Legalism or obeying His word?

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by followerofchrist72, Feb 12, 2016.

  1. It has been quite a while since I have been in this forum.

    I had a few questions that I wanted to ask to see what kind of responses I get. My question is concerning the Law/Commandments of God. Churches teach we are under Grace.

    First question is are we to follow the Law/Commandments of God.

    Second question is what is the definition of Sin?

    Third question is, what does it mean to repent from Sins?

    Last question is why is repentance taught by Jesus if we are under Grace...?
  2. Awesome!!! So let's go! :)

    #1 Not an easy question to answer so bare with me. Yes and no. In Jesus we died with Him on the cross and rose with Him from the dead to live as He is. As Paul said, if you're dead, how can you be subject to the law. BUT we have to still be holy for He is holy. So if we walk in His steps, we won't sin. The law was given to arrogant men who said they could keep God's law. Before that time they lived in Grace. No one died. As soon as they said they could keep the law, they broke the first commandment, built a golden calf and 3000 died.

    #2 Sin literally means "to miss the mark". Yes, like in archery. God wants us on the straight and narrow, even before the law. He wants us to trust Him and proof of that trust is obedience without question. God says don't have sex with someone not your spouse. People run around and catch diseases or gets pregnant without the means to support the child. Is God's requirement to keep ourselves pure a punishment or a guide to keeping us safe?

    #3 Repent literally mean "to change one's mind". You learn the truth about laws, like gravity. For instance, say you're a kid and you fall and break your arm. You learned the hard way that jumping from limb to limb in a tree and you miss (sin) you fall and pay the price (gravity), consequences, broken arm. To repent is to stop jumping from limb to limb without protection. If you learn the truth, you turn away from your wrong actions, that is repentance.

    #4 Grace is unmerited favor. That means you can DO nothing to EARN it. We are still to be holy for God is holy. We still need to learn God's ways. Once we do, we repent of our ways and obey Him. Unrepented sin causes physical damage to our bodies and our relationship with God. If I have a child that is good to others, works hard in school or work, and they do things for me (cut the grass without being told), am I more likely to hear their requests than a child that's flunking classes, refuses to clean their room, give their parents any respect and ignores their laws. We are saved by grace through faith and not of ourselves. But we still have unsaved bodies and corrupted free will - the old man. Repentance is a requirement until the corruption is given incorruptible. When we repent, He is faithful to forgive us of our sins. Humility and praise and worship required.

    Anything else, ask away :)
    Ravindran, JG27_chili, Euphemia and 1 other person say Amen and like this.
  3. P.S. Legalism is man's attempt to be holy. Which leads to death. Man's attempt to earn God's grace. Legalist lack love for others and themselves... I know... I used to be chief legalist. I have a degree and all :sneaky: :whistle: :cool:
    Euphemia likes this.
  4. I would like to add a little to Abdicate’s post.

    First of all, regarding the Law:

    The Law was to teach us how to be Holy, not to save us.

    If I may, I would like to use the analogy of teaching my sons to be upstanding, 'good' men.

    When they were young, their mother and I gave them rules so that they could learn how to act properly. Some rules were just to keep them safe, and changed as they grew into men (when they were young, they had to hold one of our hands to cross the road). Some rules were because that is proper action, and these became stricter as they aged and could be expected to understand more (tell the truth, became do not even mislead).

    Now that they are adult men, it makes no sense to have them hold out hands to cross the road (other than for togetherness). But it is as necessary as ever for them to be truthful. So, in that sense, the rules remain. But hopefully, they have the nature of the rules placed into their heart so that when new situations come around that were never covered by any explicit rule, they can choose rightly because they have learned to recognize rightness, not just realized that their back-sides are not longer at risk for choosing wrongly.

    The Law was, and is, very much like this. Its purpose was, and is, to teach us to be upright persons. But it also teaches us that we are not perfect because, when we begin to understand righteousness, we realize that we can’t attain that, since it would require making the correct choice at all times. So the secondary purpose of the Law was and is to highlight our sin and make it visible to ourselves so we may be aware of our need. Even under grace, the 10 Commandments as well as other parts of the Law are still applicable.

    You asked for a definition of sin. I will define it as any act contrary to the will of the Holy God. It does not matter if it violates one of the Ten Commandments, or another requirement of God’s Law, or something not expressly covered, but contrary to God’s will. It can occur purely in our thoughts if we willfully harbor thoughts that are contrary to God’s will.

    Grace, is an attribute of God and His provision for us. Without Grace, A Holy God could not have fellowship with sinful people. We are under God’s grace, by the blood of Christ.

