Timothy: Let’s talk about likable legalism.
Intro: Welcome to the Consider Podcast where we turn our minds to consider wisdom, madness and folly. Join the host Timothy and Jacob on a quest to have God enlighten the mind according to verse 25 of Ecclesiastes chapter 7. So, I turned my mind to understand. To investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly. Ecclesiastes 7:25. The Consider Podcast examining today’s events and Paulorrow’s realities at www.consider.info.
Timothy: It’s pop quiz time for Jacob. This is probably a little bit more than a pop quiz. Got a couple questions for you, Jacob. What is legalism?
Jacob: Legalism is following the letter of the law. It’s legally what is set down to do and you just follow it.
Timothy: Okay. If I gave out a pop quiz to a church and said, write down the definition of legalism and provide two examples of what legalism is. What do you think? You think the church is rich in knowledge about what legalism is or not?
Jacob: Is this a dictionary definition or is this like legalism according to the Bible?
Timothy: I can tell when Sound Doctorin’ Church is around. We did a few pop quizzes didn’t we? You’re asking question. I’m not going to anymore. But you know by now.
Jacob: Well, yeah but that’s a valid question because well because but church…
Timothy: I set the scene. I said church, in church passed it out. So, clearly it could or could not be a worldly definition or not. Just simple question. Because as we follow Jesus Christ the warnings are like every, oh don’t fall into legalism, right?
Timothy: Every time I mention a scripture people go, oh legalism or the law or you’re trying to earn your salvation it’s all kind of wrapped under that word legalism. So, clearly everybody has a very solid deep understanding of that word legalism, because who wants to fall into legalism. Legalism kills our faith. Legalism what? Destroys us. So, really there shouldn’t be any ignorance out there about what legalism is unless I’m just a mistaken pastor or former preacher I should or I’m a preacher not a pastor. Alright, so now that you’ve long enough and got me on a little sermon at there. What is legalism?
Jacob: Well, I’m still sticking by my go-to definition.
Timothy: Okay. So, it’s the letter of the law and you got to keep it no matter what.
Timothy: That’s it.
Jacob: That you’re going to you’re going to follow it regardless of the circumstances or things that are happening around you. You will obey no matter what and you’re following it. It’s the law. It’s the law.
Timothy: Okay. Alright. Pressing on. You know who Saul is or Paul, right? In the New Testament?
Timothy: Did he his legalism? Because he was a legalistic Pharisee, correct?
Jacob: Well, okay, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
Timothy: No, no, no, no. You can’t change your answer now.
Jacob: No, no, no.
Timothy: I don’t have a question.
Jacob: No, but are we, is the question, does did Saul like his legalism or did Paul like his legalism. Two very different things.
Timothy: You got me on that one. I like that but pressing on with straining on the camera. Did Saul before he became Paul like his legalism.
Jacob: He loved it.
Timothy: He loved it indeed. Did the Pharisees like their legalism?
Jacob: Oh yeah, they liked it too.
Timothy: Did the Sadducees like their legalism?
Jacob: They liked it too.
Timothy: Alright, so since that is true and we’re talking about likable legalism, what if I told you the vast majority of people claiming to be Christians and the vast or majority of churches like their legal. And they don’t by definition define it as keeping the letter of the law no matter what. I mean that’s certainly one aspect of what you might consider legalism and that’s what we begin to think of. Because you look at the Pharisees, they’re kind of holding Jesus to that letter of the law, you broke the Sabbath. You did that. So, that is a valid statement but it goes deeper that. Because Saul didn’t run around and the Pharisees said around with just every minute little thing. I mean they kept a lot of things. Don’t get me wrong. But I don’t know that the definition is no matter what. In other words, they’re going to pick and choose as time goes on. I’m a little bit off topic here. But they like their legalism. So, there is a likable legalism, correct?
Jacob: Oh yeah, it’s comfortable. It’s not surprising, you already know that this is how things work, and we’re going to follow it, and if you don’t deviate from it, you’re safe.
Timothy: Got it. Doesn’t that sound like most people who say, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and I’m saved.
Timothy: It’s a legal statement. They wouldn’t call it legalism but that’s where it is. This is my tenant. This is my legal. You can’t get pass that. If I come in and go, well, no, you need to be water baptized to be saved or you need to be obedient over here. They would say, no. That my statement is I am saved. I asked Jesus in my heart. So, it is a legalistic statement that is bound across all levels of activity and discussion about Jesus, right?
Jacob: Yes, and then different churches have their version of it of what you should do whether it’s to be saved or to stay right with God. Yeah, everybody has there’s a list. Every denomination, every group, there’s sort of this pretense. Is it pretense the right word? For yeah. What you should do and if you do these things, you are good to go.
