Allegiance, License, and Legalism

This is a shorter than usual outline for Sunday morning, but if you would like to read more you can go to Fire and Hammer, and read the whole article.

Allegiance, License, and Legalism

Matthew 5:17-20

I. We must put on a DEFINITE SPIRITUAL ALLEGIANCE to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus continues, then, by saying, “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (NKJV).

II. Is there a license [Freedom] to sin???? There is no such license.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV).

III. Do what they teach but do not follow their works – “All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say and do not” Matthew 23:3.

IV. The only license we have from God is the freedom to live for Him, glorify His name and prove to all that there is power in the blood, and that fulfills the law.

“He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God” Micah 6:8

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Christians Conduct

Our Deportment

Colossians 4:5-6

The word “Walk” has to do with one’s conduct or deportment (behavior). On grade cards teachers use to grade their students on their “Deportment”. I wonder if that is still there? If it is I wonder how many would get a passing grade? When it comes to Christian deportment how many of us would get a passing grade?

When it comes to Christian conduct Paul likens it to a “Walk”. It has to do with the way we live. All of us have “Deportment”, but of what kind is it? He gives the church of Colossae some guidance and instruction concerning their deportment.

Proposed OUTLINE:

I. WALK IN WISDOM (v.5).
II. REMEMBER OTHERS WHO ARE NOT CHRISTIANS ARE WATCHING YOU (v. 5).
III. MAKING GOOD USE OF THE TIME GOD HAS GIVEN YOU (v. 5).
IV. SPEAK WITH GRACE FROM YOUR HEART (v. 6).
V. LET THERE BE SEASONED SALT IN YOUR WORDS (v. 6).
VI. KNOW HOW TO GIVE AN ANSWER TO EVERY ONE (v. 6).

WALK IN WISDOM (v. 5).

Far too many times those who profess Christ as their Lord and Savior walk as fools and not as those who have godly wisdom. There are several ways we can walk foolishly. One of those ways is by seeking financial gain feverishly, ie., as a main goal for living. Like material/financial gain was all there was to live for, rather than Christ, His glory, and His will. Greed, nor coveting are expressions of faith, but rather of unbelief.

Another way of walking foolishly is by living in legalism. Legalism is trusting in your good deeds, behavior, works as the means of gaining God’s favor, rather than trusting that you have already gained God’s favor. The Christian who is living legalistically also finds fault, very quickly, with those they see sins within. They will be quick to judge someone that is poor as being lazy. They will judge harshly anyone who does not live up to their standard, whether it is based on Biblical law or their own. Legalism requires that you live by this standard, this law, or you are not saved, and you will not make.

Jealousy and selfish ambition comes in when Christians are not walking wisely. Brothers or sisters in Christ are blessed, and jealousy creeps in. The desire to improve one’s job situation at the expense of someone else shows the foolishness as well.

According to John MacArthur’s New Testament Commentary for Colossians there are four sources for wisdom.

“First, worship: ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding’ (Prov. 9:10). Second, prayer: ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him’ (James1:5). Third, Bible study: ‘Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, and with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another’ (Col. 3:16). Fourth, godly instruction: ‘And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ’ (Col. 1:28). It is only through walking in wisdom that believer’s words will mean anything…” pg. 186. THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY of Colossians and Philemon.

REMEMBER THOSE WHO ARE WATCHING YOU (v. 5).

How we speak and how we live should match up with one another; and not be poles apart. That equals hypocrisy. When we mention the change Jesus Christ makes in one’s life it better show in you and me. Is there anything in your life that does and would cause others to question your testimony of Christ’s change of your life?

The “Walk of wisdom” which we walk better show godly wisdom and not foolishness. We all stumble, and when we are genuinely saved we get back up and go again. Others will see our faith in that as well as the other things we say and do.

MAKE GOOD USE OF THE TIME GOD HAS GIVEN US (v. 5).

