Saturday, September 19, 2015
Loving Correction or Legalism?
As a Christian it is important that we uphold the truths of God's word and that we are not afraid to call sin, sin. We are to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ when there is truly a sin issue in their life and lovingly and gently confront them.
The problem arises when people take their own beliefs or convictions on other issues such as food, drink, homeschooling, makeup, traditional or alternative healthcare, product buying choices...and make them a standard for Christianity. They are taking God's gift of grace and adding their own ideal of "godliness" comprised of their own rules and traditions. These people can be quick to condemn the "perceived" fault they find in others, while quickly falling into the sins of pride and self-righteousness themselves.
Legalism DESTROYS friendships, relationships and churches, and we are warned in scripture to avoid falling into it.
"But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?" ~Galatians 4:9
"For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another."
“Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.” ~Romans 14:1-4
“Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.” ~Romans 14:19-22
"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ."
"If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 'Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch' (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh." ~Colossians 2:20-23
Following a set of laws does not stop a sinful heart and produce spiritual fruit. Only Christ can bear spiritual fruit in believers not by adherence to external laws,but by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
"The whole Bible tells us, from beginning to end, that salvation is not by the works of the law, but by the deeds of grace. Martin Luther declared that he constantly preached justification by faith alone, 'because,' said he, 'the people would forget it; so that I was obliged almost to knock my Bible against their heads, to send it into their hearts.'" ~Charles Spurgeon