Timothy: You got it. And so most people have likable legalism.
Timothy: And they look down on Everybody else’s legalism as being legalistic but they themselves are committing the same thing. They are being legalistic. The Catholics look at the Protestants and go well you don’t do all of these things and of course the Protestant looks at the Catholics and say well you don’t do all these things. They all have their legalistic or legal bindings, doctrines, whatever. However, you want to we’re going to get into the definition of so that we really understand. Well, what is legalistic then? What makes something legalistic? Let me hone in on.
Let’s go to Philippians 6:3 and get a few scriptures kind of under our belt here before we dive into this and I doubt we’re going to be able to cover this all-in-one show. The question was, did Paul or Saul like his legalism and Jacob, you are absolutely correct. Saul liked his legalism but Paul did not. That comes about later on obviously when Paul becomes a disciple of Jesus. Go ahead and read Philippians chapter 3 verses 6 & 7.
Jacob: “As for zeal persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ”.
Timothy: A likable legalism is first of all to our profit. It benefits us in some way. The holy spirit comes along to somebody who says, I’ve just asked Jesus Christ as Lord and savior. I’m saved. I’m good to go or I bring in, let’s talk about hunger and thirsting for righteousness and being obedient to everything. And they go, well, no it doesn’t do with my salvation. So, who does it prop at that point to hold on to a particular doctrine in the face of all other doctrines?
Jacob: The person who’s spouting off the doctrine that they’re holding onto. There’s a reason they’re holding on to it.
Timothy: That is correct. The reason obviously we’re going to get to in a moment is it benefits themselves. It’s to their selfish prophet. It’s amazing in verse 6, Paul will say, “As for zeal persecuting the church”. You often see that in people that are truly legal which is really the vast majority of people. They will persecute or prosecute or go after those who actually walk by the Holy Spirit, but the next verse is very interesting. “As for legalistic righteousness”, look at what he says. Faultless. It’s kind of an amazing statement. I don’t know about you but when I think about somebody being legalistic in all the old law, I don’t usually come to the conclusion, well, they’re faultless in it. Do you?
Jacob: Correct. That’s a strong word.
Timothy: It’s an amazing word really that you have. So, the point here is that in churches, they lay down everything they can live. And it never goes any further. That’s why you find people picking whatever their doctrines are becoming legalistic and being a to live it and do it because it’s to their profit and the certain codes and certain things that are set down and that’s all that you do. They could say, I’m faultless in it, until Jesus Christ comes along. The Pharisees, did they like their legalism? Look at Luke chapter 16 verse 14. The answer is obvious. Of course, they like their legalism. The Pharisees who loved money, there’s always something behind it. Always something that you get. It’s for self. It’s for profit who loved money heard all these things and were sneering at Jesus. So, there’s great profit in being a legalistic.
Timothy: Or having a likable. We see this all the time in TV ministries and in larger mega churches or whatever. There’s a huge profit in being a false prophet and having legalistic concepts or turning even Jesus Christ and we’re going to get to that here in a little bit. Turning Jesus Christ into a legalistic belief because it’s benefiting self in some way and the cross is gone from it. So, I’m hinting at what the problem is what the true definition of being legalistic is. In Matthew chapter 6:5, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they receive the reward in full”.
There is a legalistic approach to scripture. There is a legalistic approach that is likable when it comes to a relationship with God. It can profit you in terms of money. It can profit you feeling righteous. You can actually be doing it and living it and you can be seen by other people as you pray and as you do your work, oh he’s a really Godly person or a Godly woman or man or whatever is going on. It benefits us and what makes us as a hypocrite is that we turn Jesus Christ. We turn the New Testament into a likable legalism that we can live and enjoy. To the average Joe in the Old Testament and there are no average Joe’s in the Old Testament, enjoy and like legalism Jacob?
Jacob: Yeah, most people, I’m sure most of the Israelites I guess did.
Timothy: Not only most of the people but most of the people most of the time. Go ahead and read second Kings chapter 12 verses 2 & 3.
Jacob: Second Kings. 12, 2 & 3.
Jacob: “Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jediah the priest instructed him. The high places however were not removed. The people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there”.