One of the Psalms which Moses wrote says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). We need to live as though today was our last day on earth. Not with fear, anxiety, or grasping for what the unredeemed would claim to be “Living”, but with peace, contentment, joy, love for others, seeking to tell all we can about the love of God in Christ Jesus, and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus – the personification of that love of God.

How many hours do we waste doing television viewing, and waste the opportunities which God has given to witness, and possibly win a lost soul to Christ.

Wasted opportunities where you were sitting on a bench resting from a walk and a man with a very troubled look on his face and in his eyes comes and sits near you. Do you start a conversation with him and tell him of God’s grace, God’s love? Do you just sit there, then, leave in a few minutes without a word of God? I do not think I can remember the opportunities I have walked away from without a word of God to them. There have been some I have been faithful in, never saw a change in that person, but God’s Word will not return to Him void.

SPEAK WITH GRACE SEASONED WITH SALT (v. 6).

One of my favorite topics to talk about is grace – God’s grace to be more specific. There is no other grace that compares to God’s. His grace is amazing. His grace is miraculous. His grace is marvelous. His grace is heavenly. His grace is graceful. His grace is abundant. His grace is overflowing. His grace is powerful. His grace is earth shattering. His grace is glorious. His grace is cleansing. His grace is righteous. His grace is awesome. His grace is beautiful. His grace is for all who believe. His grace is forgiving His grace breaks the bondage of hell.

Speaking with Grace also means being gracious in our speech toward others. Having a good attitude toward them. When we are addressing a condemned person we must speak with love in our hearts. The grace of God is bountiful, and every lost individual must see grace in our speech.

When we season food with salt we are adding flavor to the food. Salt added to an open sore will be painful, and it will sting, but it does a work of cleansing and healing. What is needed in our speech to the unredeemed people we speak to is to show the love of God in the way we speak to them. Not making ourselves better than they are, but helping them see, that we are “Better off” than they are. They must see, first of all, that we really believe what we are speaking to them. If they sense in us that we do not really believe it there is no way they will, unless it is purely a divine act of the Holy Spirit alone. Of course, salvation is by God alone, but He does use redeemed vessels to reach others. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has its own flavoring. It is quite pleasing to the spiritual senses.

Salt is not only a seasoning, but also a cleansing/healing agent, and when put on an open wound will cause great pain. Sometimes pain is needed to get someone to come to God by way of the cross of Jesus. The truth of God’s law will cut to the quick of the unbeliever, and when that is done the Holy Spirit can use that to open the eyes of the lost, and bring them to Jesus.

BE ABLE TO GIVE AN ANSWER TO ALL WHO ASK (v. 6).

In 1 Peter 3:15 Peter wrote by the Spirit of God, “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…”. How you respond when someone asks you, “Why do you believe in Jesus?” is as important as telling them about Jesus. You need an answer for that. How would you answer it?

It needs explained to these individuals that you believe because He is God, who became flesh, and gave His life as payment for our sin. He arose from the grave three days later proving beyond all doubt that He is the risen, glorified, Savior of mankind, and Son of God. That, everything this man Jesus said is true, beyond all doubt, and what has not yet been fulfilled; will be fulfilled in God’s own timing.

We ought always to speak the name of Jesus with awe, respect, and love. Why do I believe in Jesus? I believe because He died for me. He took my sins upon Himself, and was fully judged by God the Father in my place. He died carrying my sins away. He rose from death, and due to that victory I too will live eternally with Him. Why do I believe in Jesus – why do I trust Him completely? He is God, who became flesh, to die for me, and rise again. He is also returning for me, and for all who have trusted in Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Law, the Warfare, and the Victory

THE LAW, THE WARFARE, AND THE VICTORY

Romans 7:1-25

OUTLINE –

I. THE AUTHORITY OF THE LAW (vv. 1-6).
II. THE MINISTRY OF THE LAW (vv. 7-13).
III. THE INABILITY OF THE LAW (vv. 14-25).

In the book of Romans Paul speaks much about the law. The same continues to be true in chapter seven.

