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Ex-legalist #42364
Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:32 PM
Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:32 PM
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Posts: 82
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Jacy Offline OP
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There's a forum for Ex-Charasmatics - is there a support group for ex-legalists? laugh Nah, just kidding really, but have any of you come from a legalistic background?

I was raised in a very legalistic atmosphere (Independant Baptist brand) and find that I still have so many of those tendancies and thinking, some that are lurking beneath the surface that catch me by surprise sometimes. It has been a struggle at times, especially in the beginning, to handle and balance the new-found freedom I have. One would want to take great caution and not let the pendelum swing entirely the other way to the extreme of Antinomianism. I am having to "retrain" my thinking to some degree, now knowing what I know God has really said. He has been so faithful in continuing to reveal His truth and expose the doctrines of man as such to me.

Do any of you have any helpful thoughts for a recovering legalist? help

Re: Ex-legalist [Re: Jacy] #42366
Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:42 PM
Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:42 PM
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Peter Offline
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Jacy I am sure many of us here can relate. Although I've not come from a IFB church I had the same type of legalism or if you will pietism shoved down my throat in the guise of "this is what true sanctification looks like" or "real Christians don't: . . . " Old habits are hard to unlearn and we all have the tendency to swing too far to one extreme if we don't have people in our lives that help keep us in check. If your now in a good church which teach the correct view of sanctification learn from them. There is also a large amount of articles on sanctification on the Highway go here and click on the Praxis button scroll down to the articles on Sanctification.


Peter

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
Re: Ex-legalist [Re: Peter] #42378
Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:29 PM
Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:29 PM
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Jacy Offline OP
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Yes, much of the legalism we had was not so much "you're going to hell if you do that", but rather a critical judgemental assessment of one who did such and such a thing. A critique of spirituality or the lack thereof, if you will. The focus was on externals and the more hard hitting internals were ignored, and thus violated habitually.

One thing I found common in these churches was widespread gossip and slander. scratchchin shrug


And thank you for the link - there is so much reading for me to do!

Last edited by Jacy; Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:30 PM.
Re: Ex-legalist [Re: Jacy] #42388
Sun May 03, 2009 12:35 AM
Sun May 03, 2009 12:35 AM
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Peter Offline
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As to the links think nothing of it I just happened to the first one who pointed you to them. I am sure Paul, Pilgrim, Kyle, or any of the other would have done the same I just happened to beat them to the punch so to speak. Please enjoy the reading you will find you can learn much from what Pilgrim has so graciously placed here on the internet.


Peter

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
Re: Ex-legalist [Re: Peter] #42710
Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:10 PM
Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:10 PM
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Hi Jacy,

I think I know you from another board....I cam across a good article on Legalism vs. Obedience on the site a Puritan's Mind. http://www.apuritansmind.com/Tracts%20and%20Writings/LegalismAndObedience.htm

I think the Puritans were often viewed as either extremely obedient, holy and God honoring or extremely legalistic depending on who you speak to.


I read a book by RC Sproul and I kind of got the idea from his words that he would think nothing of playing a round of golf on Sunday (he thinks recreation on the Lord's Day is a permitted mode of rest and he is a golf enthusiast).

I would be interested in starting a seperate thread on the Puritans to see what people think about them.

AC


The mercy of God is necessary not only when a person repents, but even to lead him to repent, Augustine

Re: Ex-legalist [Re: AC.] #42725
Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:53 AM
Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:53 AM
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Jacy Offline OP
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Hi A.C. - Yes I know you! Good to see you again! And thanks for posting this article.

McMahon gives an accurate definition of legalism:

Quote
To define Legalism in a Biblical way would be to say "any person who takes the Law and uses it in a way which would merit salvation". Legalism is an attempt at salvation.


Strictly speaking, any attempts to "do" or perform any works in order to achieve salvation is indeed legalism, and sadly, I'm sure there are many who are trusting in their own observances rather than the finished work of Christ.

There are those, however, who adhere to man-made rules and judge others who don't, but they don't view the keeping of those rules as necessary to their salvation, so I suppose they would not fall under the definition of legalists? The churches/people who I think of as legalistic in nature are those who have sets of rules which cannot be found in scripture, and they judge, criticize, shun, and look down their noses at those who do not conform to those same outward rules. They do not, however, teach that the keeping of those rules lead to salvation, but they do *conclude* (read judge) that a person who does not keep them is showing that in reality they are not of the kingdom. In other words, you don't have to do or refrain from xyz, but IF you are truly a child of God, you will. So technically they are not teaching that these things are necessary for salvation, but they look at them more as "proofs" that one is really saved. They are very rigid and strict in their views on these man made rules and do not allow anyone's conscience in them even though they cannot show from scripture where they arrived at such doctrines of belief.

I'm not sure what category these folks would fall in, whether they would be considered to be legalistic or not. shrug

To be a believer is to be obedient to Christ, as Jesus said if we love Him we will keep His commandments, and that's what I long to do with all my heart. Where I am right now is trying to study and discern what exactly are Christ's commandments and what are man's. I grew up with a whip over my head and taught to believe that all the "man of God" said is to be believed and obeyed. In God's gracious workings in my life, however, I have found that much of what these so-called men of God say is not what God has said. I would be a follower of God and not of man.