Timothy: We don’t have time to discover and examine what the high places are. What I’m wanting us to see at this point is that the people had and reserved for themselves a set of worship, a set of code, a way of setting things down, a legalism if you will, at the high places and they continue to offer their sacrifices and their burdens and it gave them pleasure. They benefited from this. God simply was not enough or phrased probably a little bit better, obedience to the living God was something they did not want to attempt. They wanted the law. Remember the golden calf, Moses up on the mountain, he’s getting the commandments and they’re going, ‘We don’t wear this fellow Moses is at’. He comes down with the law and they’ve got a golden calf in the name of Jesus or in the name of God and they’re all worshiping dancing having a good time. Our flesh benefits from a likable legalism. It can be gold and shiny and look all spiritual, but it is still legalism is our set of codes benefit us. Solomon even did the same thing. Go to first Kings chapter 3 verse 3. Go ahead and read that in verse 3.
Jacob: First Kings 3:3. “Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the statutes of his Father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places”.
Timothy: Are you getting it? That we hold back even in within churches. Jesus will say to the 7 churches in Asia. I rebuke those whom I love. So be earnest and repent. It comes natural to us to lay down unlikable legalism that we can live by. For example, when I first started following the Lord, I’ve talked about this before, I can’t tell you the number of TVs that I threw out. I’d sat down for me. Okay, I mean, drawn to this. It’s taking me away from cheese. I’m going to throw it away. So, I throw away the TV and there we do this a lot. We do this a lot. You know, I’m going to get my quiet time every day at 8 o’clock. That’s legalistic, is it not?
Timothy: Now, eventually, what I discovered through that obviously and God wants us to go through that is the futility of our likable legalism. I needed to throw the TV away in order that it would drive me to God. In other words, the failure to really overcome drove me to God and now obviously with the computer age and the whole bit. So, God’s done a purity in the heart and in the soul and the spirit and you learn how to wrestle it out. So, that the purity and the righteousness of Jesus Christ surpasses the law. Now a lot of people are going to think, there’s no way he lives that. You just got to follow Jesus Christ to discover. There really is a power out there to be clean and all your little legalistic rules, though you might like them and they make you feel spirit will not in the end produce the righteous Jesus Christ because you and your selfishness and your religious self are benefiting from the action that you’re taking.
So, you try to walk according to Statue of David. Very hard to do as Solomon did. But that gets a little difficult, so then you have your little relief over here. You have your other sacrifices, your other prayers, your other burnt incense, your other high places. The other parts in your heart and your flesh, you don’t want God to deal with and that’s a key element that we’ll get to pretty soon. We don’t want God to deal with them so we lay down a likable legalism that we can live with. We don’t want the cross that comes with the power of the spirit but we’ll pick up a cross by which we lay down a likable legalism. That’s why a lot of churches who talk about the cross and we’ll talk about denying self and all those things, don’t experience it. They’ve turned it into a likable legalism. I’ve said a lot there, Jacob. Anything you want to add that or have me clarify.
Jacob: No, that makes sense.
Timothy: Back to the question then, what is legalism? Can you give me another little definition or we kind of stuck at that point?
Jacob: Well, in light of everything said, but see that’s where too like if people have this legalistic view what but then that’s yeah, legalism is whatever they fashioned it to be. So, like true, I think I would still stick with the definition that like true legalism is boom, boom, boom. Following the letter of the law, because even Solomon I mean he was following the statues of his father David. Well, the law had already been written that you weren’t supposed to chase after other Gods. And so, if he’s offering sacrifices he’s sacrificing to some other God. So, he actually wasn’t even he wasn’t legalistic enough to even be legalistic. He was only legalistic in some things.
Timothy: Well, see okay now you’re getting down to the point. Likeable legalism is more like pirate guidelines.
Jacob: Correct. It’s whatever you want to do.
Timothy: Correct. So, let’s say somebody has the legalistic law that TVs are evil and you should not have one in your house.
Timothy: They might bend that for some other rule or some other situation and that’s how they get busted in terms of the law. For instance, at home, okay, no TVs, evil kids can ever see them blah blah blah and I’m not saying that it’s not a good thing. Just better be hearing from God. Alright, but then you go to church and they’re playing a TV, movie, or something that’s spiritual and everybody watch it. You follow what I’m saying? There’s a touches of what you’re saying but then they would also say, well, you know, they’d have some excuse to get out from underneath that law. So, the definition of legalism just being you keep that no matter what. You yourself are seeing that not a full definition. It’s certainly a part definition but not a full definition, correct?
Jacob: A really good example is money just like the other scripture we saw about how the Pharisees loved money because every Christian will be like, oh you shouldn’t love money, the love of money is evil. You know what I mean? But then guess what? Everybody is hoarding something for themselves. Whether it’s pure money they want in their bank account or they’re using that money to buy whatever they want. So, there you know what I mean? And if you were actually legalistic and like giving everything to Jesus you would be hating despising money but no one does. Everybody’s holding their keys for themselves.
Timothy: Correct. That would be, that’s not a likable legalism.
