical Law as a way towards salvation. Neither of these is the way of our Lord and Saviour to obtain salvation. When we see doctrines such as these taught we should indeed be very alarmed. Through FAITH in Jesus Christ are we saved.
Though very subtle, another meaning is emerging in many churches today. Many are now labeling as legalists those who take the Bible literally in regards towards obeying Jesus' and His apostle's teachings. There have been believers who are now being labeled "legalist" simply for having convictions to homeschool their children.
Because of this new thought, it is very important to find out exactly what legalism is all about. This way we will be able to equip our children with scriptural knowledge when they are confronted with this accusation.
The dictionary definition of LEGALISM is:
Strict, literal adherence to law.
This is interesting... to adhere to a law means that you are devoted to the law. To be devoted as a follower or supporter. It also means to follow closely; and to carry out without deviation.
This characteristic of such supreme devotion is something that we wish to instill in our children. But not in the sense of being bound to the Levitical/Mosaic Law.
The following scriptures put the Old Covenant Law into correct perspective:
Romans 3:19-31 "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay; but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also; seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law."
We are saved by faith in Jesus. The law was a ministration of CONDEMNATION.
2 Corinthians 3:7-14 says "But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away; how shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, (the law) much more that which remaineth is glorious. Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech; and not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished. But their minds were blinded; for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which vail is done away in Christ."
This was why the scriptures were written, "There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus." The law was to show that we WERE condemned. Jesus, through faith in Him, showed us the way to salvation and freed us from the law of sin and death!
THE NEW DEFINITION OF LEGALISM and LEGALIST...
Today, when men start taking the scriptures literally in regards toward their family or training of their children, when they rise up from their slumber and endeavor to become the spiritual heads of their homes, when women start donning modest apparel and staying at home to teach their children in the ways of the Lord, many who are witnesses to such actions start to point fingers and profess that this is LEGALISM. The first scripture to be quoted is the one which states:
"But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." Romans 7:6.
Dear saint, if you have been quoted this scripture in regards to obedience towards the New Testament, it is not referring to those following the Word of God under the New Covenant, but rather the Mosaic Law.
|BECAUSE THE TERM LEGALIST MEANS ONE WHO ADHERES TO A LAW, IF YOU ARE FOLLOWING THE COMMANDS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, UNDER THE DEFINITION OF LEGALIST, YOU MIGHT INDEED BE GUILTY OF THIS TERM!|
We now adhere and obey literally the NEW law of God that is written upon our hearts.
At the very beginning of most KJV Bibles is a line which states: "Containing the Old and New Testaments". Did you ever stop to think why one was called the OLD Testament and one was called the NEW? A very interesting study we found was in researching the word "TESTAMENT".
According to the dictionary, TESTAMENT for our purposes means, "A covenant between man and God."
What then is a COVENANT? According to the Strong's Concordance a COVENANT is a cutting; a compact; confederacy, covenant; league. Greek: a contract; covenant, testament.
A covenant is God's promises to man, a union now between God and man. Under the law, this was made available only through obedience to the Mosaic Law. Under the new covenant, we are now united with God through the shed blood of His Son by FAITH.
Now, we are under a NEW covenant, but one of obedience, just as the OLD covenant was under obedience. But now we may obey through the Spirit of Christ Jesus.
ONE FALSE DEFINITION OF LEGALISM IS PLACED UPON THOSE TRYING TO OBEY THE NEW TESTAMENT...
As we endeavor to live lives pleasing to God through the power of the Holy Spirit, it is such a shock when others, who also claim the name of Christ as their Master, discourage obedience towards the teachings of the New Testament. Many well-meaning people who are church goers do not believe that the Word of God is something to be taken literally. They have classified much of the biblical text as CULTURAL. Therefore, because it was written such a long time ago, they instruct that we do not have to do these things mentioned in the Word for they were only for that culture.
For example, the scriptures in 1 Timothy 2:9 state:
"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works."
The majority of Christendom does not hold to this sound doctrine. Pastors from the pulpit expound lengthy essays on how the issue of modesty has changed and that a mini skirt is fine as long as you don't bend over! We have waxed so worse that indeed modesty has a new definition, one to fit OUR culture of today. And yet this is just the beginning. Many have departed from sound doctrine, as prophecied in the Holy Scriptures.
WE HAVE NOT CHANGED OUR LIFESTYLES SO THAT WE LINE UP WITH THE WORD OF GOD. RATHER, WE HAVE CHANGED THE WORD OF GOD TO LINE UP WITH OUR LIFESTYLES!
We must turn the hearts of our children towards God's Holy Word. We read the Scriptures in order to find out information about our King. They are dear and very, very precious to us for they ARE Him. Scripture tells us:
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect (complete, Greek), thoroughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Timothy 3:16
We must not have hearts that pick and choose which scriptures we decide we will follow.
MANY PEOPLE TODAY ARE BOUND IN SIN BY THE DOCTRINE OF "EASY GRACE"...
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid, How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Romans 6:1-6.
But there is a problem amongst the body, ... Many do not wish to die to the old man. The old man lures and entices and reminds them that the sins of the flesh are fun... they are pleasurable, and so many preach and string along doctrines that are contrary to the Bible in order to justify sin. Now, grace has thrown away obedience. Anyone who wishes to obey the New Testament and our Lord's teaching's are labeled legalists. Instead of being encouraged on into obedience to God's Word, they are discouraged.
Sadly, because of this new doctrine of easy grace, the churches found in most cities today are no different from the world in which they live in.
But Brethren, our Father would have us to be obedient, not lawless!
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Rules or Lawlessness? Pearables Article
Shared in Love by Deanna Smith
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.
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