Re: Ex-legalist [Re: Jacy] #42731
Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:07 PM
Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:07 PM
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Well Jacy,

That is probably psuedo or quasi legalism or legalism by association - LOL!




But in all seriousness, you are very wise and very right on! Very keen observations. I've struggled mightily with these same issues. I think we can get hung up on externals. But in truth, the convert will battle the old man that lies within for supremacy. But it will happen naturally. Temporal things are all fine and good but I think a dwelling on the things above will increase more and more as we grow in grace and produce an increase consciouness of spiritual things that will replace the trivial. But again, it should happen naturally and not be an attempt to comply with man-made sanctions.

You may want to send a private message to Pilgrim on this issue..... he seems to really strike that balance and he has helped me personally.

AC

Last edited by AC.; Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:08 PM.

The mercy of God is necessary not only when a person repents, but even to lead him to repent, Augustine

Re: Ex-legalist [Re: Jacy] #42734
Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:43 PM
Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:43 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,526
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Pilgrim Offline

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Originally Posted by Jacy
Where I am right now is trying to study and discern what exactly are Christ's commandments and what are man's.

Jacy,

May I make a suggestion by way of a question? Consider the following: 'Are "Christ's commandments" different than His Father's commandments?' Put another way, 'Are the laws God the Father commanded which ALL men are to heed different from Christ's commandments and/or different from those laws which God writes upon the hearts of all believers along with the ability and desire to keep them?'

In His grace,


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Re: Ex-legalist [Re: Pilgrim] #42735
Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:20 PM
Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:20 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 82
USA
Jacy Offline OP
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Jacy  Offline OP
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USA
Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Originally Posted by Jacy
Where I am right now is trying to study and discern what exactly are Christ's commandments and what are man's.

Jacy,

May I make a suggestion by way of a question? Consider the following: 'Are "Christ's commandments" different than His Father's commandments?' Put another way, 'Are the laws God the Father commanded which ALL men are to heed different from Christ's commandments and/or different from those laws which God writes upon the hearts of all believers along with the ability and desire to keep them?'

In His grace,


Hmm...........interesting question and I'm not sure where you're going with it. Since Christ and His Father are one, there would be no conflict or contradiction in commands, right? I look at God's commands and Christ's both being binding upon me, the believer, knowing that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ do not have the ability nor the desire to obey. They are held accountable nonetheless.

The difference I see is that some of God's commands were given to the Jews, though, as opposed to Christ's commands that were given to all believers. So how do we know which laws applied to the Jews only, which are not directed to us, other than what the Jerusalem counsel decided, namely that the only requirements of the Jewish law were to be abstinence from sexual immorality, things polluted by idols, things strangled, and from blood?

What do you mean by "laws which God writes upon the hearts of all believers"? Is there another law God gives other than His Word? I know Paul talks about the fact the God has given evidence of His existence in creation through general revelation (Romans 1:18-21)

Re: Ex-legalist [Re: Jacy] #42736
Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:40 PM
Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:40 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,526
NH, USA
Pilgrim Offline

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Originally Posted by Jacy
The difference I see is that some of God's commands were given to the Jews, though, as opposed to Christ's commands that were given to all believers. So how do we know which laws applied to the Jews only, which are not directed to us, other than what the Jerusalem counsel decided, namely that the only requirements of the Jewish law were to be abstinence from sexual immorality, things polluted by idols, things strangled, and from blood?

Those laws which were given to Israel as a Theocracy and which are no longer binding upon the New Testament Israel, i.e., the Church are the Civil and Ceremonial Laws since they were given as a "schoolmaster/tutor" until the coming of Christ. (cf. Gal 3:23, 24) But the Moral law is that which is written upon the hearts of all men to which they are accountable, those laws which were finally put into writing by the very finger of God on Mt. Sinai (aka: Ten Commandments), and that which is impressed upon the heart of every true believer. For more, see here: The Christian and the Moral Law. bigglasses

Originally Posted by Jacy
What do you mean by "laws which God writes upon the hearts of all believers"? Is there another law God gives other than His Word? I know Paul talks about the fact the God has given evidence of His existence in creation through general revelation (Romans 1:18-21)

See above... it is the Moral Law which is written on the heart of every man.

Romans 5:12-14 (ASV) "Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned:-- for until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam's transgression, who is a figure of him that was to come."

Paul's point in this little parenthesis is that without law there is no sin because sin is the transgression of the law. Death is the result of sin and since all men sin they die. And, thus all men had the law before it was given to Moses. One of the easiest examples to see and understand is in regard to the murder of Abel by his brother Cain. When confronted by God he was afraid that he would be punished and killed by others when they found him. Without the existence of a law, either written or inherent, Cain would have had no guilt over the killing of his brother nor any fear of being "punished" for what he had done. grin

In His grace,


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simul iustus et peccator

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