Jacob: That is not. But people but people say you know what I mean? But people have this appearance of like oh yeah, I don’t love money but then they actually do.
Timothy: Correct. They’ll say for themselves. Mostly that’s what it’s for. So yeah, it’s anytime you I bring up hating despising money then that’s when they come out and go well then did you sell everything and give everything away and then we go down the line with one thing.
Timothy: Here’s the definition of legalism. You ready? You got no Tandy or you know, put it. Here’s the definition. It is us living scriptures.
Timothy: That’s all legalism is. It’s us. The power of the flesh, the power of man, my mind, my religious self-living scripture. What is the law? What’s the definition of the law? And I’m not to go into all the Greek and the Hebrew. You want that? You can get it somewhere else. Here’s a definition of being under the law. It is us applying the morals of our legalism to what we’re doing or not doing. Let me go to Romans chapter 10 to see if I can clarify this just a little bit more. Go to Romans chapter 10 verse 5, because it gives us a definition of what legalism or the law is. It’s really pretty simple yet it’s very difficult to understand and grasp because we are prone to likable legalism. Our simple nature loves it. We want, you even see this now as the world kind of descends into complete moral chaos. You even have people that are not Christians touting things that are Christian like. You follow? Because we want a basic moral foundation but has nothing to do with being transformed or being made different or the spirit doing it. It’s a likable legalism. We just we want that aspect of it. So, Romans 10:5, I’ll let you read it and then if you want, go ahead and just keep defining what legalism is.
Jacob: “Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: “The man who does these things will live by them”.
Timothy: Anything you want to say to that? Go ahead.
Jacob: Well, the man who does these things will live by them. So, well, but that’s where if someone is being, well, I guess legalism would be obedience to the law, because you’re actually following the law versus everybody who’s bending the law and/or doing the law plus whatever else that they want to do. But a true legalistic person actually obeys it, or because in this case, will live by. You would do it.
Timothy: Stretch your definition of legalism or the law a little further out. You’re honed in on the law or legalism being the Old Testament requirements. Picture this in a local church that has certain requirements of what it means to reflect being a Christian. That’s their legalism. In other words, you go to join a church and they usually have a list of beliefs or whatever you go through, right?
Timothy: And what they’re saying, will you live by them? Will these things, it could be the most loosey-goosey legalism out there. We tend to look at legalism as this narrow-minded tight rule. Well, you go to UPC Church downtown Seattle. Their legalism is liberalism. It’s so far out there. Now, do they have certain perimeters? Sure, you bet they do. I couldn’t walk in with the gospel. That would be legalism as far as they’re concerned because of their legalism, their law is so liberal that they can live by them. No, they’re just not interested in a saw kind of legalism that encompasses every day and how you dress and what you do over here and how you read, things like. So, it’s not the tightness of the law we’re looking at here. We’re looking at what is law so that we can understand that we can turn the things of Jesus Christ into likable legalism.
Jacob: Oh yeah, it’s just like you always use the phrase “Cultural Christianity”. Every church, you go into the church and there’s this culture. There’s this is how we do things and this is how we say things and there’s this culture of how we live it and that culture is then usually supposedly justified by cherry picking scriptures but nevertheless, it’s their culture. It’s their law. Whatever that is, you follow it and you’re safe.
Timothy: You’re right on target. It’s their culture of legalism.
Timothy: It’s the principles, the laws, the concepts. They call it believe is part of the reason we’re having here is most churches don’t want to go these are legalistic requirements for joining this church. Because the word “legalism” is so hostile. No, but supposedly everybody that’s not believing what they believe is legalistic which means you’re doomed. So, you’re not going to label your doctrinal beliefs as these are our likable legalism. I’m talking about the truth of what’s kind of going on. Go to Galatians Chapter 4 verse 9. “All a law is a principle. Thou shalt not kill.” I’m not telling you that’s not a law but it’s a principle. Meaning you have to build on well how does this come out? What does it look like? How should it be done? What about war? All those questions that kind of rage, right? Or thou shalt not use the Lord thy God’s name in vain.
And so, you’ve got some people that will spell God as G-D. That’s how it comes out. But the initial statement is rather broad in its statement. It’s kind of a principle. I don’t want demean what Moses did. It was the law. The principles are solid thing. Am I clear on that before I read more of the scripture there?
Jacob: Well because, but I guess if we’re, so if we are talking about Old Testament law some things were super, super, super specific and you couldn’t really get around them because it was what it meant. And then other things were more general, so then how you lived it was or could be debatable I guess that there’s different ways to sort of obey a particular law.
Timothy: You’re talking about different weights of the law.
