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Thoughts On "legalism".

It has been a reoccurring theme at my church as of late to make statements about the ills of "legalism". So I asked myself.. "What is legalism?"

According to Wikipedia, Legalism is defined as the following:

"Legalism, in Christian theology, is a sometimes-pejorative term referring to an over-emphasis on discipline of conduct, or legal ideas, usually implying an allegation of misguided rigour, pride, superficiality, the neglect of mercy, and ignorance of the grace of God or emphasizing the letter of law over the spirit. Legalism is alleged against any view that obedience to law, not faith in God's grace, is the pre-eminent principle of redemption. Its opposite is the doctrine of Sola Fide, which is the traditional Protestant view that believing in Jesus Christ is the only requirement for receiving eternal life."

Now I don't entirely agree with everything stated there, but I believe that's the general view that my church has taken on the matter. I feel, however, that it has also been taken well beyond that point and [as I've shared previously] I've made mention of it to a couple of people in my church leadership. It isn't that I don't believe in God's grace. To the contrary, I know of His mercy and the depth of His grace because I live and walk in it every single day of my life. But as a person who grew up in the church and who still chose to become a "prodigal son", I see this issue from a completely different point of view.

It is an unfortunate fact that some people have attended a church where they feel they were spiritually abused by the "letter of the law". Like the mob who wanted to stone the woman caught in adultery, they used the law to inflict harm from a motive of haughtiness or self righteousness. They wanted to stone her to show her to be filthy and unworthy -- not to save her soul. I can understand a person who has been subjected to this kind of treatment taking a very negative stance on following "the law".

My story is different though. I'm a person who lives her life in gratitude for the fact that God did not allow her to live happily in her sin. Yes -- sin. I'm not afraid to call it what it is, because anything that causes separation from God should not be handled lightly or with "Political Correctness" in my estimation. It is because of God's enduring love and mercy that He chastised me.And I thank Him and bless Him for it, despite the fact that it did not feel good and often seemed as though I was so broken, I would never recover. But I did recover and I am still seeing restoration in my life, thanks to Gods unwillingness to allow me to sin without consequence.

Like I chasten my children in order to teach them the value of making good choices versus bad ones, God lovingly chastens His own. To state anything to the contrary of that could lead to many a soul being lost to the clutches of unrepented sin. "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? God forbid." - Romans 6:15

When correction, chastisement, or rebuke are done from a motivation of love and concern, they are tools of healing and restoration -- not hate and condemnation. I believe that this is a simple truth that any parent can understand but I wonder often to myself why so many modern Christians have come to need to believe that there is no consequence and no need for repentance now that Jesus has paid for our sins. I believe that theology is un-scriptural and dangerous.. and I do not subscribe to it.

Here, however, is what I do subscribe to:

"My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.
For what children are not disciplined by their father?
If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—
then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. - Hebrews 12:5-8


So the Bible states very plainly there that if God doesn't chastise us, we are not His true sons and daughters! Is it legalistic of me to take God at His own Word? 1 John 2 in the New Testament goes on to say that although Jesus Christ is our advocate and has atoned for our sins, we are not free to live life any way we please. "We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. "

I just wanted to share this as a lesson learned from experience and also as a warning. I would rather be scoffed at and called legalistic for my obedience to Gods laws or (at the very least), my choice to repent when I have sinned, than to make Jesus death and suffering of no account by continuing to choose my sin.. over my Savior.
Intelligently Intelligently 31-35, F 34 Responses Apr 28, 2011

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What do you mean by chastening? What do you restrict your children from? Just curious.

My thanks to Andrew Farley, of God Without Religion, for this insight:

"I'd like you to think of two numbers. The first is the number of sins you've committed in your life. Okay, make a rough guess. Got it? Now, the second number is the number of those sins that you've confessed or asked forgiveness for.

See the problem? One of those numbers is a lot smaller than the other. It seems we can only remember and confess a fraction of the sins we've committed. But the Bible tells us that God is a holy God who can't tolerate sin. So how can we enter heaven with any sins - forgotten or remembered - that hasn't been entirely dealt with? For this very reason, our forgiveness is not contingent upon any act of our own (our confession, our repentence, or our asking for forgiveness).

No, our forgiveness is solely based on the blood of Christ.

Confession or asking for forgiveness cannot possibly be a condition for becoming forgiven. We've already forgotten about thousands of sins in our lives. God's redeeming work through the cross isn't contingent upon our memory, the listing of our failures, or even our expressions of sorrow over what we've done."

