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Author Topic: Legalism  (Read 2561 times)

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Scrybe

  • Guest
Legalism
« on: July 12, 2006, 09:02:07 PM »

Forgive me if I'm treading ground that you all have years ago, but you know, wrapping your brain around a new idea can take time…

So with no hell to fear, and only love to spurn you on towards good works and godliness, where do you draw the lines of morality?  I was raised Assembly of God and they are very rule-happy people.  Drinking, cussing, smoking, dancing, etc, were all sure signs that you were hell-bound. 

Over the past couple of years I've changed my perspective almost 180 degrees, but that brings up some logistical problems.  For instance, how can I defend any moral ground I have, (based on Biblical precepts) if our only measure is: "Does your action come from Love"?  How can I council a homosexual that in choosing God he must leave behind his perversion.  Or a liar, cheater, fornicator, etc? 

Personally, I've started to learn to discern these things spiritually.  But those who are less mature than me in the faith can't do that very well.  Paul gives advice on how to correct a brother, but that advice occurs within the framework of an organized group.  (Probably a house-church.)  With your advocacy of… lone wolf Christianity… for lack of a better term, (I'm not calling anyone wolves!) how do you approach this matter?  Or does it even matter?  Am I supposed to stop taking Paul's advice on this matter?  Should I limit my concern for a stumbling brother to prayer?

From what I've read on these forums so far, you are a very loving group of people, so I'm very interested in you replies!

P.S. Here is a picture I drew of the spirit of legalism.

   
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gmik

  • Guest
Re: Legalism
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2006, 09:18:57 PM »

Hi scrybe and welcome!!!  That is an awesome picture!

Can't wait to get some word on this subject as I have pondered it also and I came out of Assemblies also.

Humans do need some structure and order-those of us that came out of Babylon are used to rules and boundaries.  I think a brand new believer with no church background or understanding have the hardest time.

Its like- Ok what do I do now????  For me I am trying to tame the beast within, and trying to walk the crucified life---others over self, helping, generosity, reading the word, prayer etc etc.  For me these new truths haven't really changed my general lifestyle, just that I quit going to church.

My son did witness to his landlord, who is gay, and his reaction was typical---Wow. cool. I am going to be saved anyway, I will keep going as always. No interest in pursuing anything spiritual, or learning more.

Maybe Joe or Bobby will have some good scripture for us!
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hillsbororiver

  • Guest
Re: Legalism
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2006, 09:32:25 PM »

I can speak from experience here, in my Catholic and SDA days as much as I would try I could not give up the anger, lusts, lies and just about anything else you can imagine, I could go a few days or weeks but I would fail and when I was able to stay true to what I thought He wanted I was really miserable, feeling like I was missing out on all the things I enjoyed and feeling frustrated for suppressing my natural instincts.

When (many years later) I discovered (was led to) Bible Truths and what His purpose really is and why I had to experience the things I did I no longer felt I had to try to do things right, I WANTED to be right with Him out of love, not fear of hell or death or anything. My motivation was to please Him because the more I learned of Him the more I loved Him. The patience and peace, the empathy for others, these things He has given me now, I am still very much a work in progress but the changes in me have prompted others to ask me what it is that has changed my viewpoints and actions so profoundly, that gives me a chance to witness for Him.

When someone is called to the Lord and seeks His wisdom they will find out (in His time) what pleases Him, if they are motivated by love, the task, while not always easy by any means becomes a joyful experience and the growth is a true miracle, it has been in my life.

Joe

 
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MG

  • Guest
Re: Legalism
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2006, 09:32:38 PM »

I don't have the gift of words and really have a hard time explaining what I believe, but I'll try.

I think that trying to be moral is following the written law. Having the fruit of the Spirit comes from being led by the Spirit.

First we have the written law. When the law came sin sprang to life.

The law is there to show us our sin and because of it sin became utterly sinful.

I can then look at my sin and try to fix myself by being moral and self righteous or I can confess my sin and agree with God that there is no good thing in me.

Romans 3:20
20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Romans 3
31Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

Romans 8
1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:


Galatians 5
18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21Envyings, 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.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.


John 8:32
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.



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MG

  • Guest
Re: Legalism
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2006, 09:48:23 PM »

I reread this thread and would like to add that the conviction of sin is still there and God doesn't lower his standards. Jesus gives the life that allows us to overcome. The law could not do that.

