Paul's Passing Thoughts

Sigh: Let’s Try This Again; THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS “LEGALISM”

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 9, 2014

ppt-jpeg4Find the word, “legalism” in the Bible; not there. Find the concept; not there. Why? Because there is no such thing. Wrong application/interpretation of any kind is against the word of God. That’s only called one thing and one thing only: antinomianism. If that is too boring for you, Christ did call it one other thing: the traditions of men. Christ was very concerned with the traditions and teachings of men. Why? Because it produces ideas things like, “legalism.”

Legalism is a concept that supports the idea that Christians can unwittingly obey in a way that “builds fruits back into the instrument of justification” (John Piper). In other words, the idea is based on salvation of the justification sort being progressive instead of a finished work. Hence, how we obey in our Christian life becomes very tricky business. It also posits the following idea: thinking that we can please God through obedience is the root of all evil—it is the very fiber of our vile being to justify ourselves by law-keeping. However, such an attempt is impossible for a real Christian because they know that justification is a finished work that cannot be affected by anything we do.

So, as the theory goes, since it is impossible to obey the law, we look for “loopholes.” If we would just let go and let God, we wouldn’t sin as much because we know we can’t keep the law perfectly anyway. Notice that perfection in law-keeping is still the standard. What does that tell you? Right, the Christian is still, “under law” and that is a huge problem. “Under grace” does not mean that Jesus’ perfect obedience is imputed to us—it means that we now obey the “law of liberty” and are very able to do so. The legalism concept circumvents the law transaction that must be part of a true gospel. The law’s ability to condemn was ended by Christ; we now obey the law from the motive of love.

The Bible does address those under grace who have an unbiblically trained conscience that passes judgment on more mature Christians who have the liberty to partake in certain things. More mature Christians are not to persuade those who are convicted that the issue is sin, nor are they to practice the issue in front of the “weaker brother.” There is no “loophole” issue except in the legalism concept that is the traditions of men and that is what primarily concerned Christ.

No doubt, with the latest scandal concerning Bill Gothard, we must once again suffer a flurry of this nonsense, and worse yet, people are bringing these articles to my attention for the express purpose of annoying me.

I know not if Gothard is a Christian, but the Bible if VERY clear why people fall into this kind of sin; they obey sinful passions. Under law is synonymous with being enslaved to sinful passions, provoked by the law, and ultimately judged by the law, albeit free to do good (Romans 6:20). Under grace is synonymous with being enslaved to righteousness, provoked to do good by the law, and released from the condemnation of the law, albeit free to do evil. No unbeliever sins perfectly, and no believer obeys perfectly. It’s a direction dictated by an exchange of slavery and two different relationships to the law.

Hence, people love to annoy me with the following:

This is surely part of what Paul meant when he said, “The letter (the Law, the old covenant) kills, but the Spirit gives life.” The Law kills because it focuses (or it tends to be applied so as to focus) on external behaviors: how high is high, how good is good, how shiny is shiny.

But the Spirit, which changes us from the inside out, gives life.

No, this is “surely” NOT what Paul was talking about. The law is only death to those born “under the law” who we pray will be transformed and brought under the “law of liberty,” or the “law of the Spirit.” The law is the “law of sin and death” to unbelievers, not believers. The only man born into the world that was not under the curse of the law was Christ because He is able to be judged by it without condemnation. Yet, He bore its curse on the cross so that He could put an end to the law of sin and death for believers. This frees them to zealously pursue the law of liberty in order to please God without fear. Same law; different relationship.

Furthermore, the Spirit does NOT change us from the “inside out.” That’s a bunch of stinking boloney. Christians are called on to change behavior and thinking both. It’s not from the inside out only—IT’S BOTH. Sometimes obedience brings internal blessings (Phil 4:9), and sometimes a change of thinking results in different behavior—it’s both, not either/or.

End rant.

paul

One Response

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  1. paulspassingthoughts said, on March 9, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    Reblogged this on Clearcreek Chapel Watch.

    Like


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