Those who believe that by keeping the law one can attain God’s favor are “Legalists”. A “Legalist” has a set of do’s and don’ts that he/she tries to maintain, and more often expects others to maintain. Instead of obtaining God’s favor, however, she/he obtains her/his own and becomes condemning to others who do not meet their standards. The “Legalist” also soon discovers some things about himself which they may or may not confess.

The Christian is not under the ‘dominion’ or rule of the law; he/she is under grace. The ‘Old law’ was written in stone. The new becomes new, now, and only because it is written in our hearts. It is no longer an obligation, duty, nor means of gaining God’s pleasure, but longing desire, and pleasure of the Christian.

THE AUTHORITY OF THE LAW (vv. 1 – 6).

“To be under the law means that I must do something for God; to be under grace means that God does something for me.”

The laws authority is over us only so long as we are unredeemed, and it is condemning us. The unredeemed man is still totally self-ruled, and the law does hold him/her in its dominion.

Paul uses an illustration of this in marriage. According to the law, when a woman is married; and this applies to men too; to a husband – or a man to wife – she/he is bound to their spouse as long as the spouse lives. If they marry someone else while the spouse is still living the man or woman commits adultery. If the spouse dies they are no longer married, and are free to marry another. Paul is not addressing the issue of divorce and/or remarriage; he is using a known and familiar law to illustrate the authority of the law.

Notice, that, nowhere does Paul say that the law is dead. Instead, he writes, “Ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ.” No longer are we under the dominion – the rule, and condemnation – of the law, but under the majestic love and grace of Almighty God; Jesus Christ having lived in complete obedience to the demands of the law, and met the requirements of the law in His death on the cross. On the cross all the demands of holy God to redeem fallen mankind was finished.

Believing Jesus Christ, trusting Him we are born again. We have received a ‘New Spirit’. It is not the spirit of man, but the Spirit of God, and He revives or resurrects our spirit and empowers and enables us to walk in the Spirit, rather than trying to please God through obedience to the law.

THE MINISTRY OF THE LAW (vv. 7 – 13).

Some might think that if God never gave any laws we all would be better off. However, we would not know sin, unless there is law. The law was given for the benefit of mankind, not to harm us. Without law we would still be condemned, separated from God, and miserable.

Is the law sin? Paul writes, “God forbid”, “By no means”. Before Paul trusted Jesus he believed he was blameless before the law. He knew the words of the law forwards and backwards, and believed himself right with God, because he ‘Kept the law’ – outwardly.

The law causes sin to come into the open. It opens eyes to see how far we are from God’s expectations. Sin even increases with the law. As human beings we do not like rules and regulations; so when we know of a law instead of obeying it we see if we can get away with disobedience. Doing so increases the condemnation of the law.

The ministry of the law, then, is to show us that we are sinners; we are condemned, and fall far short of God’s expectations. When sin becomes sinful to us, then, the law has done its work.

THE INABILITY OF THE LAW (vv. 14 – 25).

Sin is enjoyed by the unredeemed. They enjoy their ‘freedom’ of living without realizing their actual blindness and bondage. They can enjoy sin until the law of God awakens them to their plight.

Even Paul enjoyed the life of a Pharisee. As a Pharisee he enjoyed the honor and respect given him by people. His ego was really sailing, because he knew the law. He prided himself in his ability to be ‘Pleasing to God’ by keeping the law.

Remember the law is good and holy. It does not cause sin, but neither can it deliver the sinner from sin.

When a person becomes a believer something amazing takes place. This redeemed individual receives a desire to walk with God – in agreement with Him. He no longer desires his own selfish way, but God’s way. He realizes that he cannot please God by doing, but only by believing.

With this reborn person a war, a struggle, if you will begins also. Although no longer under the dominion of the law the body of flesh desires sin while the mind – the will – desires God. The things my mind wants to do for God, I do not do. The things I do not want to do that are displeasing to God, I do. This struggle was not there before a person is redeemed. This is clearly a reference to a redeemed individual. She/he has a desire for what is godly, holy, and good. She/he has the desire to shun all that is evil. These are not in the life of the unredeemed.