Hello Intelligently

The problem with legalism comes when people start to believe that their salvation status is determined by how they are doing in performing legalism.

That is to say some people are lead by legalism to believe if they do not stop sinning they will not have eternity with God.

Anyone who trusts in legalism for their eternal life with God is doomed to eternal separation from God. Because the Law carries with it a curse and that curse is that anyone who fails to do the law shall die.

The only thing that saves is the Works of Jesus, those who accept His gift of Atonement shall have eternity with God irrespective of their performance in works doing. Because they will have their failings wiped away.

But for those who trust in legalism they shall have no forgiveness for any of their failings to live up and do the works of the Law.


All Praise The Ancient Of Days

I didn't see it but somewhere the law defines sin. My "best answer" here is by Mathew633
There is a taped series "Law & Grace" by Bob George, Discipleship Counseling Services and People to People which I studied for months. I still have it. My view has been that salvation is by the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus. Obeying laws, circumcision, baptism, cannot or should not be added to the death of Christ as a requirement for salvation. Once you accept Christ as your Savior, if you sin you will never be comfortable in your own skin. You can try but when you do you will find your self overwrought and disgusted with your sin.There is nothing wrong with baptism, et al, it just cannot be a requirement in addition the Death of Christ for our sins for salvation. It diminishes Christ's sacrifice for us.

I've always been taught Christ's message as one that can be distilled to an essential, simple point that everyone can understand: "do to others what you would have done to you."

I've considered this as essentially saying "if you don't want to suffer, don't cause others to suffer."

It's so simple to live by.

All that I afore mentioned to come down to this; the use of the law is perhaps willfully and ignorantly confused as "Legalism" especially when not presented/reperesented correctly [namely lack of Love (for those in need of refreshing or first time knowing on what God's definition on Love is read 1 Cor 13:4-8, and for application in ones life rather than saying Love is Patient say like this Matthew633 is Patient and go down the line of all the characteristics of what love is and memorize it, and in doing so will truly walk in True love]

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

is very clear that we use of OT scriptures (Jesus used only the law), to teach, rebuke, correct, instruct (!!!IN LOVE!!!)

It is also written;

Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

This is the use of scripture and the law just happens to be Old testament scripture and for those that choose ONLY New Testament verses these verses show us the use of OT is legal or okay to use for examples another verse is:

1 Corinthians 10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

Once again for our examples.

1 Corinthians 10:9-11 like the 6th verse above

9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

The Law or 613 commandments (the 10 moral commandments being a part of the 613), were ONLY to show believers in God or Jesus that they needed a Saviour.

The legalistic law or the use thereof is to point to God/Jesus, remember for without Him, we can do nothing (Jn 14:6, 15:5 Rms 3:23 For we ALL come short of the glory of GOD)

Romans 3:19 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.

20 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.

Works of the law means the keeping of commandments and religous acts/deeds ( which is useless to God ); John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

No man (humanity, mankind) can go to heaven, even if you keep the 613 commandments! but by believing in Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Verse 9 is key; NOT of religion (righteous acts/deeds), or keeping of commandments (613 or the 10 or the 2 Great Commandments like I said over and over again all 10 commandments and the 2 Great Commandments are ALL in the LAW) can ever get you to Heaven.

Belief/Faith in Jesus, The Christ is the ingredient for Eternal Salvation

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Intelligently, my sister in Christ, It boils down to maturity we have in the knowledge of God as 2 Timothy 2:15 puts it;

15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

Verse 15 reveals we increase or study that we may not be ignorant of how God works and how satan works in our lives, and that we wield God's Truth to bring life and not to condemn as the Spirit of God puts it heavy upon my heart to reveal to any who want to grow in the proper usage of God's Word both the Rhema = The written Word and the Logos = Jesus The Living Word

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews (and those), which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Notice the "IF" it is conditional. read it like this now;

31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word (Jesus or Holy Bible), then are ye my disciples indeed;

32 And ye shall know the truth (Jesus Jn 14:6), and the truth (Jesus or Holy Bible), shall make you free.

We must remeber Intelligently that many belivers regaurdless of the apparent age may be babes or newborn Christians, which require the milk of the Word (salvation, mercy, grace, forgiveness verses only) and the mature like yourself can chew on the Meat of the Word.

We must Always pray on what God wants and How God wants rather than being forceful (with good intentions mind you), and brutish with God's Word.

