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Therefore the moral law that God obeys must be a part of Himself.

Your eating too many Banana's or fruitloops.

 2009/11/6 23:59

Joined: 2007/9/13
Posts: 1752


truefaithsav wrote:


God did not create moral law, God revealed moral law.

So, God is not the creator of everything?


 2009/11/7 0:09Profile

Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC



God did not create moral law, God revealed moral law.

Galatians 3:19 Why the Law then? It was added...

The law was "added." We can use the word "revealed" if you prefer. But either way, it was "added" according to the apostle Paul. And it's "addition" is merely what is in keeping with what God is by nature. It was "added...because of transgressions" Paul further says in the same verse.

Romans 5:20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

At any rate, all of this is off topic. I'd like to keep to the purpose of the thread, a discussion on the difference between legalism and holiness, and what the fundamental differences between the two are. If you want to talk about the nuanced and fundamental issues of the law, do that on another thread. I might even join you. Just don't hijack this one and ruin it like you always do.

Jimmy H

 2009/11/7 0:09Profile

Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC


Earlier in this thread I believe I clearly defined what holiness in its essence is. Holiness is the issue of being by nature "other." God is "holy" not because He keeps a bunch of rules and regulations. There are no rules and regulations for God to keep. Rather, God simply acts out of His own character, and who He is. Likewise, we are holy not out of obeying a bunch of rules and regulations, rather, we are holy because God has made us such, and all that we do is to be in step with what God has made us.

Legalism is ultimately the issue of conformity to outward rules and regulations. It's not ultimately about the issues of the heart or Spirit. It's about what one does, or often more importantly, what one does not do.

Though the phrase "legalism" is never used in the Scriptures, I believe the "legalistic" mindset can be ultimately found in the mindset of Pharisaic Judaism. The Pharisees bought into a "works righteousness" mentality whereby one did or did not do certain actions in order to get and stay right with God. Righteousness was demonstrated in the strict adherence to the law of Moses. And this "strict adherence" ultimately caused them to look at every jot and tittle of the law of Moses, in order to discern how God wanted them to live. And anytime the law of Moses was a little unclear on a matter under question, Talmudic "tradition" was appealed to in order to solve these problems. (i.e. How far can one venture from their "home" on the sabbath, and what exactly constitutes one's "home"?)

After all, they just had to know right from wrong, so they could know what to do or not do, because they wanted to obtain salvation in this life and the life to come. So, these traditions of men developed in combination with the law into a very spiritually oppressive system. The Jews discerned that the Mosaic law contained 613 unique laws, and added to this law their own traditions.

Of course, when Christ came onto the scene, He utterly dismantled their understanding. He showed us that salvation was not to be found in terms of law keeping, but rather, it was found by means of entering into a new relationship with God through the new birth. Through this, Jesus taught one would naturally come to keep the demands of the law because of this new spiritual reality and inward disposition.

Yes, adding "the traditions of men" to the law of God is legalism, but such is not legalism in its essence. Legalism at its essence in attempting to secure favor and salvation from God on the basis of performance. "You have to live right to go to heaven!!!" Adding on the traditions of men, in addition to the law of God, is merely a symptom of an underlying theology that is works based, instead of grace based at its core. You would not be adding on these traditions and extra laws, unless you were trying to somehow earn your salvation. When one comes across various groups today who add on all sorts of odd rules and regulations that are not clearly taught in the Scripture, and do things like damn a woman for wearing jeans instead of a dress, discern that these teachings are usually built on a foundation of works based salvation, and are fundamentally one and the same with Pharisaic Judaism.

But when one sees salvation is received by grace through faith, and when one lives a life free from the law under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, one never feels compelled to add any more additions to the commandments of God. Indeed, why would one feel the need to add to the commandments of God when one is not living by them to begin with? Indeed, the law was never "added" to impart life, but rather, to only bring about death. Those who "live" by the law will also die by the same law. The saint of God realizes this, knowing that the law does not give life, but rather, the Spirit of God does. Never once did the law open the eyes of the blind or raise the dead, and likewise, never did adhering to it ever give man salvation. Rather, it is the Spirit of God that does these things.


A few years ago I taught the following Sunday school lesson on the issue of Biblical holiness vs. Legalism. It talks on this very issue, and expounds it in great detail. There are one or two statements I make in this lesson that I probably don't agree with anymore. But I believe you will be blessed by this lesson just the same:

Jimmy H

 2009/11/7 0:59Profile

Joined: 2006/9/13
Posts: 3168


Legalism is applying "the law" to others.

Holiness is applying "the law" to oneself.