    Repentance is acknowledging the sinful nature of our actions, regretting their occurrence, and desiring to live a righteous (sin-free) life. As sons of Adam, we will never attain sin-free life for any period of time, but it is the true desire that is repentance.

    Repentance is necessary to receive the Grace of God. When a non-Christian first acknowledges his sin and his need for Christ, his sin is covered by the blood of Christ’s sacrifice.

    When sin creeps into the life of a Christian, repentance allows the Holy Spirit to strengthen him to better withstand the temptations in this life.
  5. 1. Yes. God does not change. If something upset Him OT, it still upsets Him. We just need to be mindful of moral, ceremonial and civil laws.

    2. I don't like the definition ''to miss the mark'' at all. As in the OT there were sinners in Hades and sinners in AB. So clearly not all with sin missed the mark. I would say it is to defy God. It can also be defined as to do what is evil or something from hatred. As God is good and love.

    3. When we hate sin, we repent. Sincere repentence has meaning as we will see the fruit of it. Magical words have no meaning.

    4. We are only under grace after we are saved. We are only saved because our repentance is at a depth of intent that God notices.
  6. Would you say Arminianism is legalism?
  7. Hi.
    1. We are not to follow the letter of the law, but like Jesus, the spirit of the law. We have to know what the law was intended to do. Galatians 3:24, Paul calls the law a tutor for us. It was to teach us what sin was, what we should not do.

    2. Sin is what we should not do. Jesus said all the law hangs on Love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and Love your neighbor as yourself. So sin's definition must be anything which goes against love of God and/or love of neighbor. Also anything not of faith is sin, Paul says in Romans.

    3. To repent means to recognize sin and desire to change from it. To change from hate and apathy and embrace love.

    4. If we don't desire to change from sin, then we can't receive the grace. Grace could be falling from the sky like rain, but if you have your sin umbrella the grace can't soak you.
  8. When I expanded the concept of "God's dominion" and the question of our part within it to encompass everything - not just the "Churchy" stuff - it seemed to resolve a lot of these sort of questions for me.....

    For example... God's "Ministry" or "Service" for you is whatever it is... It may be "Churchy" stuff like leading a bible study or preaching to a congregation.. It may be "Worldly stuff" like simply running a business, raising your children, participating in civil government, etc.... The hard part (to me at least) is accepting that this "Worldly stuff" is just as valid of a "Service to God" as the "Churchy stuff"....

    Within this context - the concept of "Sin" as simply "Mistake" or "missing the mark" makes a whole lot more sense.... There's God's perfect will for a situation, God's permissive will for a situation, and complete error...

    This made a whole lot more sense to me as I studied Saul and David, and then Joseph..... when I realized that their "Ministry to God" was them simply taking THEIR responsibility seriously.... Realizing that their "Day job" was actually their MINISTRY to God and that they needed to treat it as such..... Interestingly, within this light - it makes much of the guidance given in The Law make much mores sense....

    For example - if God has set you out as a business man... and HE shows you His hand in your business.. Treat aligning your business with God's hand as your ministry... Understand that God has already provided significant guidance so far as nuts and bolts... Pay your people honestly and timely... Do not participate in financial shenanigans... Treat your workers, customers, and suppliers well, don't "Lord over" people... Practice servant management... Etc.. Treat the business as your service to God.... God will bless you as the blessings also flow to your customers, suppliers, and employees.... Within this context - treating the business as a vehicle to "Harvest" or "Mine" wealth out of or lord power over your employees, customers, and suppliers is thus an ERROR... Missing the mark... - a "Sin" so to speak.... and the consequence is that God's blessings may stop flowing all the way around - to you and to others around you.... These are the consequences of this "Error".... "Repentance" is thus learning from the mistake - turning around and doing the "Right thing"...

    Said another way - because you love your employees, customers, and suppliers (Because Jesus first loved You) - you don't want to cast them into chaos, frustration, pain, or personal problems... As such - you realize that God has provided some guidance into the situation at hand within the scriptures that will further this end.. The Holy Spirit also provides specific situational guidance relevant to the specific things at hand.... 99.9% of the time - these people will never realize that you are being faithful to God in your dealings as a "Service to God" rather than just "Being a nice guy" or "A good businessman" or whatever....

    Through Grace - Jesus' blood pays the "Spiritual" consequence of these mistakes towards God's plan for your life.... There may well be physical and emotional consequences - frustration, anger, sickness, chaos/pain, family issues, loss of resources, wealth, opportunities, etc... but we are not shut out of Salvation because of it..