It is all about Maturity of the believer in question example Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. :67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. :71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. Maturity! Technique(Presentation and Representation)meekness, lowliness, LOVE! Timing (There is time for everything under Heaven Ec8)!

God tells us that we cast our cares upon Him, not to help Him do His Job. (Pr.3:5-7, Jer 33:3)

I hope these posts help those that needed to understand the deeper things (the Law and Legalism and Love and the discernment to know which is which that we may know the width, the depth, the height, and the breadth of His Word), that they may learn to ask God before they do, learn to be more like God and less of ourselves by surrendering to God's will in anything and everything that deeply concerns God for us, Pray, Pray Pray! For we have not because we ask not! (Jms 4), we need to trust God and let it go to God that He may work and not that we shove and ram it down their throats ( shamefully, I too have been guilty of this), hoping we see change because of what we do rather than what God will do.

We look at Jesus life and the way He used the Law for mercy, grace to give hope for exhortation and edification and Never condemnation: John8:10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Jesus didnt condemn her as she deserved Romans 6:23 but let her go without giving her the Gospel (notice that please) He didnt say follow me (It just want her time if God ever chose her to be saved, but that's a different teaching), that doesnt me he condoned her actions but Jesus was ushering in the age of Grace.

Let us have grace, love and discernment to rightly divide God's Word.

Romans 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15 Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;

9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly...

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

If we yoke people to the law we have blood in our hands and we will pay for every person we yoke to the law.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

It is Extremely DEEP! Rightly dividing the word of Truth!

It is written Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

What is LAW? Well, First of all the law Consists of 613 commandments and yes the 10 commandments are part of the 613. The Law is found in the Old Testament and not the entire OT but the first five books and are commonly refered to as The Pentateuch, and The Torah (Scrolls).

What does it mean to not be under the law? It is better said to be Under the Curse of the Law.

This means keep the 613 commandments from (Genesis to Deuteronomy) or die and go to hell (or hades, gehenna, sepulchure, hellfire tartarus, the pit, the great abyss and all the other terminology used to refer to hell).

and under Grace we keep God's Law not because we have to, but because we love Him proof text would be John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. Notice the "IF" it is conditional upon our obedience or the keeping in line with His will the context in John 14 further reads;

21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

As God reveals new commandments we must incorporate them as they are revealed to us and hence our growth in Jesus/God. Mt5:45, Lk6:46

We as believers MUST realize, that God uses others to get a Word to us, no matter where we are in our maturity in God, I have seen it manifested in me and many others, that God uses babes in The Christ, Jesus, either because God gave them the understanding through what they themselves came out of or are being delivered from.

We as believers forget we are continually being sanctified by God's Word, as we apply God's teachings, namely Jesus's for that is the portion of grace and not of the law.

As it is written 2 Cor. 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

In meekness and lowliness of heart, with heaps of love, understanding, mercy, Prayer (Mt11:29, 1 Cor13:1-3, Eph4:29-32, Jms5:16) that after planting a seed of hope in Jesus and His cleansing blood they may be re-established in Holiness when they seek forgiveness and restoration (1John1:9)

2 Timothy 3:16 reveals:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

We must teach (our fallen brother's), to make a man (mankind, humanity), perfect and the same with rebuking and correcting, and instructing.

But we MUST show love, we must be exuding love, we must be walking in love and stern and heavy discipline reserved for repeated offenders.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 is very clear, If we have no love we are but noise and we will NOT be heard, for we would be as noise and they will refuse to hear A Great example that comes to mind is Imagine a childish pouty tone as they run behind the skirts of God's mantle "I wont listen to Him Father regaurdless if they speak your truth Lord for they are hypocrites and have sin too, and they did'nt do it in love, so I am ok, regaurdless if I sinned against you and remain in sin because I was not sinning like they say (enter all the different justification belivers use to get out of trouble), No matter how we as believers put it and try to hide our Unrighteousness in the end it comes down to how I put it above, Actions speak louder than words.