This brings us to realize that the law is unable to redeem us; it only condemns us.

Who can deliver us from this struggle? Like Paul, “Thank God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Matter of Liberty

These are thoughts from a sermon I preached on February 07, 2016 at Shiloah Baptist Church of Jenkins, Missouri.

Galations 1:1-2:10

Explain the true Gospel of Jesus Christ as given by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

On the matter of “…or an angel” (1:8) Mohammed – saw an angel he called “Gabriel”, and he spoke of perverted scripture  570 A.D. at the age of 40.

Joseph Smith saw an angel (Moroni), was shown some “golden plates” and wrote from those plates “The Book of Mormon”

Both of those angels taught another gospel, another Jesus, and speak ill, evil of the cross of Jesus Christ the Son of God and God the Son.

Any religion which adds a work – baptism [sacraments], communion, circumcision, keeping the Sabbath day, any of the holy days, etc. – in order to be saved perverts the grace of God.  It is legalism not grace.

This freedom, this liberty we have in Jesus Christ is unbound.  We have no freedom or license to sin; we do have freedom from sins bondage.  We are free to live for God apart from sin.  There is no living for God in sin.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

How Should Any be Just with God?

How Should Any be Just with God?

Job 9:1-35

1.  The legalism of Bildad;
a.  This is the judgment of God (8:1-7);
b.  Look at the issues of past history (8:8-10);
c.  Look at the evidence of nature (8:11-22).

2.  Job’s questions;
a.  How can I be just/righteous with God? (v. 2)
b.  How can stand before God in debate? (v. 3)
c.  In chapter 10 he asks, “Why was I even born?”

I.  JOB’S CONCLUSION IS THAT DEBATING WITH GOD IS FUTILE (v. 3).

II.  THE GOD OF CREATION IS UNAPPROACHABLE BY MAN ALONE (vv.  4-15).

III.  BEFORE GOD EVERY MOUTH WILL BE STOPPED/EVERY MAN CONDEMNED AS A LIAR (vv. 16-21; Romans 3:4).

IV.  WITHOUT A REDEEMER WE ALL STAND GUILTY BEFORE GOD (vv. 22-31).

V.  JOB AND ALL MANKIND NEEDS A MEDIATOR BETWEEN OURSELVES AND GOD (vv. 32-35).

Application –

i.  Mankind in his pride, religion, moral goodness cannot stand before the just, righteous and holy GOD;
ii.  As far as we are concerned He is unapproachable, because of His purity; and our impurity;
iii.  All the accusations of mankind will be stopped and we shall be accounted as liars;
iv.  However, there is a redeemer; He too is just, righteous, and holy;  He is GOD; our “daysman” – Mediator;  His name is Jesus.

-TA.

This sermon was preached in the Sunday morning worship 07/24/11

Legalism and Life

Legalism and Life

For the past four articles I have written on the matter of legalism, and that will be so of this article as well. This will be the final one on this matter.

Just what is legalism. It is the adding of requirements to grace for the matter of salvation. Grace becomes no more grace (Romans 11:6). When someone tells you that the way of salvation is by grace, but then, you must be baptised, keep the law, do sacraments, abstain from alcohol, homosexuality, etc. to be saved; that is legalism. Now before some of my readers hearing this fly off the handle, let me say this. When you have been saved by the grace of God you will desire to be baptised, keep the law, partake of the Lord’s Supper, abstain from every appearance of evil, and turn from all sexual sin. It is not a requirement of salvation. It is expected that a steward be found faithful.

Those who say, “But we have liberty in Christ Jesus”; just let me say this: When you were in your sins, ie., lost, condemned, and dying; you were enslaved to sin. Sin was your master. You believed you were at liberty to live as you pleased then, but you were really under the control of evil. Now you want to say “I am free, I have liberty in Jesus Christ. I can live as I please”. When you have been set at liberty in Jesus Christ you are free from sin, but you are not free to sin. The freedom/liberty you have in Christ is the power to live a righteous life that glorifies our Lord and Savior. You do not desire to live in sin and rebellion against the Lord.