 2009/11/7 1:02Profile

Joined: 2009/6/14
Posts: 703



HeartSong wrote:

Legalism is applying "the law" to others.

Holiness is applying "the law" to oneself.

I must disagree. Both of the above are examples of legalism. Scripture says no one has ever achieved holiness by following the law; holiness comes to us only through faith in Jesus Christ. That is why only those who are in Christ can approach our holy Father. Holiness is not based on what you do or don't do, it is based on your faith. True faith makes one holy, and no one who loves God will continue to sin.

[i]Ro 8:3-4 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

Mt 22:37-40 Jesus replied: [color=CC3300]“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”[/color][/i]

 2009/11/7 1:54Profile

Joined: 2008/10/2
Posts: 203

 Re: The Difference Between Holiness and Legalism ?

Hi Everyone,

The issue of how modesty in dress relates to holiness/legalism is an interesting one...

I would say, in regards to this, that 'being specific' about the details of how we dress may not be the problem, so much as 'being too specific'. By this, I mean that if a church were to lay out guidelines as to how all women in the church should dress, by coming up with the exact length of a dress that was considered appropriate, and by stipulating just how low a neckline should be, I believe this would represent legalism. It would be looking to 'rules' rather than 'principles', to guide us in practice and behaviour.However, being somewhat specific (as opposed to very specific
:-) ) might be necessary and valuable, in terms of healthy communication that takes place among Christians on the topic of modesty.

Just as a means of illustration, say my daughter (who is now 9) and my wife were to have a discussion about what 'modesty' was. My wife could, in general terms, describe to her that it was an attitude of the heart which motivates us to dress in ways which honour God, and which refrain from stirring up sexual desires in members of the opposite sex. However, at some point, it would be valuable for my wife and daughter to discuss some 'specifics' as to what modest dress looks like. For example, my wife might explain that dresses should have 'necklines which are not revealing'. Similarly, she might point out that 'tight fitting clothes, in general tend to draw attention to a woman's figure in a way which can be suggestive'.

Just wondering if this distinction makes sense to others; the idea that specifics are valuable in regards to discussing modesty, but being too specific, to the point where you are regulating dress accdording to man made standards, is not, and it tends to cultivate legalism.

In Jesus,

 2009/11/7 2:31Profile

Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991

 Re: The Difference Between Holiness and Legalism ?

many good definitions here, i really liked yours brother Jimmi. The question what is the difference between the two, i would answer the heart....

Two men or women can live outwardly just the same, one can go to hell the other be in Gods perfect will. Jesus never did anything that was not holy, he did much we would consider holy acts, he prayed, he fasted, he read scripture, he did not use profane language, he feeed the poor and so on.

But if we read the scriptures the Pharisees did all of those things to....

So to me, the difference is the heart, some may call someone a legalist that lives very pleasing to the Lord, and another may live exactly the same, even more "holy" life and yet be an abomination in the sight of the Lord.

I very much like a statement Keith Daniel makes in one sermon, "holiness with out Christ is heresy".

To me holiness as scripture reveals it is Jesus Christ, and the elect are being transformed into his likeness, the problem is we so often try transform people into our image and our persuasion what Christ is like. How my denomination views Christ, how i was brought up how Christ is etc.

I think this video can be good for this topic to, not just for the topic in the video but it is true for many aspects in the christian life.


 2009/11/7 2:44Profile

Joined: 2009/1/21
Posts: 1564
Locport, Illinois


for me their our certain things that professing christians that i am around do that i don't think a christian should be doing like watching the majority of television shows today like pro wrestling, those shows on lifetime, wgn, abc, mtv basically 90 percent is something i would consider unholy and even most christian channels have garbage. Almost every hollywood move should be an offense to a real christian and video games or most of them we should be avoiding, celebrating halloween, going to bars unless your going to witness, basically fulfilling the desires of the flesh, we know if we our walking in the spirit that these things we would want nothing to do with and even sports would seem pointless if we were really strong in the spirit.

John Beechy

 2009/11/7 3:22Profile

 Re: The Difference Between Holiness and Legalism ?

KJ said,

Just to add my two cents into this matter, because I think this is something often misinterpreted by almost everybody, but Christ's statement in the sermon on the mount, to "BE perfect" as our heavenly Father is, must be understood in this exact same manner as "being" holy. It's not something we strive for, rather, it is something we are to walk in, as we have been made perfect by the blood of Jesus Christ.


When I began this post, it was to add my 2 cents. It's Saturday morning, and I had time... It's a bit more than 2 cents now, but I hope in drawing scriptures together, and a few famous hymns, there is nothing controversial in what follows.