I also think the work of conviction is by the Holy Spirit and it is not something we can do. When the truth is presented to someone and God convicts them of sin they will either have to kill the truth or confess and repent.
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Scrybe

  • Guest
Re: Legalism
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2006, 10:24:09 PM »

I agree with all of you about keeping oneself pure.  It is all an outward flowing of Christ's grace in our lives, and He speaks to us as He changes us.  But I want to know about mentoring others.  God has used countless people in my life to bring me to where I am today.  For instance, my dad taught me about Revelations as love letter full of symbols with deeper spiritual truth.  Without that foundation I would have choked on the meat that Ray has written regarding the book.  My ex-wife taught me about thinking of others so as not to make them stumble.  (I used to be all about offending people… for God!)  My current wife has been the greatest instrument of God's grace in my life ever.  All of these people at some point brought me revelation that impacted on my behavior and helped me hear what that 'still, small voice' had been saying to me. 

So when I see a brother stumble, how do I come along side him and say, "Hey, these sins are keeping you from God." If I don't have a moral code from which to explain it.  Of course that's easy if he is stealing or committing adultery.  It's easy to show how that is violating Christ's command to love your neighbor as yourself.  But what about the shaded areas?  What about the guy who in engaged and having pre-marital sex with his fiancé? 

I'm guessing the answer lies in following the prompting of God.  If the person is not wanting to hear God it really doesn't matter what you say to them.  Maybe I just answered my own question. 
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hillsbororiver

  • Guest
Re: Legalism
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2006, 10:52:52 PM »

Scrybe,

Why do you feel the need to confront others (unbelievers) about their sins? This is the advice Peter gives us for setting an example;


1Pe 3:15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

This is a far more effective way to truly witness, I may be missing something but I am not aware of Jesus or the apostles admonishing anyone other than believers or (church) leaders about their shortcomings.

I am always open to scriptural witnesses,

Joe 
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Scrybe

  • Guest
Re: Legalism
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2006, 11:02:26 PM »

Scrybe,

Why do you feel the need to confront others (unbelievers) about their sins? This is the advice Peter gives us for setting an example;[/color]


I guess I wasn't clear enough.  I'm talking of mentoring a brother in Christ.  Not hounding unbelievers.  I ask because I have been sought out on several occasions for advice, and it was clear to me that sin was a big factor in their problems.
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hillsbororiver

  • Guest
Re: Legalism
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2006, 11:21:06 PM »

Hello again Scrybe,

Sorry for misunderstanding your question, I believe Paul speaks to this directly;


1Th 5:11  Wherefore comfort yourselves together and edify one another, even as also ye do.
 
1Th 5:12  And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you;
 
1Th 5:13  And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
 
1Th 5:14  Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

1Th 5:15  See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves and to all men.

I hope this helps a little,

Joe


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mongoose

  • Guest
Re: Legalism
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2006, 02:10:32 PM »

Great points Bobby and Joe

What was it that Christ did when these people would come to Him,Mary washing the Saviors feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair,the woman taken in adultry,the soldier who's servant was dying. He showed them compassion.When we show that compassion to those that do not beleive just imagine what the Spirit can do in and through us to those that do beleive.

This reminded me of a scripture passage that I love.

Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."  At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"  The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is[a] to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."  The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
Mark 10: 21-27


Jesus knew that this man would not follow Him, was not one of those who would right then.  Perhaps I'm wrong but I think that He knew that before the man ever said a thing.  And yet.....Jesus looked at him and loved him.  He loved the man despite the fact that He knew that the man would not do as he said.  He loved him first...and continued to love him.  It blows me away......such a powerful scripture.  He never had anything but love for the poor, lost, hurting sinners He encountered.  With them, He was so gentle and loving and taught them with such patience, even when He knew it was not yet their time.  We are commanded to walk as He walked.  I'm a simple person with a very simple understanding of God.  But of one thing I am almost always certain:  Love really is what it is all about.

mongoose
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mongoose

  • Guest
Re: Legalism
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2006, 02:24:38 PM »

Oh, I meant to add this as well.  The passage "Jesus looked at him and loved him"...applies to us as well as those who have to been shown the truth (unbelievers).  This is something that I think I have been learning lately.  How hard is it sometimes to apply the love and forgiveness that we are commanded to show for one another to ourselves.  Not to raise ourselves up or anything like that...but I struggle to forgive myself for things.  How can we deny ourselves the forgiveness that He has already given us?  It seems absurd to do that, and yet also so easy sometimes.

I wonder if that is what Paul meant when he wrote:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  
All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Philippians 3: 12-16


Forgetting what is behind (forgiving ourselves as He forgives us) and straining on towards what is ahead (seeking His kingdom and waiting in hope for the day when He will finish His work in us and we will finally be whole and home with Him), I press on....

mongoose
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