Timothy: Meaning, that everything you just said is true. You go into a church they believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior and the son of God. Those are solid things. I’m not trying to apply that to principle. They’re solid. It all comes encompassed under the word legalistic or law that it’s set down. Even the principles are more like laws. I’m honing in a little bit too much. Read Galatians 4:9 or I’ll go ahead and read it. What I’m talking about Is you can go by a lot of Christian books on the principles of worshiping, on the principle of succeeding, on the principle of church leadership, on the principle of what music should, I don’t know if you can find that. When you get my point, it’s all principles.
And Paul will write to the Galatians in chapter 4 verse 9, “But now that you know God”, we have to rise above the likeable legal to know God. Or as he says, “Or rather are known by God– how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles?” We’re talking about faith in Jesus Christ we’re talking about knowing God and God knowing us and yet they’re turning back to principles to those weak and miserable things. It’s when you lay down, these are the principles of what it means to be a Christian. Remember what the law is? It is us applying scripture. So, we lay down 15 principles of good stewardship with money, right? And we begin to apply that as we see fit. Those are weak and miserable principles. When what we should be seeing is pick up your cross, hate and despise money and God will begin to work out how that is done. Are you getting a glimpse there of what the difference is between a principle and a law and following Jesus Christ by way of the cross?
Jacob: Yes. I have a question.
Timothy: Hold it, and let me kind of reemphasize one point again. The principles of good stewardship. You put the money in savings or you give to charity. It’s all laid out. It’s all laid down certain loosey-goosey kind of rules about this is how you succeed or this will honor God and those that’s manageable. You keep your savings. You feel good about yourself. You see what you’re doing. All of that. It’s a miserable principle. The principle is hate and despise money. Don’t know what your left or right hand is doing and only that the Holy Ghost will work. Nobody has a likable principle that says, okay, I’m going to hate and despise money. Knowing, knowing for well, you can go home in the prayer clause and God says, okay, give it all away now today this moment. Alright, go ahead with your comment or question.
Jacob: Well, so we’ve done a while back, we did a show on a couple, shows on John the Baptist. So, some people though when you first come to Christ shouldn’t, you should sort of follow certain things. You should make way for that cross. Just like you in the beginning you’re throwing out the TV, you’re sort of following this the letter of the law, oh I’m being enslaved this, I’m being trapped by this, I’m going to get rid of this thing to make way for the cross, correct? At least as a baby Christian, there’s certain things you should be putting effort to do, right?
Timothy: You are correct in all of those things. The key to what you’re really saying is it’s time to grow up.
Timothy: The principle you set down for children that you’re raising, don’t go here or don’t, you go to bed at 8:30. That starts to change or should start to change as they mature and then they know what you want as a father and that part doesn’t become an issue. It’s not even a principle or a law that you go to bed at 8:30, it’s just becomes part of who they are to get proper sleep and that maybe 8:30 or may not. But you are absolutely correct. In the very beginning, a person considering John the Baptist kind of baptism goes back home and says, okay, what is keeping Jesus Christ from getting to me and you get rid of all those things. But as you follow the disciples is Jesus called the disciples, was he not maturing them in one thing that they could not do anything.
Jacob: Correct. They were always wrong.
Timothy: They were always wrong. The flesh was always failing. I see Jesus’ walking in water Peter says, oh Lord, if that’s you tell me to come on out there walk in it. In a weird kind of way he’s setting, okay, a principle of faith and I believe but what he’s teaching Peter is that you cannot rely upon yourself and that’s a slow process. That’s why we like likable legalism. We can control it. It’s easy. It makes life simple and comfortable because once you become a Christian, you don’t know when he’s going to call you to walk on water or when he’s going to tell you to get out of bed or when he’s going to tell you to go to bed, you begin to follow the Holy Spirit and so you keep the law and you surpass the law because you’re following Jesus Christ. When we reduce books down and sermons down and discussions down to the principles of Godliness, you’re lost. You’re doomed. You’re walking as a child as an infant. In fact, Paul will say that if we get to the scripture today. You’re thinking like mere infants. Any other comment?
Timothy: Most people do not mature past likable principles.
Timothy: Lets go to Isaiah chapter 28 verse 13 and you see that because you can’t discuss anything deeper than their miserable principles. Their likable legalism is all they live by. They’ve got it in a nice little box. It’s written down. It’s in their little quiet time. They highlight it in their Bible. You know, it’s very tight. It’s very compact. It’s comfortable. They can live it. Okay, let me let me kind of rephrase this way. Jacob, who sets down a likable legalism that they don’t enjoy living?
