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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Legalism

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sermonindex wrote:

There truly is legalism in churches but the bigger problem right now is calling things legalism that are really only true christianity.

The bigger problem on [i][b]SI[/b][/i]??? I think not, Brother, thanks to the very nature of this site. For one thing, there are all the good teachings, for another the majority of those on this forum would come down hard on the merest suggestion of "calling things legalism that are really only true christianity"!

As you and others have just done ;-)

That's why there's need of balance, by emphasising the opposite error sometimes - in this case legalism.

As I said, in a recent post on this thread, a lot depends on where we are coming from.

2. the Standard is Christ. The only good that can come out of a human vessel is Christ Himself. Anything outside of that is human striving.

I have heard many variations on this

So you think this is untrue?

including that its legalism to try and wake up and pray and read the bible everyday. We should only try and do what when the Spirit "explicably" tells us to.

This is a caricature of what most of us believe!

We are so far from normal Christianity that any form of "discipline" amongst those of us that are called saved (by the grace of God) would be good. By our own we are not good obviously but Christ changes us to be "conformed" into His image so that we can walk more like Him. And yes that is Him working in us.. but he is changing us.

Yes He's changing us, but not to be more like Him in righteousness and good deeds. He's changing us to increasingly allow Him to live in us, so HE can do the works! Then, paradoxically, we [i]are[/i] more like Him, constantly dependant on Him as He was on the Father when He walked the earth as a man!

The difference between this and legalism is very subtle, but its also vital.

And its a million miles from living carelessly without any thought of what God requires of us.

In Him


 2008/2/3 8:05



LoveHim wrote:

...i was wondering why we are so scared of talking about good works after salvation. as if the moment we mention works, we are bombarded with the "works mentality" label and scriptures.

*did Jesus not command us to produce fruit for Him?
*were we not created in Him for good works?

then why all the fuss over good works after salvation?

Hi Phil

That isn't the point of this thread at all, as you have probably realised (I'm working my way through the thread at the moment, and no doubt that has been explained already).

I'm sure we would all agree that the Bible wouldn't be complete without [i]both[/i] the Epistle to the Galatians [i]and[/i] the Epistle of James!

*did Jesus not command us to produce fruit for Him?

*were we not created in Him for good works?

Yes we were created for good works, His, not ours!

Jesus didn't command us to produce fruit! How can you command a tree to produce fruit? It produces fruit because of its very nature. If it doesn't then its a bad tree and should be cut down, or the unfruitful branch cut off - as Jesus said!

The command was to [i]"abide in Him"[/i]. The [i]result[/i] of obeying that command is to bear fruit!

John 15:4)
[color=990000] Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: [i]He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for [b]without me ye can do nothing[/b][/i].[/color]

The branch that fails to produce fruit is condemned not because of failing to produce fruit but because of the [i]reason[/i] (not abiding in the Vine) it fails to produce fruit...

[color=990000]6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 [i][b]If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you[/b][/i][/color] [This means much more (NOT less) than just reading the Bible; mere legalism can't go beyond that!], [color=990000]ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9 ¶ As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: [i][b]continue[/b][/i][/color] [the same word as is translated "abide] [color=990000]ye [i][b]in my love[/b][/i].
10 [i][b]If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love[/b][/i].[/color]



 2008/2/3 8:30



poet wrote:
this is a quote:"our righteouness is as filthy rags"

Unless someone has the scripture for me, it is correctly quoted, from Isaiah 64:6
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our "righteousnesses" are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away...

...This is one of the most misquoted scriptures known.
If were going to be unholy, ungodly, and hipocrites, our righteousnesses, are going to be filthy rags before a holy God,,
I hope this helps..
If someone has other ideas concerning this it would be helpful. Thx.

Mmm I suppose that verse is usually quoted a bit out of context, but its true all the same, because other Scripture backs it up.

Sorry this is rather long, but you really got me thinking and looking at these passages afresh...

