The snare of legalism

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

  1. they believe in monogamy, but a man can yabam his way to as many wives as he has brothers who predecease their spouses
  2. the priests do the same work Sunday to Saturday and are guiltless
  3. people put patriarchal above the sabbath by performing circumcision
  4. they believe that gold and silver are currency for atonement
  5. they equate commandment keeping with righteousness even when it is clear that no-one gets saved by doing so
  6. they insist that saved people must commit adultery – remarrying the husband – the law – from whom they were set free by Christ
  7. 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.

Liberated

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.

Interference in Trouble

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6

Grave and Irrevocable

What gravity accompanies the Saviour’s concern for his contemporaries who were coming into the way! Our Lord promises a most unpleasant and certain fate – drowned with a heavy stone attached – for the one who interferes offensively with the progress of new believers.

Sadly, this phenomenon proceeds in the 21st century with quasi-Bible studies. Our introduction to Christ, often begun with Bible studies, quickly deteriorates into sectarian and ethnic attempts to control. We do not know what is better for the new convert. Holy Spirit has and knows what is necessary for our converts and chooses the timing for guiding us to truth.

Sneaky Wolf

There have been open and stealthy attacks on people in the Way. From Galatians 2:4 we learn that Christian freedom became a target for zealous Jews (like James) who wanted to enslave people with the Law. They sneaked into our fellowships to intimidate and threaten us.

And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:

2 Peter 2:19 tells us there were people who preach things they do not possess.

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

Brazen Barbs

In plain sight today lies and propaganda proceed with no shame. Interferers introduce people to Christ by teaching a host of supposed Bible subjects. We thought that unbelievers were the evangelists’ target and that the goal of preaching the gospel was to introduce people to Christ as Savior.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 1 Timothy 4:1-3

If they had been converted they would know what the gospel is and that no one gets saved by anything other than grace through faith. They would have experienced pardon and promise. Instead their priorities are carnal ordinances and elevating types over reality, rank discrimination against women and the little ones who are coming to Christ.

Park the Ark, Table the Tablets

We are familiar with presentations that are completely Christ-free except for the fact that the content might bring us to the Christ Event.

The theory that God has encoded the way of life for the world in the Tabernacle is a fascinating half truth. Up to the preaching of John the Baptist followers of divine revelation had only glimpses of the great hope of the race. The OT makes a person wise to salvation without delivering its benefits, unless we can show that something other than faith is responsible for saving ancient individuals. Two witnesses, David and Abraham convince us otherwise.

Concealed

The OT is either contemporary instruction or prediction, and we know that God kept the mystery of divinity – mystery of godliness – concealed until the Lord Jesus Christ himself began to publish it. It is sheer fantasy and fable to intimate that the gospel was preached to the Israelites in antiquity.

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; Hebrews 2:3

Matthew 13:13-17

This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

Testify Courageously

God has a testimony

If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. 1 John 5:9

John suffered because of Jesus’ testimony

I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. Revelation 1:9

The testimony about Christ was confirmed in all believers

even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 1 Corinthians 1:6

The persecution of the saints

Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea. Revelation 12:17

In our days, the early 21st century, the testimony of Jesus/Christ/God (a) is still being confirmed (b) is God’s witness to His Son and is the spiritual facet that gives us hooks into the gospel.

God is not in competition with organizations and things, which are all potential ideals. Christ’s witnesses are certified and sealed by the Holy Spirit.