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” 2 Corinthians 3:17. Now, can someone tell me how the Spirit of God would lead anyone into sin? He will not. When we sin; He convicts us, and points us back to the forgiving, loving arms of our Lord and Savior.

Our Lord Jesus hates legalism. He despises it. He also hates sin, and does not want any of His disciples/followers bound up in it. Listen to the words He speaks to the scribes, and Pharisees. He first tells those who are following Him, “The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say and do not.” Matthew 23:2-3 (KJV).

“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” Matthew 23:13.

Eight different times Jesus says, “Woe unto you”, and He is speaking of the same ones. These are supposedly the spiritual leaders of the Nation. Rather than shepherding they are condemning others and exalting themselves. Jesus’s words in this first woe is eyeopening itself. For these leaders Jesus says, “For you are not going in yourselves”, ie., the “kingdom of heaven”. OUCH!!! They are not going into the kingdom and they seem to want to keep their people from going in.

Each “Woe” which Jesus speaks in Matthew twenty three has to do with a different offense which these “Spiritual” leaders practiced. In the first one it seems the practice was one of condemnation. The second practice, is one of robbing widows, and pretending to be holy while they do it. The third is one of getting others to believe as they believe, and binding them in their condemning lies. Fourth, making loopholes around their “Oaths”. Fifthly, boasting of their tithing, but not practicing the other -”What does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” Micah 6:8. Sixth, presuming a holiness they did not have; being clean on the outside, yet full of filth inside. Seventh, further clarification of the sixth – being full of “dead men’s bones; their lives and ministries are a stench in the nostrils of the Lord; and they certainly offer no hope or promise of the King of kings. The eighth, they make open portrayal of being in favor of the prophets of old, yet their hearts are more in line with their fathers, than with God or the prophets.

If they would have believed the prophets, they would have seen their King as He was teaching them. That is one of the saddest things about “Legalism”, and that is, that it blinds the eyes. The self-righteous are very legalistic, and are condemning of others whom they see in sin, and usually do not see their own. The legalist is dependent upon their own righteous conduct, and not the cross of Jesus. In Christ Jesus there is life. In legalism there is only death, tombs full of bones, and displeasure before our Heavenly Father. The only way of pleasure for the Father is through our faith in Jesus. Life in Jesus is a holy life.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Whited Sepulchre

THE WHITED SEPULCHRE

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Matthew 23:27-28 (KJV)

The verses quoted are the words of Jesus to an unbelieving, hard-hearted, rebellious group of religious leaders known to Jesus as “Scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites”. The words quoted are the seventh of eight “Woes” which Jesus himself voices against them. The scribes, the Pharisees, the hypocrites were the ones who were always condemning others. They basically had no good word to say about anyone, except themselves, and I would imagine if one of them violated their normal routine they would also be condemned.

The “Whited” is speaking of a whitewash which was often used for temporary covering. It was temporary only because it washed away in the rain. It only gave the appearance of being something it wasn’t. They purposely whitewashed the sepulchres to have them clearly marked, so as not to touch them and thus, defile themselves making themselves cermonially unclean.

Jesus likens them to these “Whited sepulchres”. The way they paraded themselves around as being the epitome of holiness and righteousness, and before God they have the stench of hell, the putridness of dead men’s decaying flesh and bones. This reminds me of the “Untempered mortar” of Ezekiel’s prophecy, “Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter: Say unto them which daub it with untempered morter, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it. Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it? Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it. So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered morter, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered morter, and will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it; To wit, the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 13:10-16 (KJV). Just as the false prophets of Ezekiel’s day were suring up the hopes of their people with promises, but not dealing with their sin, so too were the religious leaders of Jesus’s day offering a false hope in perfection, and the keeping of manmade ordinances, which they themselves were not practicing. The untempered mortar of which Ezekiel speaks is like a white wash substance to fill the cracks in the wall, but with no holding ability, to only be washed away with the rains.