For example:

[b]1.[/b] (Genesis 3) why did God clothe Adam and Eve in skins, when they had already made coverings for themselves?

[b]2.[/b] What about Jeremiah calling the coming Messiah, "[i]The Lord[/i] our righteousness"? (Jer 23:6 and 33:6)

[b]3.[/b] Why did the high priest in Zechariah 3 need to have his filthy rags stripped off and new clothes put on him? Surely, as High Priest, he was trying his best to fulfil the Law?

[color=990000]And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?
3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.
4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.
5 And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.
6 And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying,
7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.[/color]

It was only [i]after[/i] he had been stripped and reclothed that the priest was able to take up his office.

Yes he was given commands to obey, but only after he had thoroughly learned the lesson that he had no righteousness of his own and could do nothing of himself!

[b]4.[/b] What about the parable of the wedding feast, (Matthew 22) where the man without a wedding garment ([b]traditionally provided by the host, if he was a rich man[/b] - and this was the King!) was cast out? Why weren't his own festive clothes good enough?
[color=990000]11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
14 For many are called, but few are chosen. [/color]

[b]5.[/b]Hebrews 4 We need to read the whole passage to get the context, as well as Numbers 13- 15, but its to do with entering the Promised Land, and that [i]unbelief[/i] - refusing to trust and obey the Lord - kept the people out.

[color=990000]9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also [i][b]hath ceased from his own works[/b][/i], as God did from his.
11 ¶ Let us labour[/color]["labour" means to hasten, be diligent, get on with it!] [color=990000]therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.[/color]

I would interpret "entering into his rest" in Hebrews as referring to the same thing as "abiding in him". By faith, not works, because Israel's failure to enter in at that time was because of unbelief (= refusing to believe the Lord, that He had given them the land. The [i]result[/i], not the cause, of this unbelief was disobedience).

In the OT, entering into rest meant, being settled, established, in case of a woman, being secure in marriage and a household of her own. Or ceasing from warfare when all the territory had been gained.

So entering into [i]His[/i] rest means trusting in Jesus' finished work, and living in the light of it. His finished work means His righteousness, His victory over Satan, and over sin and death, His obedience to the Father - obedience to the uttermost.

This is the opposite of legalism.



 2008/2/3 9:15



Mattie wrote:
Philippians 2:13 "for it is God who causes you to WILL and to DO His good pleasure"

It is God who causes us to pray in the Spirit. It is God who gives us understanding and the ability to comprehend the Scriptures. It is God who gives us His power to witness. The point I'm making in all this is that it is all a work of God through a vessel, so no flesh can glory in His presence.

It is possible to evangelize, pray 3 hours a day, read Genesis to Revelation and still be a self-centered, arrogant, wrong-spirited person.

So the issue is not the works, but what is causing us to do the works? God looks at motives and not the outward acts.

Revelations 2 - the Ephesians church had deeds, labor, patience, and tested false apostles, yet lacked the love of God behind it.

1 Corinthians 13 - it's possible to prophesy, have faith, know all the mysteries and knowledge, give to the poor and be a martyr, yet without love it's nothing.

So again.. the point is that we should not look to deeds and righteous acts to feel a sense of "righteousness" because only God in us is righteous. When it is He who causes us to will and do His good pleasure, He is fulfilling righteousness in us by the law of life. When we are striving to "appear righteous" or feel righteous by these deeds, we're under law again (the yoke of bondage) and we are estranged from Christ.

The entire book of Galatians talks about this.


Though don't forget James - works proves our faith.

Abiding in Him produces the fruit.

When He does the works through us, those works will remain

The problem is when we try to turn that principle on its head!



 2008/2/3 9:19



JesusIsMyLrd wrote:

Here's some thoughts about legalism, particularly on the subject of an ordered life (Bible reading, praying, etc.) being accused of legalism.

1. Since i eat every day, at the same time, and it's not a spiritual activity, i must be a legalist. Oh, wait, if i don't eat, i'll die.