What a terrible mistake when believers feel the need to go to such extremes to hide their Sins, transgressions or iniquity. (My heart aches for the Lord, on this matter!) Pray, Pray Pray! Jms5:16

So, Presentation is everything! Going back to the skills Jesus taught is learn of Him for He is lowly and meek, so we must incorporate such characteristics, Jesus also taught; Do unto others as you would like them to do to you. (which is a paraphrase to the second of the so called Great commandments Mt22:35-40 which just happen to be included in the law! Go figure?!? testimony to this is Deut 6:5, 10:12, 30:6 for the first great commandment and Lev19:18 for the second great commandment which Jesus happens to to refer to as new commandments (This Grace my fellow brothers or the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law that killeth or condemns) *** Presentation Is Everything*** Remeber we are the salt and light of this earth, and we are ambassadors of Heaven, "Not the Judge Jury and Executioners of Heaven!"

So, it is very important, that we ask ourselves, if our heart was in right standing as well as my presentation of love in the behalf of our Father/Jesus, and please DO NOT say I would want or would'nt mind if someone yells at me and judges me and keeps attacking me unmercifully with scripture and keeps on and on (That just would'nt be true) Do unto others as you would like them to do to you. (If this seems hazy I suggest prayer to God on very useful examples on How God would do it... He shows me interceding prayer first Jn15:5, parables second, scripture third, harmonious/second witness scripture fourth, and no I do'nt mean the same day (HE HE HE), plant seeds and wait for growth (God's timing, for it is God who gives growth 1Cor3:6)

I understand the use of the law and I believe that is good, but it better be full of grace!

examples of this would be Eph 4:29, 1 Cor 6:6-11, Galatians 5:13-23

In Love, there is no Law let me say that again...In God(1 John 4:8), there is No Law and I shall say it again.. In Jesus (Is 9:6, Jn20:28), there is No Law. Keep His Coomandments (not because you have to but because you love Him), Jn 14:15,21-23

First of All Intelligently I agree with you 1000% percent Yes one thousand! On legalism and I concrete myself on what God reveals to me by the use of the law...2 Cor.3:6Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

In the eight years and counting that I have studied Christiandom (from a believer stance, when I asked God What is a Chritian and many other questions I asked God ) and why we do what we do when we do.

that God systematically showedf me their o' so clever tactics to flee and hide when faced with judgement

and God has showed me why, In asking God shows me that man is the same yesterday, today and forever, we are very predictable to God, that is why He knows what we will do before we even think it. God has shown me this by revealing to me that 1. Man's (humanity), heart is decietful above all things (Yes, even in the things of God), and desperately wicked, Who can know it? Jer. 17:9 I can hear it now from believers...Not Mine!... By the goodness of my heart I did this and that, and so on and so forth... There is none that doeth good no, NOT one Rom. 3:12

2. God revealed to me that when man is naked (sinful), He runs and hides ( that is to say Believers try to bathe themselves in baths of righteousness, or as I understand it they sin then run to God and hide behind His mantle and from there, they not only hide their sin (which haphazzardly God obimantes), they declare their righteousness in Christ Jesus without repentance. (Considering it is said we are forgiven our past, present and future sins they neglect the confession part of our sins as described in 1 John 1:8-10

3. and therefore believers decieve themselves and inadvertedly call God a liar by default, all because they run and hide like our forefathers did almost 6 millenia's ago, mankind not only runs and builds a covering with fig leaves (an excellent example is; "I was not gossiping, I was just BS ing the breeze (as it is spoken), I was not gossiping, I was Just having a conversation, just talking, just informing, and on and on it can go with many justifications everything and anything except the truth, to hide our UNrighteousness (hiding only makes us hypocritical!!!), The devil made me do it! (UHHH OHHH , there goes freewill out the window), anything but owning up to our sin, if all else fails believers (myself included when I mention believers), tend to either get defensive and abuse scripture to fit their deceitful need to accomplish our hiding and our self righteousness without repentance (God is a stickler for order of things and unless you fulfill what He commands we can not be heard from God (John9:31) Genesis 4:7 If You do well my child/creation, will ye not be accepted? Notice the "IF" it is conditional. We as believers perhaps in one time or another (for we are sanctified according to what we learn and practice and it is not an instaneous occurence), Try to change the subject or try to manipulate the conversation for about 15 minutes to steer clear from embarasing judgement upon us by our own choices, We as believers at times if pushed too far (because this can and is a stumbling block if we have no the love and tact 1 Cor. 13:1-3 (meek and lowly as Jesus put it Mt. 11:29), Believers can attack hyper-defensively as they pick at the other persons past throwing all our past sins that they recieved while gossiping (shaking head), I think Here is where they misuse the beam in your eye verse to stop loving brother's from helping them get their relationship with God right! :-( "Mind your own business they say!")