Jesus speaks at the beginning of this discourse saying, “Whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do” (23:3). Jesus does not say a word about not obeying, but saying do what they teach and say. Just don’t practice their hypocrisy of saying and not doing.

Legalism is rules that are always made for someone else. It has no practical application for the one proclaiming it, or they have provided for themselves ways to bypass and get around it. They had made for themselves “Loopholes” to get around these rules of tradition, and in some cases of written law. Jesus condemns the actions of the hypocrites who boasted of their own good deeds, and by their own acts made it impossible for anyone else to actually believe.

Legalism is the denying of the power of God alone to save and adding to it the works of law, tradition, ritual, or sacraments. It has absolutely nothing to do with the call of the pastor, preacher, teacher, and God’s Word calling God’s people to live holy, righteous, temperate, lives of labor for the glory of the Lord. One is not a whited sepulchre when they too are walking in the Word of God, and following the practices of holiness, etc..

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Allegiance, License, and Legalism

ALLEGIANCE, LICENSE, AND LEGALISM

Matthew 5:17-20

We hear quite often that since Christ came, died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, and we put our trust and faith in Him we can live without the law. That seems to be growing in popularity. Let me add here that there are sins which the law of God does not directly address, but they are sins. When you live in a society where the drinking of alcoholic beverage is more than tolerated, but almost admired, and when you are encouraged to drink it when you are watching the television through the commercials, then, it is time to stand and say this is wicked, vile, and evil. When the society we live in practically worships sexuality, and indecent, adulterous, promiscuous sexual conduct; then, it is also time to declare to the world and society that pornography is wicked, and rebellion against God.

There are those in Christian circles who say to us, “We are free in Christ”. I would be the first to admit our freedom in Christ. However, that term freedom in Christ is too often taken our of the Biblical context. It has absolutely nothing to do with ‘Freedom to sin’; it has everything to do with living Christ like, holy, righteous, undefiled lives; it is, in fact, the “Freedom to live for Christ”. Being no longer against Him, but with Him how can any child of God believe that freedom to be freedom to live in absolut rebellion to His holiness.

Do we discount the law, especially because according to Jesus He did not come to destroy them, but to fulfill them? Did He fulfill them? Yes!!! Does that means we are unaccountable to the law?

Let me give the definition of the three basic words of our title. They all will be addressed in this message

 

ANTINO’MIAN

, a. [Gr. against, and law.] Against law; pertaining to the Antinomians.

ANTINO’MIAN

, n. One of a sect who maintain, that, under the gospel dispensation, the law is of no use or obligation; or who hold doctrines which supersede the necessity of good works and a virtuous life. This sect originated with John Agricola about the year 1538. OLD WEBSTER DICTIONARY e-Sword.

ALLE’GIANCE

 

, n. [L. alligo, of ad and ligo, to bind. See Liege and League.]

The tie or obligation of a subject to his Prince or government; the duty of fidelity to a king, government or state. Every native or citizen owes allegiance to the government under which he is born. This is called natural or implied allegiance, which arises from the connection of a person with the society in which he is born, and his duty to be a faithful subject, independent of any express promise. Express allegiance, is that obligation which proceeds from an express promise, or oath of fidelity.

Local or temporary allegiance is due from an alien to the government or state in which he resides. OLD WEBSTER DICTIONARY From e-Sword.

Legalism

 

Strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to the religious or moral code. THE MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY

The reason I use the word ‘antinomian’ above is because that is the word which best describes the lawless. The ones who want us to believe that we are above the law, because we have been saved through faith in Jesus.

If we are Christian, ie., ‘Christlike’, then we must behave like Jesus. That would mean fulfilling the law. He tells us, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets.” We must put on a DEFINITE SPIRITUAL ALLEGIANCE to our Lord Jesus Christ. The Law and the Prophets is clearly the Old Testament Scriptures. It is the only Scriptures the people of Jesus’s day and the apostles had to read. It was the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah’s prophecy Jesus read from the day He declared Himself as having come. We often on certain occasions Pledge Allegiance to our Flag – the flag of the United States of America. When we talk of pledging allegiance to our Lord, we get to thinking it too costly. We owe fidelity to our King – King Jesus and His government. We were born under His government, thus, allegiance is owed to Him. When we received the covenant of salvation and baptism we pledged our allegiance to Him and His laws.