    Notice how Legalism is totally different than this... Legalism is generally performance vs an objective standard without regard to God's plan or God's hand upon the situation... Ironically - the following of the rules for the rules sake often blocks God's blessings and God's hand upon the situation and casts people into frustration, chaos, and pain....

    KingJ and Big Moose say Amen and like this.
  9. What is '"Legalism"? We really need to define the term we are discussing. I did not read the entirety of the previous posts so if I repeat something someone else said ; my apologies in advance.

    "Legalism" is often thought of as a strict adherence of God's law; which though this appears to be the issue on the surface it is not: IF we are God's child and not rebelling, we have no problem following God's law; after all the law was made to correct the sinners and unrighteous (oh wait-that's US!. Therefore we NEED a Savior.)

    One of the main problems I see in 'westernized Christianity'; we have allowed this idea of "ultra-grace" to take over and create this "relevant", "contemporary" church which is largely at odds with God's Word. And this ultra-grace mentality has driven the idea that "legalism" is the strict adherence to God's Word which if I am correct; I am pretty sure that there is NO WHERE in the Bible that says NOT following God's Word is a acceptable.

    There is nothing wrong with adhering to God's Law.

    So what is "Legalism"? Legalism should be defined as: only a person who strictly adheres to God's law at all times is allowed into heaven/ eternal life / everlasting life/ New Earth / New Jerusalem. If a person strays from the law they are condemned.

    Well if this definition of legalism is true; then we are all condemned to hell no matter what we do. See the Pharisees were 'Legalists' professing themselves to be wise and above reproach because they outwardly followed the law and kept up appearances and condemned any that did not live up to their 'legal' standard. They viewed the regular populace as unworthy. And Christ taught us that even thinking something against God's law is sin.

    We have a Savior full of Truth (law) AND Grace (Love/ Charity); we need both the law to teach us and the grace to correct us without condemnation. The "legalism" argument is yet another distraction tactic to divide the church and it has done a marvelous job.

    Moses gave us the "letter of the law"
    Jesus gave us the "Spirit of the law"

    Yes: we need to have grace.
    Yes: we need to have Truth.
    Like Jesus.

    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?

    For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

    And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

    Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth

    What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

    Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

    If ye love me, keep my commandments. Jesus Christ

    This is a 'free-will' choice of the heart....
    Ravindran and Big Moose say Amen and like this.
  10. I think we also have to define what laws this legalism is attached to. Legalism of the Ten Commandments is not like legalism of the other laws. It would be difficult to find a situation in which strict adherence to the Ten Commandments would be wrong. The Sabbath may be the only one, and that would be by a misinterpretation of definition of what constitutes holy.
    Some of the other laws were given because man needed them, not because God intended them as universal.
  11. When I think of the word legalism, I think of these verses:

    2 Corinthians 3:6 (KJV)
    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.​

    Hebrews 8:6 (KJV)
    But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.​

    Romans 7:6 (KJV)
    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 8:7 (KJV)
    Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.​

    So what do I get from all these? I think of my oldest son when he was being potty trained. One day, I noticed him playing with his siblings and he stopped, got up, went to the bathroom, did his business, flushed the toilet, washed his hands and went back to playing, all without him noticing me watching. It brought great joy to me!

    He followed the "law" his mother and I set up, which was for his good. This is what God did for us. We didn't want him sitting in his filth. If he hadn't washed his hands I would have said something, but I didn't have to. He completed the law perfectly. My son didn't grumble or complain our law was too hard, he just did it. Jesus came and fulfilled he law and through Him we too have been counted with Him on the cross and in the grave and raised from the dead.

    Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
    I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.​

    Before Christ's actions, we were bound, prisoners of sin. After Christ's actions, we are righteous by Him, Rom 3:25;

    Romans 10:4 (KJV)
    For Christ [is] the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.​

    So as in like my son, can he return to sitting in his filth? Not wash his hands? Rom 6:1 NO!

    Romans 6:2 (KJV)
    God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?​

    Legalists want to put us back under the harshness of the law, and grace-only wants us to do whatever we want without consequences. Both are extremes and without merit. We are to be holy as Jesus is holy. The Law is the ministry of death, 2 Cor 3:7.

    Romans 2:13-15 (KJV)
    (For not the hearers of the law [are] just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 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: Which shew 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; )
    Our new ministry is reconciliation!