It is written:Proverbs 9:6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

7 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.

8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

James 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;

20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Now that is love!

God never changes, His "word "never changes, and will be always.

The Law stands forever.

Either the Bible is true or not.

We can not pick or choose it's the way it is.

You sin you have to repent ask for forgiveness.

There is such a thing as vain regrets but that does not make it right.

What the book says and what it reads it does not change.

Sorry I did not make the rules God did.

And He constantly judges us it is His love for us to keep us on the right path, when we are going to hurt ourselfs He will speak in a loud voice.

Cheers

So true.

i choose my Savior too. .. . . . . And I want to live with that choice . . .

I don't think its enough to believe in jesus to be given redemption of ones sins. I was put up in a catholic church schooling and then later I studied ethics and a lot of Wesleyan and Calvinistic thoughts in ethics and philosophy. I can say in regard to other christian thought ...I mean at least, innately in myself I feel redemption is something much more bestowing to those of pure heart and remorse for their sins and then to learn from the sins and repent them in some way. We were encouraged to think that way over Lent and Good Friday and even the Resurrection and in confession... largely EP has rather a mild Catholic overtone to it... to be redeemed is to confess to a priest and for the priest to grant you gods forgiveness and for him to ask god on your behave to forgive those sins and having done so and to promise to avoid them again one would be given forgiveness and a similar reflection is in the last rights also before death. from what I understand. each sacraments we get rise us up to the next level of religious education and closer to god. but gods love is eternal... the catholic concept of the cataceism states that our ultimate goal is to love and know god and seemingly that alone can surely absolve us from sins. I think many Catholics have intense "catholic guilt" good guilt and bad guilt embedded into their minds each confession and communion. and certainly the more I have studied ethics moral deed and thought is as important to obtaining great self respect and peace of mind which is kind of hand in hand in the belief that god has forgiven our sins.



very good story intelligently...

My own belief is we regard Old Testament commandments as for today unless there is good reason to believe otherwise. There are many, many OT commandments for which there is such good reason.



I believe the 10 Commandments are for today--except that I do not believe we are under the same strict Sabbath as the Old Covenant. There is good data in the NT to support that. "All scripture is profitable," and I believe the principle of not working yourself or somebody else to the bone 7 days a week is something God would have us follow. But I don't feel that there is any day of the week I cannot feel free to do a laundry load if I need to.

Hello Intelligently, your story is so similar to mine. I was raised in a strict SDA church and to a certain degree held so much fear regarding living by the commandments. So as an adult I too became the prodigal son until a point in my life where I had both my children (yes I turned 40) and suddenly I had to find the truth, I always believed in a God, but what was the truth. As I prayed, as I became humble, as I truly asked for forgiveness and for God to come into my life I slowly began to change. I started to have a relationship with God through his son Jesus Christ shedding his blood for us. I knew the bible was the sole book of power and my life began to change sometimes slowly, other times dramatically and I am still a works in progress 18 months on.



I guess I understand the legalism part if focussed on too much can lose people, this happened to me. It was about focussing on Christ's love and what he did for us and his purpose for us that I wanted to change (why did I never feel this growing up even though I always believed).



So as I said I am still on my journey and you guys have touched on commandments, and I have been struggling with law (legalism) and commandments (the old 10), keeping his commands in the new testament is loving one another and loving God. Are the old 10 commandments only binding to the Jews until the Seed (Jesus Christ) would die for us and then we are under the spiritual law. Dont get me wrong I believe that if we have true faith God will also show this in our actions through his holy spirit so we would live our lives according to Gods will but does this include the strict 10 commandments given to Moses? I'll leave it at that for now, I still have so many questions...

The Gospel taught by Christ, encourages followers to be well-balanced (1 Peter 5:8,9 AMP). Yes, we are saved by grace, but one can fall from grace according to the bible (Gal. 5:2-4). This brings up the issue that we all individually face a continuous struggle against sin:



"In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood (Heb 12:4)"



The Bible also goes further into sin in 1 John 5:16:



"... I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that."



In other words, Genuine Christians of Christ understand the need to endure to the end:



If we endure, we will also reign with him [Jesus]. If we disown him, he will also disown us; (2 Tim 2:12)

Amen!

Thanks for the link to the video, intelligently. I will check it out in a few minutes.



And, I agree with your additional comments about legalism/grace. Well stated. Balance is crucial. I believe balance is only possible by the grace of God. Believe, ask God for spiritual growth, and *then* God grants us the ability to resist sin.... that sort of thing. It is Him doing the work, not us. :)

Very well written!