2. Since i sleep every night and its not a spiritual thing, but a physical, i must be a legalist, because i have to DO it! Oh, wait, if i don't sleep, i'll die.

3. Since i bathe and keep clean, and would never stop doing it, and it's not a spiritual thing, but a physical, i'm must be a legalist. Oh wait, if i don't bathe.... :-?


If i say that i have to feed on the Word of God daily, or i'll die, it is just as silly for one to consider me a legalist as if they would condemn me for eating food every day...

If i say that i have to pray to my heavenly Father every day, or i'll die, it is just as silly for one to consider me a legalist as if they would condemn me for sleeping every night...


i hope that you can hear my point through the lame illustrations.

Brethren, sisters, many times we do ourselves damage, and its just what the enemy wants it, to stay away from the necessities of the Christian life: because we don't want to be legalistic.

Just because it's practical, doesn't mean its legalism.

Hey, in order to serve God, you've gotta get outta bed in the morning, RIGHT??? Is that legalism/ serving God through works instead of Christ?

Nay, but, rather, the practical outflow of God's Spirit in your life.

To seek God for service that is practical, and to keep Christ as the center, this is maintaining the Christian life, in a nutshell. Then as we are doing that, let's go out and PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE LOST AND DYING WORLD!!

Hence, my thoughts...

God richly bless all of you dear ones. i hope i don't come across as sarcastic, or harsh... that's not my heart. :-D

Highest regards and utmost respect to you all,


Hi Brother

No you don't come across as harsh or critical, just that you seem to have missed the original point a little.

[i][b]No-one[/b][/i] is saying we shouldn't do the things you mention!



 2008/2/3 9:22

 Re: Legalism vs faith

A couple of scriptures that may be relevant:

Rom 14:23 (in context of the question of food offered to idols)[color=990000][b]whatsoever is not of faith is sin[/b].[/color]

Galatians 3: (in the context of the law of Moses)[color=990000]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 [b]And the law is not of faith[/b]: 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:[/color]

Sorry to write all these posts at once, it's been my personal Bible study for today! :-D

in Him


 2008/2/3 10:07

Joined: 2004/7/23
Posts: 210


thank you people. the point of this thread is not saying that we shouldn't pray and obey, it's saying we shouldn't do it in our own strength.

I heard a preacher say once that the Christian life is an IMPOSSIBLE life to live...when it's done in your own strength. It must be a supernatural work (beyond what is natural)."

Another one said "The Christian who attempts to live the Christian life without the Christ is no more different than any other religion."

Jesus never came to start a religion where we ONLY obey rules. He came to abide and express His nature and life to man.

 2008/2/3 11:09Profile

Joined: 2004/7/23
Posts: 210


I believe one of the greatest temptations we will face EVERYDAY of our life which will be the root cause to every other temptation - is to walk in our own strength.

Satan's goal is to hinder us from letting Christ live through us. He couldn't care less if you memorize Scripture, pray and fast, preach (though these are all important). His goal is to keep the living God from doing it through you.

This is the glory of the book of Acts. The same Christ who resurrected and sat at the right hand of Majesty now lives and moves through a body of believers! This is what turned the world upside down. This is what caused men to cry out "What must I do?" It wasn't self-righteousness in the disciples, it was the living Christ through them.

We need this reality again in our day!

John tells us in 1 John that if we abide in Him, we will not sin. We in our human nature are imperfect and sinful. Yet we carry within us the Sinless Spirit of the living God - pure, holy, undefiled. If we walk in THAT life, we will not sin. If we walk in our own, we sure will.

The danger with many preachers is that whenever a believer falls, they tell that believer you need to mourn for 3 weeks, pray for hours, fast until you get mercy back from God. This is a heresy and unbiblical because no where in the New Testament do you find this. A great sermon to listen to on this topic is "Beware of Angry Watchman" by Pastor Carter Conlon

 2008/2/3 11:15Profile

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