Timothy: Nobody does. Of course, that’s the nature of the definition. A likable legalism means you got to like it. But I don’t know, you never find people bringing me unless it’s going to feed their self-righteous in some way like, oh you know, I fast you know as a principle 7 days a week or whatever you do yourself is bending from it and that’s the problem. Isaiah 28 verse 13. I have actually seen this verse used in a positive way. It kind of swept through the church and it may still be. I don’t know. I’m kind of out of touch with what’s moving on.
In Isaiah 28:13 God comes he says, “So then, the word of the Lord to them will become”. Because they won’t listen to his voice what will the word of the Lord become. “Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule a little here, a little there- so that they will go and fall backward, be injured snared and captured”. It’s likable legalism. It’s a little bit here and a little bit here. It’s never the complete surrender to follow Jesus Christ. That’s not even complicated here. It’s do and do and then, okay. Okay, here’s the 10 principles of good stewardship. Oh well, here’s 12 or here’s this rule over here or if you do this, God will do this over here. A little bit of here and a little bit there. It’s controllable. It’s manageable and it’s judgement. God is saying because you will not follow my voice because you will not pick up your cross. Will you not give up everything? You will fall backward, be injured in and captured. There’s a lot of Christians that are injured, that are snared, that are captured in sin, or falling backward because what they lived was legalism, a legalism that they liked. Comments?
Jacob: Yeah. The other thing, nowadays too though it’s many people’s legalism is so not legalism, because they don’t, you know what I mean? The legalism is so weak. You’re absolutely correct. And everybody does it in some way or another. But you know what I mean? There’s a lot of modern-day churches that their legalism is except Jesus as your Lord and Savior and they’re like that’s it. So, it’s so small.
Timothy: I know that’s why you’re frustrated because I mean coming with the definition because legalism by nature implies at least obedience.
Timothy: But again, you have to see their legalism is I believe on Jesus so I don’t have to do anything else.
Jacob: Correct. But that’s, I’m just saying that like yeah, it’s you’re absolutely correct except nowadays most of the church, they don’t, there’s hardly even anything to like, you know what I mean? They avoid so much. Since they say everything is legalism, then there is like no legalism other than the legalism that you shouldn’t be legalistic. That is their legalism. The law is don’t follow any laws. It’s weird.
Jacob: Isn’t it?
Timothy: It’s weird. The legalism is this. Their legalism is if I suggest any obedience, that’s legalism.
Jacob: Oh, yeah. Exactly. Yeah. Their definition.
Timothy: Our number one legalism is with Christian music, if you suggest I actually have to be holy or obey anything, you’re under legalism. That’s my legalism.
Jacob: Yeah, that’s the legalism.
Timothy: Alright. Legalism then, let me try and give a little broader and then I’m going to give you a couple examples. Legalism displaces God from being in control all. Legalism takes God off the throne. Jesus comes along and says, you have to be good steward with money, right? Instead of seeking God, you seek to be Godly by laying down principles of being a good steward.
Jacob: You set out to do it yourself.
Timothy: That is correct.
Timothy: You displace God off the throne and you keep yourself on the throne. And the one reason we do this of course, the commands of Jesus Christ cannot be lived. It’s impossible. It needs the holy spirit’s power to be obedient. In order to get that, you have to hate your own life and so on and so forth the full gospel. What they’re trying to do is avoid the sufferings of Christ. That’s what they don’t want. Likable legalism, it’s hard for me to even say. Keeps us from having to suffer with Christ. We might suffer for our belief. We might be Sadducee against Pharisee or now the government’s coming across against anybody who even claims to be a Christian. You might suffer some things, but it’s not the sufferings of Jesus Christ. It’s you applied Scripture and you paid the price for those scriptures.
It’s do and do, rule on rule, you’ll fall backward, you’ll be injured, you’ll be captured because you were doing these things. You had your likable legalism and God is using the government to strip that away. The minute you surrender to Jesus Christ, then his joys and his sufferings come at you but you can’t control them. There is no principle. Jesus Christ comes to me. I’m going to use suffering because most people would probably accept the joy. They come with the suffering Christ. Oh no, no, no I’ve got this rule over here that I got to get as much sleep as possible or I got to go jogging or my liberalism will keep the sufferings of the cross away. You follow what I’m saying?
Timothy: Okay, so you have a false Jesus, a smiling jack Jesus. It doesn’t involve carrying a cross to follow him. It is us applying scripture when we like, how we like, and to the depth of what we like. This is why you see so much picking and choosing of scriptures in the Bible. They’ll quote these over here, but they will not quote these over here with the same equal love. For instance, go to Philippians 4:13. I know you can go by plaque, and the major with this is go to your local bookstore or go online and type in “Christian plaques”, and see what the sayings are. And you tell me is there a balance between and I’m going to word this in a worldly way between the negative aspects and the positive aspects, or is it all the positive things that likable legalism would like to enjoy. This is our principle.