    2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (KJV)
    Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. ​
  12. P.S. In the multitude of my words, I missed my point :(

    The law says "Thou shalt not kill", and in my heart before Christ, I hated a guy. But the grace and love of Jesus in me now says, "I don't hate, but I have compassion for a guy because they are lost and in ignorance of God's love." That's the difference in legalists. They do it because it's demanded of them even when they don't want to, so they conceal their sin, Pro 28:13, while judging others. We do it because we love to obey God and because we can. :)
    Big Moose likes this.
  13. Legalism is a matter of the heart. Equating legalism with the pursuit of godliness and obedience to Gods Law is wrong. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus FOR good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10.. Legalism is pursuing good works or obedience to Gods law or commands with the INTENTION of earning or meriting Gods favor in ANY form!! Whether it's to be justified for salvation or certain carnal "blessings" done for selfish reasons.. Paul said the law is holy, just and good.. Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin.. Romans7 12-13... So the law exposes our nakedness and wretched self. Our guilt and inability to please God! And by grace, it brings a believer to submit in humility, to the righteousness of God in Christ. The righteousness of faith! "So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.. Romans7:25.. The fruit of salvation or new birth of being made alive in Christ, is righteousness and obedience to Gods holy law done in faith! Faith is the vehicle or means of obedience in Christ. It is faith resting fully upon the grace of Christ and His merits Alone. The grounds by which believers rest in, is the righteousness of Christ, which is by the Spirit, Christ in us!! This alone MOTIVATES good works. Our hope is in the mercy and merits of Christ Alone! Which brings love for Gods truth, via new birth. On the other hand, if one is motivated by self gain or thought of self gain through obedience to Gods Law or the pursuit of "blessings", then it's done out of the hope of merit, so therefore shows their self righteousness, pride and lack of faith.. And done in ignorance of the righteousness of God that brings life. And this void of FAITH, is the legalism that we talk about. So this person is yet still dead in their sin!
  14. Yes!!! Because it denies Gods grace in salvation and deifies man
  15. Many people these days teach God's grace as though it is a free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. God's grace in saving us from sin, though, was not just so we could escape the fires of hell and so we could go to heaven when we die. Titus 2:11-14 says: "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works."

    True grace delivers out of bondage (slavery) to sin and frees us to live to righteousness. When we were under slavery to sin, we were free from the control of righteousness. It is not true grace if it leaves us still bound in sin, wandering and still going our own way. Peter said Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Salvation means we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are resurrected with Christ in newness of life, "created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." We are called to be holy, to be separate from the world of sin because we are being conformed into Christ's likeness. Holiness is not legalism. And, it isn't works-based salvation. Jesus died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to our sinful flesh, but who walk according to the Spirit. If we walk according to our flesh, we will die, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (See: Ro. 8:1-14).
  16. #16 Nanon, Feb 27, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016
    A proper teaching of what it means to be under grace
    focuses on 'walking in the Spirit', by faith. When a
    person is truly regenerated, they do not desire the
    sinful things that drove them prior to being born again.
    Though they may struggle a bit on a few sins, they
    hate it, and long to be free from it. It's a red flag if
    a person feels they have to fight hard against sin.
    The reality is, those who walk by the Spirit are led out
    of the bondage of sin, because a new nature is in
    operation. It's the Spirit's job to save, and keep those
    born of Him.

    (Please see 2 Cor. 5:17 and Galatians 5:16)
  17. I once had a conversation with a man who believed that a man HAD to have a beard...that it was a requirement of God to be accepted by God. I told him that is why I viewed him to be a legalist. This shocked him and he asked why. I asked him to show me a Scripture that proved that having a beard was a universal principle for all men everywhere to be accepted by God. He couldn't. I told him THAT is why. When the traditions and practices of men are exalted to doctrine...that is legalism. Telling Gentiles that they HAD to be circumcised and become Jewish FIRST before they could be a follower of Christ....THAT is legalism.
  18. It's a loaded question! Legalism is way beyond compared to Arminian beliefs. They are no way closer IMO
  19. Lovely summary! (y)
    Abdicate likes this.
  20. Good post to come back! :D

    1) I look at law and commandments as mirror. They were put in place to show the filth. It was not designed to clean the filth, only point to it. When we are washed in His blood, the filth is removed. The mirror will continue to show the transformation of us into image of God. It continues to show the perfect image we are to become. Like Abdicate said, not easy to say yes or no. The answer would be yes which lot of disclaimers!
    2) I agree with the previous responses. Sin is missing the mark.
    3) My pastor served in military and he always goes back to military when talking about repentance. When a soldier is marching on one direction, repent would be about stopping and making about turn and marching in opposite direction. It does not stop with just stopping the march. Does not stop with making about turn. But ends with marching in opposite direction. It is true it is change in one's mind. But the important thing to understand is, it is simply not change in mindset.
    4) Nothing much to add than what everyone else has said already
    Big Moose likes this.

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