Month 11:18, Week 3:3 (Shleshi/Bikkurim), Year 5935:305 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Friday 10 February 2012
Answering the 9 False Claims
One of the most popular words bandied about by lawless believers is 'legalism'. They love to accuse commandment-keeping believers of the imagined crime of being a 'legalist' when nine out of ten times they are plain wrong. Most of those who throw out this barb usually have no idea what the word even means - it's just something convenient to bludgeon those who are giving them a bad conscience because they themselves have chosen to be disobedient children of wrath.
Like a number of other sacred cows worshipped by rebellious Christians, the word 'legalism' is not found in the Bible and so what we are in reality left with is people's opinions. It's these opinions I wish to examine today. So let's see what the ten most common complaints, meanings, opinions and claims behind the accusation 'you're a legalist!' actually are:
Meaning #1 - Your standards are too high!
Answer #1 - Are they higher than Yahweh's standards?
Meaning #2 - Don't force your standards on us!
Answer #2 - Are they our standards or Yahweh's standards? Does not Yahweh command us to "exhort one another daily, while it is called 'Today,' lest any of you be hardened.." (Heb 3:13, NKJV)?
Meaning #3 - The Old Testament does not apply to us!
Answer #3 - Yahweh says that all Scripture is profitable (2 Tim.3:16) which at that time was only the Tanakh (Old Testament) because the New Testament had not been written, tested and compiled at that time. The Tanakh (Old Testament) is written for our instruction (1 Cor.10:11)
Meaning #4 - Christ did away with the Law!
Answer #4 - Yah'shua (Jesus) said: "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law (Torah)" (Matt.5:17, NKJV).
Meaning #5 - Christ removed the curse of the Law!
Answer #5 - Messiah became a curse to pay the penalty of sin (Gal.3:13) but the Torah (Law) continued to be the standard by which Yahweh judges us (Rom.7:7)
Meaning #6 - The Old Testament is excess baggage!
Answer #6 - The Tanakh (Old Testament) is a schoolmaster (pedagogue) to bring us to Messiah (Christ) (Gal.3:24) - a pedagogue (schoolmaster) was a strict disciplinarian responsible for manners, instruction, discipline, and the safety of the child.
Claim #1 - We are now under grace!
Correction #1 - Grace is not the freedom to do whatever we want, but the desire and power to do what we ought (Phil.2:14; Jude 4)
Claim #2 - God is love, not law!
Correction #2 - Yah'shua (Jesus) said: "He who has My mitzvot (commandments) and keeps them, it is he who loves Me" (John 14:21, NKJV).
Claim #3 - The Law of Moses is too harsh!
Correction #3 - No, it is too lax: the New Testament Law is stricter (the higher law of ahavah/love) - see Matt.22:37; 1 John 3:15; Matt.5:28
Those who judge others of legalism are usually guilty of the same:
Meaning #7 - Legalism is trying to earn salvation by keeping the Law!
"For Elohim (God) commanded, saying, 'Honour your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, 'Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to Elohim (God)' -- then he need not honour his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of Elohim (God) of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
(Matt 15:4-9, NKJV).
'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their lev (heart) is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men''"
Answer #7 - ABSOLUTELY CORRECT! "A man is not justified by the works of the Torah (Law) but by emunah (faith) in Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)" (Gal.2:16, NKJV)!
Are you trying to keep the Torah (Law) without first being saved and relying wholly on Messiah by emunah (faith) through grace (undeserved loving kindness, unmerited favour), then you are indeed a legalist and in deep spiritual trouble.
If you are saved and are clinging to Yah'shua (Jesus) and trusting Him apart from works, and are obeying the mitzvot (commandments) of the Torah (Law) in consequence of these things (as a result of being saved and out of ahavah/love), then you are in right relationship with Yahweh.
But if you profess to be saved and trusting in Yahweh through Messiah but are not obeying the mitzvot (commandments) when you know what Scripture says about them, then you are a rebellious and lawless believer in need of making urgent teshuvah (repentance), for there is no guarantee that you will always possess this salvation if you willfully and persistently remain in disobedience.
If you have bought into the lie that trusting is all that is needed without reference to Torah, then please study our collection of articles, Once Saved, Always Saved?
There are, sadly, genuine legalists around in both the Messianic and Christian assemblies who are not saved, but 90% of the accusations levelled by Christians against Messianics that they are legalists are actually false. You absolutely need to know why so as not to be guilty of the sin of lashon hara.
It's important therefore that you know clearly what the Scriptures teach about these matters, taking the whole counsel of the Davar (Word) and not the private collections of disobedient ministers who have not taken the time to seriously challenge the traditions they were raised in.
Spend time learning to know the difference between trusting and obedience, and to understand the importance of both!
 Institute in Basic Life Principles
 Common Objections for Not Obeying the Ten Commandments
 Love the Law! Torah in Your Heart
 Our subsite, New Covenant Torah: The Law of Christ
Continued in Part 2