5th Response to Legalism
5th Response to Legalism
We begin again with the common understanding of what legalism is, doing works of the Torah, or law, to gain salvation, as defined by the bone of contention around the First Church Council: Acts 15:1, 15 (NKJV) “And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” . . . 15But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.””
My brother, you seem to have a real habit of taking Scripture out of context and/or misinterpreting, or misapplying, what is stated in some passages. Take your statement about bitter and sweet water from the same fountain, from James 3. James is talking about the evil tongue, Lashon Hara, or loshon hora, we are not to bless Yahweh and curse man from the same tongue, but which most do anyway. I do not see where James is here talking about anything like doing works of righteousness to get saved, legalism. He does give a good teaching on what the fruit of our lips should be. Yahshua taught that what’s in a man’s heart is what comes out his mouth. It should be good fruit for a believer. James also gives a good word about wisdom. The last verse of James 3 may be relevant though: (NKJV) “18Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” Righteousness is a fruit of getting saved. Fruit of righteousness is good deeds and service to mankind and Yahweh. That’s not legalism, that’s our righteous lifestyle. Random acts of kindness bless Yahweh’s people, and bless Yahweh’s heart.
Now, if there’s ever a book for today’s carnal pagan Christian church, it’s the book of Corinthians. There is a wealth of wisdom to be gained just in 1 Corinthians 10:1-33 (NKJV) “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3all ate the same spiritual food, 4and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Messiah.” Isn’t that beautiful? Our Creator, Yahshua, walked with the Israelites through the wilderness for 40 years. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We can still eat and drink of Yahshua in His Holy Spirit! He’s our fountain of right speaking and right living.
”5But with most of them Yahweh was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. 6Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”” So now that we have all this liberty in Messiah, is idolatry ok today? Idolatry is manifesting in so many ways today, it makes me gag to start listing them all. I can only imagine how Yahshua feels about it. I’m sure you know that liberty in Messiah is not license to sin.
”8Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;” So, was sexual morality replaced with the New Covenant? Is that why we have homosexual pastors today? Or is it just because rebellious children still want to do what they want? Homosexuality will always be an abomination to Yahweh, His Law, His character, His nature, never changes.
“9nor let us tempt Messiah, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents [Numbers 21]; 10nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but Yahweh is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 14Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” Remember the story in Numbers 21, when the children of Israel spoke against Yahweh and Moses, complaining about not having enough food and water, and actually loathing Yahweh’s supernatural provision of manna. Sounds a lot like Yahweh’s kids today. Always wanting more stuff. Never satisfied. And why in this age of grace and liberty does Paul say there are some things we have to bear? That sounds like work, but not work for salvation, work like bear one another’s burdens.
”15I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. 16The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Messiah? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Messiah? 17For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread. 18Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to Yahweh, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21You cannot drink the cup of the Master and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Master’s table and of the table of demons. 22Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? 23All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. 25Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; 26for “the earth is Yahweh’s, and all its fullness.” 27If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. 28But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is Yahweh’s, and all its fullness.” 29“Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? 30But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks? 31Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of Yahweh. 32Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of Yahweh, 33just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”
Wow, this passage is becoming quite relevant to Americans. Are you aware of how much food in America is now being processed according to the Islamic law of halal? Their food is dedicated to the little fat demon allah. Paul is just saying be careful what you eat. We live among our enemies in our pagan culture today, similar to Paul’s day. Everything has spiritual implications. If you don’t know a food was dedicated to an idol or demon, don’t worry about it for conscience’ sake. I apologize if you feel I am judging your liberty. Not trying to do that, just trying to teach folk how to live a safe, healthy, Christian, biblical lifestyle. Notice Paul is not talking about eating non-food items. Muslims sacrifice to demons, and their food processing is cruel to animals. Just be aware of the spiritual world we live in.
I find it interesting your aversion to law. We live in a universe designed around laws, especially Yahweh’s laws. Law of love, law of liberty, law of grace, law of faith. What was it Yahshua said? John 14:15 (NKJV) “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Now what commandments could He possibly be referring to, years before the New Testament was written? I can think of at least 10. My brother, I think you may be confusing obedience with legalism. Maybe we should go back and look at Matthew 5:17-20 (NKJV) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Look at verse 18 again. IS HEAVEN AND EARTH STILL IN EXISTENCE? Yes, of course they are. Then nothing has passed from the Law of Yahweh. The universe would fall apart if Yahweh’s Law was done away with.
Yahshua satisfied the curses and penalties of the Law so we have access to our Heavenly Father. Beyond that, the entire creation awaits the fulfillment of ALL of Yahweh’s promises, the Patriarchs, the Christians, even Messiah Himself is waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool. Not one promise has been completely filled full . . . yet.
I end this response with the following verse we came across in fellowship yesterday, during Sabbath. Revelation 14:12 (NKJV) “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of Yahweh and the faith of Yahshua.” You see, John believes that those who walk in the faith of our Messiah also walk in Yahweh’s commandments. It’s not an either/or proposition, it’s AND, always has been, always will be. Without a framework of law, we have nothing but anarchy. This misunderstanding of Yahweh’s grace may explain why the Church is such a mess today.
We only do one thing to GET saved, turn to Yahshua in repentance and faith. But once we ARE saved, we enter the whole realm of discipleship, persecution, and suffering for His Name’s sake. Is that why most Christians choose to disobey Yahweh? afraid of suffering shame and humiliation for Yahshua? I got saved back in 1973. It’s been a long and winding road since then. I’ve been praying for persecution to come to America for about 40 years now. We need it to grow up. I believe my prayers may be finally answered in 2013 CE.
Blessings in the Kingdom,
Gene Benjamin II
February 17, 2013 CE