Thank you also for calling sin what it is! We as Christians can not be PC!



One of the things that gets me is how often the new testament gives examples about the pharisees, and just how legalistic they were, and yet so many don't see the connection between the pharisees and themselves.



Another thing that I have some issues with are "religious traditions" that are not Biblically based. We do things or feel someway about something without studying it for ourselves, to see what God's word really says about something. This is another road that legalistic people tend to go.



Thank you again for your post Intelligently!

And also, in response to your first comment, here is my basic belief:



Grace and law should never be pitted against eachother, nor separated from one another. Grace is there to ENABLE us to obey God's commandments *despite* our obvious propensity to sin. It doesn't remove responsibility from our shoulders to willfully choose to life our lives in accordance with Gods law.



Likewise, law is there to teach us how to be pleasing to the Lord. We should *delight* in doing what we can do to be more like Jesus Christ, who was perfect and fulfilled the Law perfectly! We may never achieve perfection, but we should strive to live our lives in His footsteps and He was the most lawful Jew and perfect Christian as ever existed or will ever exist.



He was the marriage--the holy and beautiful *union*--of law and grace; and of justice and mercy. And He is our example.



So when someone err's on either side of the Law/grace "ditch", it is still error. :) Balance is crucial.

Haha. Oh ThatOtherGuy. You took the words right out of my mouth. (Literally. ;)



I made this video a couple of years ago on the subject and said basically what you have just said. It's interesting how people get stuck in their own little rut so deeply that they forget there's a whole wide world outside of their own point of view. (I'm not referring to dmurray here. Just people in general. We all do it from time to time.)



http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_profilepage&v=jqB1nxIVsTg

@dmurray1095. I am often amused by the Atheist who denigrates another's religion while ignoring the fact that they, too, have religion. I will explain.



I believe that there is a God. That is my faith. You believe there is *no* God. That is *your* faith. You are every bit as faithful as I am, only, I believe in a benevolent creator and you believe you were created by random chance by a process that created our entire universe and put our Solar System just far enough from other stars in our galaxy to make it suitable for life. Our sun burns at just the right intensity and has the proper fuel (hydrogen to helium) to give us light in a wavelength that is suitable for human life. The Earth is just far enough away from the sun to support life. 1% closer to or 1% further from the sun and life could not exist. The tilt of the axis of the earth is just the right amount for us to have 4 seasons necessary for crops. The gravity of the moon gives us tides which keeps our oceans from being stagnant waste lands.



Do I need to go on?



Yet, you believe all of this was random chance and happened for no reason whatsoever. Statistics tell us that the odds of all of these things happening randomly is so infantismal that it is almost comical that anyone would believe random life to be possible. And yet, you do believe that. Like I said, it amuses me.



So you see, dmurray1095, it takes more faith to be an Atheist, than to believe in a creator as we do. To us, it's as simple as acknowledging what science, nature and physics already tells us-- the same things you choose to deny in order to keep your faith.



May God bless you.

@Intelligently. I enjoyed your post. Thanks. I have a couple of comments about this issue that you may find helpful or interesting.



I used to go to a fundamentalist Christian Church when I was younger. They lived as legalists though they claimed they were under grace. They thought of themselves as somewhat "better" than other Christians. I learned to live by the law because of them, trying to live a sinless life because that is what counts, or so they said. I failed..... I thought I was the worst Christian ever and I struggled with my faith. I later turned to the Methodist church and finally got a proper Christian education about the bible and I have learned that it is *grace* that saves, not my ability to live a sinless life. I never will live without sin as a human. You will not either. None of us will. We must try, of course, but we must always remember it is not our effort that will save us. Jesus Christ said on the cross, "It is finished". He was speaking of his effort. That is the effort that saves us IMO.



Also, Martin Luther considered leaving out the book of James from the Protestant Canon because he felt that it was too legalistic. The Jewish Christians tend to favor a legalistic approach. So, when you quote Peter, you are quoting a Christian who was also a Jew and who seemed to have a difficult time letting go of the law. Remember when Paul called Peter out for ignoring the Gentiles when his Jewish friends were around? Remember when Paul had to be an advocate in front of Peter and James to *not* force new Christians to physically circumcise themselves when they became Christians? I do not intend to make small the efforts of the Jewish Christians. Peter and James are larger than life in our faith. Rather, I point out that Paul did not feel the same way as James and Peter, not in regard to legalism. And I come down squarely on the side of Paul on the issue.



