The definitions of legalism have not always been helpful. There is always a “but” in the explanation usually to fill the perceived void that liberation from death, sin, and law seemed to create. The pressure towards law is immense and wicked. Jews who decided to follow the were rightly assumed to have discarded the Law. Theologians, fully displaying their cowardice and laziness, have applied the term antinomian to anyone who dared to cling to life and not death. When we say we are Christians we do not need to confess anything about Moses, prophets, law, or Judaism, If you feel guilty about receiving Yeshua as God’s Anointed you are a fly in the spider’s web of legalism, snared and probably still dead.
Paul had said so much that puts the law into a unattractive framework that he asks the question that his readers were bound to ask.
What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”Rom. 7:7
Law is a hypocrite’s tool
- they believe in monogamy, but a man can yabam his way to as many wives as he has brothers who predecease their spouses
- the priests do the same work Sunday to Saturday and are guiltless
- people put patriarchal above the sabbath by performing circumcision
- they believe that gold and silver are currency for atonement
- they equate commandment keeping with righteousness even when it is clear that no-one gets saved by doing so
- they insist that saved people must commit adultery – remarrying the husband – the law – from whom they were set free by Christ
- they enrich themselves by devouring the money and property of God’s priestly people often by robbery and murder
We are pretty sure that law does not figure in Messianic lordship. He did not need it to save us and he does not need it to keep us safe and to enable our growth. By the time Yeshua is into his first tour of Israel the law and the prophets had been certified as weak, ineffective, and without authority.
What did Paul say? He said (ii) Jews were unfaithful/unbelieving even though God entrusted the oracles to them (ii) Jews were convicted of sin – did not keep the law (iii) Abraham was not in any position to brag about his performance of duty but rather his faith (iv) People (Romans or Jews) are not under law but under grace and (v) there was no fruit but death from the things they cherished.
To be sure about what our behaviour should be the place to look is the Cross. To be sure about who is our authority the person to look to is Yeshua. To be sure about our identity we must believe and confess Yeshua’s death and resurrection.