November 18, 2007

Accusations of Legalism

Often I hear an accusation laid against Christians by others within the faith of being "too legalistic" because of their desire to live without sin or to be righteous before God. Although it seems this accusation is heard more often these days than in years past, probably as a result of easy-believism within the corporate church. However, I think its odd that I never hear this accusation coming from Non-Christians, but rather from so called Christians themselves. More often than enough, I will hear these people in a parrot-like quip say "Well! I am no longer under the Law". So often I would like to respond to them by saying - "So your saying your above God's Law and you choose to no longer keep or observe it?".

Its as if these so called Christians feel they are no longer obliged to keep the Moral Laws of God. It's as if either the Moral Laws of God are too difficult to keep or they get some cosmic free pass to sin in word, thought and deed without any of the consequences of punishment. But yet on the other hand, sinners who commit these same violations, will thrown into Hell for all eternity. Seems to me if this theology were true, then this makes God out to be very arbitrary in his character!

But what exactly does the bible teach about the keeping of God's Moral Law as believer's in Christ Jesus? Does it really say that the "Law" is no longer applicable to us?? Just how important to God is the keeping of His Moral Law?

Matt 5:19"Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

Matt 22:36-40 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' "This is the great and foremost commandment. "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

John 14:15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

John 14:21 " He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."

John 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.

1 Cor 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. (Personally I think this is a great verse! It shows the contrast between the Ceremonial and Civil Laws and God's Moral Law)

1 Thessalonians 4:1-3 1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.
2For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.

1 John 2:2-4
and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;

1 John 3:21-23 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.

2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it. (The antithesis of this verse is if we hate Him, we will NOT WALK according to His commandments)

Rev 12:16-17
But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. (Interesting take on this verse is that in the end times Satan will come against those who OBEY the commandments of God - that is His Moral Law and hold the testimony of Jesus - Hmmmm I wonder how this will effect the "I sin in word, thought and deed daily" crowd??)

Rev 14:12 Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. (Wanna know how to be Eternally Secure?? Keep God's Commandments in your hearts and Love God!!).

My point in all of this is to show that God has in no way negated us from keeping his commandments. In fact, as devoted followers of Christ, we have freely chosen to follow and obey God's laws, out of sincere love and devotion and knowing it is the right thing to do! It is the very essence and motivation of our heart. Why would we want to do the very thing God hates or despises if we truly love Him? If all this then makes me legalistic then so be it - I would rather be called a legalist than to be told by God "Depart from me you evil doer for I knew you not!" Clearly scripture shows those that love God will naturally follow and obey his commands, and those that hate or despise Him will willfully chose not to obey His commandments. Where do you stand? Are you one who has come to the knowledge that it is indeed "good" to keep and obey the moral laws of God or do you feel as if your "Above" His Laws and are not bound to keep them? Regardless, the moral good of the universe is at the very center of God's heart and His Laws are not to be taken lightly my friend.

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