Hello people, I write again after quiet a break, today I would like to write on legalism. Well if you asking me what indeed is legalism? Then I would like to tell you it is about going to heaven and being spared of punishment based the idea of adherence to precise religious laws. Well in the Bible reading today, this is what I came across.
Ezek 22:26 (God prophesying through Prophet Ezekiel to the people of the Old Testament)
6 All … leaders trust in their own strength and commit murder. 7 You people in the city do not honour your parents. You cheat foreigners and take advantage of widows and orphans.8 You have no respect for the holy places, and you don’t keep the Sabbath.9 Some of your people tell lies about others in order to have them put to death. Some of them eat sacrifices offered to idols. Some are always satisfying their lusts. … 12 Some of your people murder for pay. Some charge interest on the loans they make to their fellow-Israelites and get rich by taking advantage of them. They have forgotten me.” The Sovereign Lord has spoken.
26 The priests break my law and have no respect for what is holy. They make no distinction between what is holy and what is not. They do not teach the difference between clean and unclean things, and they ignore the Sabbath. As a result the people … do not respect me.
Looking at the above scripture you can see the Lawlessness of the people of the Old Testament, Lawlessness to the extent that God had to uses Moses to lay down some ground rules for them. Now a day’s public law is rather streamlined across developed and developing nations. Law is what maintains smoothness in society. Well I feel there was good reason for God to introduce Law to His people; God may have been trying to introduce a system of society among His people. The Law had its own purpose; the Bible says that it was Law that made known what wrong doing is.
There was sin in the world before the Law was given; but where there is no law, no account is kept of sins.
The Law stated different things right from what is eatable to how it is to deal with fellow people to how to worship to what should be kept holy. Well you may say that Law is good and I will agree with you to a certain extent but pleasing God can never be done by following a list of do’s and don’ts. Let me give you an example, during the holocaust, which was caused due to sick ideology of pseudo-scientific, biologically based racism that saw Jews as a “race” locked into mortal combat with the “Aryan” race for world domination. This Holocaust which saw the extermination of 6 million Jews by anti-Christian Nazism, now consider this, there were Jews during this time that were sheltered by Christians, now the Law prohibits telling lies, just imagine how many more Jews would have lost their lives had these Christians admitted sheltering Jews when questioned by the Nazi regime. There can never be a set of Laws to keep you from doing wrong. Have you heard of the term “loop hole”, you know if you are hell bent on doing the wrong thing you may sure find a loop whole in law allowing you to do what you want to do. Will your conscience be at ease, I don’t think so but I don’t think you will let that feeling come in the way if you desired that thing so strongly?
So you see God’s idea for introducing the Law was to keep it there only till its purpose was fulfilled and the following are Jesus’ words.
Matthew 5:17-18 (Jesus’ word)
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
So incase you are asking me what was then the purpose of the Law. Let me quote from my Bible to answer that question.
19 What, then, was the purpose of the Law? It was added in order to show what wrongdoing is, and it was meant to last until the coming of Abraham’s descendant, to whom the promise was made. The Law was handed down by angels, with a man acting as a go-between. 20 But a go-between is not needed when only one person is involved; and God is one.
It is important to note that it was Jesus, descendant of David, descendant of Abraham to whom the promise was made please read the below scripture for the same & pay special attention to Hebrew 7:28.
26 Jesus, then, is the High Priest that meets our needs. He is holy; he has no fault or sin in him; he has been set apart from sinners and raised above the heavens. 27 He is not like other high priests; he does not need to offer sacrifices every day for his own sins first and then for the sins of the people. He offered one sacrifice, once and for all, when he offered himself. 28 The Law of Moses appoints men who are imperfect to be high priests; but God’s promise made with the vow, which came later than the Law, appoints the Son, who has been made perfect for ever.
16 Now, God made his promises to Abraham and to his descendant. The scripture does not use the plural “descendants”, meaning many people, but the singular “descendant”, meaning one person only, namely, Christ.
So you see the Law was accomplished by Jesus, looking closely at verse 20 of Galatians 3, you can see that no angels or prophets were involved in delivering the God message to the New Testament Christians. This is because God Himself was with His people.