Jesus continues, then, by saying, “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (NKJV). These laws are for the moral good of our society. It seems to be also, that, though there are not direct applications to certain aspects of sin having to do with certain societies, there is still an application of the morality God’s law establishes. Anything that is harmful to our fellow human being, fitting into the final six of the Ten Commandments, would be a violation of the law. There are some who will tell us, “If it is not directly named and forbiden by the law, then we cannot call it sin”. There are many sins not directly mentioned or named and forbidden in the Bible. Consider for example, pornography, gambling, beverage alcohol, and though it is mentioned in the Bible as sin this one is often overlooked, and that is gluttony. We live in a society which practically endorses these behaviors, yet they are clearly harmful to all those who practice them. The first three mentioned can and do destroy peoples homes; spouses, children, jobs; now someone please tell me I am being legalistic because of my concern for the destruction of homes and families. It is sin to destroy your home, because of your participation in these acts; thus I have no problem calling them sin. Does the fact of Jesus fulfilling the law mean that the law is disabled?

Jesus says, “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Are we saved by the obedience to the law? Paul the apostle wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV). The law has been fulfilled, thus it lives in our changed hearts and lives. Our desire is no longer to follow the passions of lust, ie., the lusts and passions of the sinful world. We are free to follow the passions of Jesus. Jesus’s passion was to die for our sins. He calls His followers to “Take up your cross, and follow Me”. When He took up His cross it led to His death. Our cross leads to our death to sin; not to bask or relish in sins supposed, and short lived pleasures.

The words of Jesus in finishing this on the law are these; “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” v. 20 (NKJV). I have previously written of Matthew 23:3 where Jesus tells his listeners to do what they teach, but do not follow their works. These religious leaders were hypocrites. A hypocrite is an individual who pretends to be what they are not. There are far too many of these in churches today, because the local congregations have grown lax in thier discipleship, teaching and training, doctrine, and law of God, and the prophets. We applaud the works of people rather than the work of Christ. We fail to correct false teaching, and allow it to grow into a cancerous, disgusting, putrid, stink. We have failed to see the nation of Israel as our example; especially for the individual Christian. Every action of the nation of Israel and their departure from God can happen to the individual Christian. Just as God has chastised the Nation, and continues to do so; He also will discipline the individual who runs astray from God, His Word, His law, and the prophets; and away from God’s will.

The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was a self-earned righteousness. Their self-righteousness was a stench in the nasal passages of God (See Isaiah 64:6). They only supposed they had reached the level of the righteous God, but actually had failed, and prided themselves in their greatness. That shows you and I the truth of what the apostle Paul said to the church of Ephesus, “…Not of works, lest anyone should boast”. The only righteousness which exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees is the righteousness which God ascribes to us; and that is the Righteousness of Jesus Christ, which we receive when we have by faith been transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. Without His righteousness there is no entering the kingdom of heaven.

Allegiance to Jesus Christ should be our only allegiance with eternal gain, and realize that our allegiance to our Nation is for the purpose of ascribing the worth of Jesus Christ in all that we do. The only license we have from God is by faith through Christ to live for Him, to glorify Him, to show forth the name of Jesus in all our work, and play. The life of the Christian is not “License” to sin, but license to live for Christ. As Christians we are to promote and encourage a life of holiness, righteousness, justice, and walk humbly with our Lord (See Micah 6:8); and as teachers and leaders of such; practice these things ourselves. Not to earn salvation, but because of salvation. Let me reemphasize that legalism is requiring more for salvation than grace. It is not legalism to expect, to teach, and require holiness in the people who follow Jesus. Much of the charges of legalism that is being thrown around today is only further license to sin in the name of “Freedom” or “Liberty” in the name of Christ. We are called to call harmful acts of behavior SIN. I say that any action which does not glorify Jesus Christ is an act of sin. I am in great need, and have received that grace which I need for life and living. How about you?

