Learning to love legalists but not legalism!

Here is what I read on on BLOG that I will keep anonymous!

[He  was listening to a Christian Radio talk show] He is talking about how God’s absolute holiness shows why he looks at sin objectively. Man will tend to grade man on a curve which tends to lower the standard. A lowered standard results in Christian idolatry and licentiousness. To resist sin and teach the judgment and sovereignty of God then becomes taboo….. and the worldly congregations will despise you for it. They will treat you like a leper and do what they can to avoid you like a plague.

You know the accusations when trying to raise the bar back up to God’s standards Mike. “Hey you are judgmental!” There is nothing new under the sun…………………..

I am actually ok with what the person said here but I want to discuss the words “A lowered standard results in Christian idolatry and licentiousness .”  This also goes back to my discussion on one-sided sinners a few posts back ( https://centralityofthegospel.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/our-strength-comes-in-christ/).

Scripture also shows us the pharisees who were trying to keep their high standard as the “Gold standard”.  They saw the sins of the world but did not see their own religious sins.   Scripture tells we not only  have a problem with licentiousness but we also have issues with legalism.  The Christian world tends to see licentious (worldly sin) but people tend to be more blind with what I see as the worst problem … pharasaism or legalism.  We need to get it in our heads once and for all the the problem lies in both!!!!   Legalism is a much more subtle and insideous problem for a Christian to have… its more  insideous because it affects the ability of the entire Church in proclaiming the TRUE Gospel message of Jesus Christ.   Not many preachers and Churches are good at seeing BOTH  the sins of licentiousness and legalism but it can be done with a clear vision of the Cross and Jesus Christ. A deep knowledge of our sin will always point us to the cross and how deep our needs is for a savior.

Its clear to me that idolatry not only exists in the minds of worldly sinners but also in the minds of religious sinners. As C.J. Mahaney says “our minds are idol factories whether we are pre-salvational or post salvational.   Only by a clear understanding of the Gospel can we see the sins of both licentiousness and legalism.  I can’t do it on my own. I need Jesus.

The standard has dropped from the words Jesus expressed in Matthew.   Its also important to discern and ask ourselves in what way has this standard dropped because Christians differ in their responses on this… lest we fall into the same traps and the history of the pharisees becomes the present. The entirety of scripture needs to be taken into account with a cautious eye always toward the cross and Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

Legalism creates a spiritual blindness that even smart,  learned Christians can have.   It runs so deep the Martin Luther believed legalism was the default mode of the human heart and people can hardly help themselves.

If we actually start seeing the religious sin in ourselves then we become more effective at  proclaiming the Gospel among sinners.

Thanks be to Christ for what He did!


2 thoughts on “Learning to love legalists but not legalism!

  1. theoldadam

    Great post, Jon!

    Having a realistic view of sin and of ourselves is key. Not watering down the law to a managable state is key.

    Keep at it, my friend!

  2. centralityofthegospel Post author

    The ultimate irony is that those that look down on other people watering down the law are the worst culprits of all in not seeing their religious sin.

    Thanks to Christ for what he did!

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