Jacob: It’s the positive.
Timothy: Of course, go ahead and read Philippians 4:13.
Jacob: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength”.
Timothy: Could you buy plaque on that?
Jacob: Yes, you can.
Timothy: I didn’t look up because I won’t take the time. I assume you can buy potholes with that on that. You can get all kind, I pretty stream mountain this and I can.
Jacob: I’m sure there’s, I’m sure it’s on a mug somewhere. A coffee mug.
Timothy: It’s on a mug. The biggest one. The biggest one of course is Coach Christianity sporting events. I can do all things through Christ. By the way, I just want to add a sudden note here on this likable legalism. They all quote this on sports things, right? Am I right on that?
Jacob: I don’t even know, but I’m sure they do.
Timothy: Now for the of argument. I’ll say, I’m correct. They pray, okay, team, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. Somebody ought to raise their hand and go, well, if that’s true, the first will be last and the last will be first. So, are you telling us we need to intentionally lose this game?
Jacob: You don’t have to practice. You’re not, if it were not in a football game, you don’t have to practice. You don’t have to work out. You don’t have to do anything. If the strength is truly coming from him.
Timothy: Well, okay. Well, certainly, if you got, you could do that. It because if you know the end goal is to lose the game.
Timothy: Now, preaching it from a kind of a weird kind of way. No, no, we want to exercise. We want to be strong because we want to lose really powerfully.
Timothy: I know what you’re saying. Real strength, I mean that that scripture in a real power would be if I played on football game and was the best out there that might be true. Alright, deviate a little bit. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Everybody loves to quote that but what about first Corinthians 4:11? What’s Paul talking about? Is this a likable legalism that I can put this on my refrigerator and say, oh see kids, you can do everything in Christ, through Christ who gives you strength. That means you have the power to go make your bed and you have the power. And it just benefits us, not Jesus Christ because who quotes first Corinthians 4:11 and I’ll let you read that when Jacob. What does Paul mean by, I can do everything through him who gives me strength?
Jacob: “To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless”.
Timothy: Okay, is that what the average Christian means when they quote the scripture above?
Timothy: Did they even realize, okay I come to Jesus Christ he really did say I’ll be persecuted? He really did say, you’ll be driven out of town. He did say all those things. Do they even think that’s a real possibility? Now, they’re quoting the positive scripture up there without embracing the sufferings of Christ. It’s them creating a principle of I can do all things through Christ and then you can pump yourself up. Look, the world has its puff up seminars to get people motivation seminars get going. But you don’t find the church going. “To this very hour, we go hungry and we’re thirst We’re in rags. We are brutally treated, we are homeless”, but we can do all things through Christ who strengthen us. Ever heard it?
Timothy: No. Okay, here’s another one. First John 3:16. Go ahead and read first John 3:16 Jacob, when you get there.
Jacob: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ lay down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers”
Timothy: It’s an Amen scripture. It’s magnificence and it’s beauty and its power. You hear it quoted everywhere. Again, you can buy it on trinkets and blankets and all kinds of stuff and it’s a favorite sermon. Everybody say, you know we fellowship. We lay down our life. Really you lay down your life, but I won’t get into whether actually seeing that. But isn’t that a likable legalism or principle or rule or idea Jacob?
Timothy: Well then how come we don’t see first Corinthians 16:22 quoted? You talk about God’s love and I’ll let you get to that and read it here in a second. We talk about God’s love. We talk about Jesus Christ laying down our life. Everybody’s kind of if, I walked in with the sermon and I did that. So, oh we need to love one another. Amen. Hallelujahs, right? When that go on, when I’m preparing that be accepted. We can pass that little buttons and flyers. Send in. Join our club. We’ll teach you how to love one another. Be patient with one another. Be kind to one another. All the things that love is and I’m not demeaning those. What I’m trying to show here is it’s a likable legalism for which we in joy at our high places and our sacrifices. It might have this part of the word in it that we lay down our lives but it’s there’s no life in it. There’s no joy in it. There’s no power in it because it’s us trying to take God from the throne. It’s trying to be us to live scripture.
Alright, first Corinthians 16:22. You could go in any bookstore right now or go online in Christian bookstore and go, I want a large plaque and I’m sure, can you point it to me? I couldn’t find it in stock. I walked up and down the aisle. It’s Christmas time, I want to you know wrap this up and I want to give this to all my brothers and sisters church. It’s not a big church, about 30 members and I want to buy this card for them. Can you point me to where that’s. Go ahead and read this, because I’m sure you can find this, right? Go ahead read it.