The apostle John said: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1

Percy Gutteridge, in his sermon 'Father of Lights', after showing that Adam and Eve lost the light by which they were gilded - the sign that they were created in the image of God, which made them different from animals (Rom 8:19 - 24) defines the effective working of 'the cross' in our lives as 'walking in the light'. I would agree that it is truly challenging to sin and the flesh, to 'walk in the light, as He is in the light'.

So... in defining 'holiness', it cannot be removed from the washing of the blood of Christ, which can occur only as we walk in the light [u]as He is in the light[/u], (where 'as' = in the same way as; for, if one reads 'as' = because, one is saying that the condition of [u]my[/u]
being cleansed by the blood effectually, rests upon [i]Christ's[/i] continuing to walk in the light). That would be nonsense both grammatically and theologically! If 'I' am to be 'holy', then [b][i]I[/i][/b] have to walk in light!

[u]My choice[/u] to walk in the light, is what [u]sets me apart[/u] unto God; that setting apart, is the Old Testament / Old Covenant definition of holiness, long before the [u]in[/u]dwelling of the Spirit of holiness was available to mankind.

In respect to 'the spirit of holiness', (Rom 1:4), we cannot begin to claim it, unless we have previously laid claim to have died in Christ, and are now being raised to life with Him. (Rom 6:4; Eph 1:20; Eph 2:5, 6)

If our 'holiness' is not as a result of having agreed with God to set ourselves apart unto Him, and to walk in Christ, the Way, then we are not correctly reading His definition as it is in the historical revealation of scripture. (Eph 5:13)

19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. John 3

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen [it], and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1

[i]'... O how shall I, whose native sphere
Is dark, whose mind is dim,
Before the Ineffable appear,
And on my naked spirit bear
That uncreated beam?

There is a way for man to rise
To that sublime abode:
[b]An offering and a sacrifice,
A Holy Spirit’s energies,
An Advocate with God.

These, these prepare us for the sight
Of holiness above;[/b]
The sons of ignorance and night,
May dwell in the eternal Light,
Through the eternal Love.

[url=]Eternal Light! Eternal Light![/url]

The Bride eyes not her garment, but her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory but on my King of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth but on His piercèd hand;
The Lamb is all the glory of Immanuel’s land.

[url=]The sands of time are sinking, second last verse[/url]

Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou,
That every knee to Thee should bow!

[url=][/i]Thou art the everlasting Word[i] - Tune: Supremacy[/url][/i]

Regarding legalism, there are many in churches who have an outward show of holiness. They apply a discipline to what can be seen of their outwards lives. I did this for many years, not knowing what was wrong with my [u]in[/u]side.

In itself, discipline is not wrong. A disciple with no discipline is no disciple, after all!

However, by what is a disciple of Christ supposed to be disciplining himself?

Is it not this - the putting on of the new man? The putting off of the old man? The laying aside the things listed by Paul and Peter (mainly), when they are comparing 'holy' conversation with ungodly living?

There is also, linked to Paul's thesis about being raised in Christ, the effectual working of the grace of God through His Spirit, which [i][b]enables[/i][/b] us (who believe in Christ Rom 2:29), to be different from Rom 10:4, and from 2 Tim 3:1 - 7, and from 2 Pet 2:1 - 3.

For instance, compare Paul's testimonies here: Gal 1:13 (remembering that until Acts 10, all Christians were previously Jewish) and, Eph 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. (See again Eph 1:19.)

This is Peter's testimony also: 2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [i]pertain[/i] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, [b]having [u]escaped[/u] the corruption that is in the world through lust[/b].

Are we on the run from [i]sin[/i]?

Where to? Our own devices, or, Christ?

[i]By the cross of Jesus standing,
Love our straitened souls expanding,
Taste we now the peace and grace!
Health from yonder tree is flowing,
Heav'nly light is on it glowing,
From the blessed Sufferer's face.

Here is pardon's pledge and token,
Guilt's strong chain forever broken,
Righteous peace securely made;
Brightens now the brow once shaded,
Freshens now the face once faded,
Peace with God now makes us glad.

All the love of God is yonder,
Love above all thought and wonder,
Perfect love that casts out fear!
Strength, like dew, is here distilling,
Glorious life our souls is filling,
Life eternal, only here!

Here the living water welleth;
Here the Rock, now smitten, telleth
Of salvation freely given:
This the fount of love and pity,
This the pathway to the city,
This the very gate of Heaven.

Horatius Bonar[/i]

 2009/11/7 6:05

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