-by Tim A. Blankenship

What Is Legalism???

Just What is Legalism???

There are charges of “Legalism” being shouted, proclaimed, printed in meetings, in comments, and by email and other means. It seems to me, at least in some cases, that these charges are brought by those who are defending their own actions and/or the actions of others. The charge often cried against those who propose Biblical support for abstaining from alcoholic beverage, or gambling, and other things is, “That is legalism”. The charge says, if you espouse abstinence, then you are binding.

Is this charge accurate? There is a verse of Scripture in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus tells us, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” Mark 2:27 (NKJV). Jesus Himself had been accused of breaking the law of the Sabbath. He and His disciples had walked through grain fields and as they walked they plucked hands full of grain, rubbing it in their hands, thus, threshing it, then eating it; and being charged with laboring on the Sabbath day, breaking the law.

These accusers had taken the “Commandment of God” and added their “commandments of men”, making it a law that binds rather than protecting. They would charge Jesus many more times as well with breaking the Sabbath, because He healed on the Sabbath day. The Law was given for protection and good, not for keeping us from doing the good and right.

If we were looking at the Ten Commandments we could see that each of them are for the purpose of pointing us toward loving God and loving one another. Not one is binding. They protect and give respect to God and others, thus back to ourselves.

The first four are for the protection of the worth of God to be worshipped, and in keeping them, keep us from eternal death. The final six are for the protection of respect for one another, our relationships, our word, and our property. (Let me make it quite clear right here, We have not, nor cannot keep these laws in our flesh. Jesus died and fulfilled these laws, thus we obey them through Him.) These laws were meant to keep us from wronging God, and wronging our fellowman. When we are not at peace with God, we will not be at peace with our fellow man. When we are not at peace with our fellow man, we are probably not at peace with God. We must first have peace with God and the peace of God.

For the accusers of Jesus to accuse Him and His disciples was an act of self-righteousness, and could be called “Legalism”. If legalism is adding to the law of God, then, this was a case of legalism. There is, however, one thing for sure, and that is; adding to the Word of God is a death sentence (See Revelation 22:18-19).

Jesus’s words to His accusers puts a new focus on the whole law. His principles for living in His kingdom (Matthew 5-7) are much more eye opening than are the Ten Commandments. Will you accuse Jesus of “Legalism” because He says, “…whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28 NKJV)? I would dare to think not. I do not think that anyone would be foolish enough to even accuse Him of adding to the Word. That would be a foolish accusation anyway, because the Word was not yet complete, and He is the Word.

One of the arguments in charging legalism is, “If it is not named in Scripture, then we cannot call it sin; when we call it sin, that is legalism”. I think most who read this will agree that there are actions committed not named in Scripture which are clearly sinful. For example, the matter of pornography. Is that not a sinful behavior? Is it not sinful whether you produce it, practice it or view it? You answer. I have not seen this behavior mentioned anywhere in the Bible, yet I have no problem calling it immoral, sinful, behavior. The Bible does tell us, “Abstain from every form of evil” 1 Thessalonians 5:22. That includes a multitude of sins which are not named in Scripture – “Every form of evil”.

Just what is legalism? Legalism is the taking of grace and adding works to it for the basis of our salvation and/or the keeping of our salvation. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Grace and faith are the gift of God, not of works, lest we should be boastful, and steal the glory of God for ourselves.

When a group makes requirement for salvation to be grace, faith, and sacraments – that is legalism. When denomination requires grace, faith, and baptism for salvation – that is legalism. When someone requires grace, faith and abstaining from certain practices; such as gambling, drinking alcoholic beverage, or pornography, etc. for salvation – that is legalism. It is the adding to of grace in salvation that determines legalism.

To present these things of abstinence for sanctification, and holiness in Christian living has only to do with one’s growth in Christ Jesus, and protection from harm; not condemnation.

-by Tim A. Blankenship