;-)

"It is amazing to me that intelligent people still live in a fantasy land of religion."

^^as long as you say this, knowing it's completely opinionated, fine... but just a little snippet for your tack-board; you demean something that has saved, and i confidently say, millions of lives. *tips hat, walks into busy sidewalk...*

dmurray, I won't entangle myself in that debate with you because the only way to be sure of whether or not "religion" is a "fantasy land" is for one of us to die. The one who dies first would know first. So until that day comes, I can only say that I agree that we should not deflect the blame for our own poor actions onto anything or anyone but ourselves. We have the freedom to choose and our choices will produce fruit and have consequences. We cannot grow at all (spiritually or otherwise) until we're willing to take responsibility for our actions.



In closing, I'll leave you with this verse to think on. I choose to believe in God. You do not choose to. Both of those choices have been addressed in the Book of James, chapter 24, verse 15.



"But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

It is amazing to me that intelligent people still live in a fantasy land of religion. Whether feeling a need to be politically correct, peer pressure, a desire to belong to a social group, the ability to deflect blame or excuse behavior, a need to believe that we have a higher purpose than simply to be, indoctrination in childhood, etc . . . it is a sad statement on humanity and a waste of the mental capacity for creativity, imagition and curiosity, that a majority continue to live in this fantasy.

"Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace." (Gal 5:2-4)



^^this was a letter that Paul sent to Galatia, the congregations there were having a hard time breaking away from the Mosaic Covenant, the old law, and accepting the way of Christ..



Romans 2:29 "...and [his] circumcision is that of the heart by spirit, and not by a written code. The praise of that one comes, not from men, but from God."



our hearts must be at a constant cleansing state.. imperfect we are, but acceptance as Christ as our only benefactor and a way to possible salvation, that's our circumcision.. and from then on we focus on what we should be doing instead of what we have done in the past.. God forgives and he forgets, but even he has his limits..

This is a good answer but I think that the central point is not to focus on "what we should be doing" but rather upon our Savior. Being as we cannot please God in the flesh all that can be done is to remove our own will and let Him live through us. "Not my will but Thine will be done" The only way to know what that is is to be prayerful and at constant study of our guidebook. these would not be issues if people would just read their bible every day!

According to the bible, we are saved by grace (Eph 2:8,9). Yet, it is possibe for one to "FALL" from being saved by grace!



"Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace." (Gal 5:2-4)

Very well said! You put this in the right perspective. Even though we are indeed saved by grace, it is our duty to abide by God's laws. "Fruits of the spirit"

I think this is where the rubber meets the road for all involved. Obeying God's laws is a statement that one should be qualified. I think that saying that statement is confusing to people who are new to the faith or are old and not reading the Word. If at face value one was to read your comment they must read very intently Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers and get their notebook out, for there are 613 laws that make the whole law of God. To break it down even in simpler terms they may think to themselves "I must keep the sabbath" when very few believers even know what that really means.

When I say God's laws I refer to the 10 commandments, not Moses' ceremonial laws which were a shadow of Christ. So no in fact people do not need to read the entire Old testament but rather Exodus chapter 20 specifically to see the definition of sin.

I certainly don't consider them devils, cory! Immature, yes. Under grace, yes. But pushing the limits of Gods mercy is a far cry from living a victorious and pleasing Christian life. The point is that it is being preached from the pulpit (at least at my church) that God doesn't "punish" people. That He has no more wrath and that he won't have wrath again until the end of days. I don't agree with that.



If and when I encounter a person who is a Christian and living in sin, I am quick to point out my own testimony. I was sinning and enjoying myself immensely for a while. Then I crashed and burned and in a moment of clarity and humility, I realized that God had intervened. He refused to let me just keep going on the way I was going.



To believe that God doesn't still chastise His children is (I feel) to believe a lie. According to 1 John, if God doesn't chasten you, you're a bastard. Those are very sobering words. I wish so much that churches sought these things out in the scripture before presuming to omit them.

You've already commented on the other. You stated basically this. And you asked for the name of the minister that made the quote that I took issue with on my previous post. The quote that went something like, "The early church had more fruit than we do because they believed the Holy Spirit they did have more than a book they didn't have."

You seem to refer to a previous story. If it's one other than the one I previously commented on I'd be curious to see it.