Matthew 1:18-23 (Pay special attention to verse 23)
18 This was how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they were married, she found out that she was going to have a baby by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph was a man who always did what was right, but he did not want to disgrace Mary publicly; so he made plans to break the engagement privately. 20 While he was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. 21 She will have a son, and you will name him Jesus — because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 Now all this happened in order to make what the Lord had said through the prophet come true, 23 “A virgin will become pregnant and have a son, and he will be called Immanuel” (which means, “God is with us”).
You can clearly add 2 and 2 here and see that Galatians 3:20 & Matthew 1:23, implies that no one was needed to deliver God’s word to His people because Jesus Himself was God and Jesus Himself was with His people and therefore He needed no in between angel or prophet. You can clearly see that the emphasis made in Galatians 3:20 stating that God is one which stands so much in contrast to the scripture it is coming from because how can how can someone promise another person something without involving more than one person & therefore Galatians 3:19 can only make sense if you consider the Tri-Union identity of God, that is Father Son and Spirit being together as One God.
Well let’s get back to the topic of Legalism, so the Law was to make known to man what Sin is, I am sure you all know how legalistic the religions of the world are. The Bible says that religious Law does not save you but just makes you aware of sin and it consequences.
56 Death gets its power to hurt from sin, and sin gets its power from the Law.
For sin pays its wage — death; but God’s free gift is eternal life in union with Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23; feels so good because it gives you the bad news with a Solution, the name of this Solution is Jesus. The Bible clearly says that we are not saved by observing the Law we are saved (going to heaven) because we believe Jesus paid with His life our ransom for sin.
21 But now God’s way of putting people right with himself has been revealed. It has nothing to do with law, even though the Law of Moses and the prophets gave their witness to it. 22 God puts people right through their faith in Jesus Christ. God does this to all who believe in Christ, because there is no difference at all:
God gave the Law through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
So you see it is not out of your merit of following the Law that you are heaven bound if you indeed are, it is by grace through God saving promise to His people that you are saved.
But as for me, I will pray to you, Lord; answer me, God, at a time you choose. Answer me because of your great love, because you keep your promise to save.
Trusting the Law of the Lord Show me how much you love me, Lord, and save me according to your promise.
So to follow or attempt to follow religious law is like you using a “pager” in this day and age of mobile communication. Remember the Law was present, was fulfilled & now we called to live under grace that is a calling to heaven, purely of God’s goodness. If you were to follow the Law it would be like being blind to the goodness God is showing you.
Those of you who try to be put right with God by obeying the Law have cut yourselves off from Christ. You are outside God’s grace.
In Jesus, we now have freedom from being ritualistic and religious, we are free to eat all that is eatable and free to go about our lives without being ritualistic and still be free from sin because of what God worked out for us on the cross.
Hebrews 9:14-15 (New Covenant =Grace through Christ & Old Covenant=Law of the Old Testament)
14 Since this is true, how much more is accomplished by the blood of Christ! Through the eternal Spirit he offered himself as a perfect sacrifice to God. His blood will purify our consciences from useless rituals, so that we may serve the living God.
15 For this reason Christ is the one who arranges a new covenant, so that those who have been called by God may receive the eternal blessings that God has promised. This can be done because there has been a death which sets people free from the wrongs they did while the first covenant was in force.
20 You have died with Christ and are set free from the ruling spirits of the universe. Why, then, do you live as though you belonged to this world? Why do you obey such rules as 21 “Don’t handle this,” “Don’t taste that,” “Don’t touch the other”? 22 All these refer to things which become useless once they are used; they are only human rules and teachings. 23 Of course such rules appear to be based on wisdom in their forced worship of angels, and false humility, and severe treatment of the body; but they have no real value in controlling physical passions.
Colossians 2:13-17 (Pay attention to verse 16)
13 You were at one time spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were Gentiles without the Law. But God has now brought you to life with Christ. God forgave us all our sins; 14 he cancelled the unfavourable record of our debts with its binding rules and did away with it completely by nailing it to the cross. 15 And on that cross Christ stripped the spiritual rulers and authorities of their power; he made a public spectacle of them by leading them as captives in his victory procession.
16 So let no one make rules about what you eat or drink or about holy days or the New Moon Festival or the Sabbath. 17 All such things are only a shadow of things in the future; the reality is Christ.