Jacob: “If anyone does not love the Lord a curse beyond him come, O Lord!”.
Timothy: Wait you’re trying to tell me you’ve ever seen that anywhere?
Timothy: There’s no banner in the church that says, if anyone does not love the Lord, a curse beyond him, come oh Lord, you mean that’s not there?
Jacob: I have not seen this banner in a church.
Timothy: Hey, have you seen it anywhere, Jacob? Is it a bumper sticker?
Timothy: Is it a bumper sticker on the back of a Christian car with a little fishy that says, you know what? If you don’t love the Lord, a curse beyond you. Really? Do you, okay, I’m getting word. Do you do you find that anywhere, Jacob?
Jacob: No, you do not.
Timothy: Alright, are you kind of getting a clue here of likable legalism?
Timothy: Now, I’m not telling everybody to go around and get a T shirt not that they would. There’d be very few. If you don’t owe the Lord a curse beyond you, that can be as much a likable legalism among the self-righteous. What I’m pointing to you is if you let the love of Jesus Christ crucify your flesh and your religious thinking and all your principles, he’s going to work both sets of scriptures. The first sign of likable legalism whether you’re a Pharisee or a Sadducee and the Pharisees pretty much quote unquote believed everything and the Sadducees didn’t believe anything is they’re going to pick and choose which ones they want. Whereas a life of faith, a life of obedience is allowing God to work those scriptures as he sees fit.
In order for that to happen, I have to hate my impure love for my fellow man. I have to hate whatever it is I want in terms of my own life. I have to hate my own comfort. I’d have to go down the list. I have to be surrendered to God so that he can work for me to lay down my life and at the same time say anyone who doesn’t love the Lord or curse beyond him. And that has come out of my life in a lot of different fashions and that’s why there’s a lot of opposition because it just depends how the individual is, which part you want to bump into. Any comments on that, Jacob?
Jacob: Yeah, it’s easy even for me, the start of what legalism is, I go to the Old Testament, the law, I think that’s what a lot of Christians think of. But even if we look at the New Testament, there’s actually a lot of, I don’t know, commandments. There’s a lot of scriptures to obey, I’m using air quotes, but then people even avoid those ones. For instance, when we’re doing this comparison here with these different scriptures. Yeah, people, even in the New Testament people are only cherry picking the certain scriptures that they want to obey. These are the positive ones we’re going to follow. These are the positive principles that benefit me and these other ones even in the New Testament. No, no, no, no. We’re either going to explain them away. We’re going to ignore them. We don’t even read them at all.
Timothy: Correct. We won’t have because we’re running out of time today. We are to be disciples falling to the ground and dying to allow God to work his scriptures as he sees fit and that can come out in a lot of different ways. Let me give you one last example of likable legalism and then we’re at a time for the day. Let’s go to Hebrews 13:4. Would not really every church like this scripture, laid down as a principle. There is multitude of books, there’s ministries, there’s counseling. Talk, talk, talk, talk, right?
Timothy: Go ahead and read it for everybody. Hebrews 13:4.
Jacob: “Marriage should be honored by all”.
Timothy: And I want to give a triple Amen to that. But here’s the problem. I also preach a whole book.
Jacob: No one lives that. No one even found that anyways.
Timothy: No, they don’t. It’s not honored by all for sure. And the reason, one reason it’s not honored of course is you’re not surrendered to God to allow that honoring to come through. It’s you’re laying down a principle to a happy marriage. Most people if you translated this according to their heart, it would be I want a happy marriage and that’s how this comes out or our ministry is focusing in on the family kind of thing. And so, there’s a lot of profit, a lot of things that can be made, you can do books, you can do trinkets, right? Pressing on, go to first Corinthians 7:29. Do you see this in relationship to Hebrews 13:4?
Go to get first Corinthians 7:29, because marriage should be on our own books everywhere on that, right? Ministries by the dozen. Counseling going on. I’m and there’s people that do, how to have a Godly marriage and I’m thinking, you know what? Don’t go to the seminar, go into the closet to see God. But you don’t need all of that. You just need, that’s what a Godly marriage is but you can see you lay down a Godly principle to a Godly marriage, right? And so, you have these certain ideas, these legalisms, these law that show, oh be a good listener, be a servant of all, right? And you down the list and everybody’s trying to make your way, but it’s not the cross of Jesus Christ. It’s not the gospel.
First Corinthians 7:29, you surely see this exactly like smack dab. 100%. Hebrews 13:4, 100% first Corinthians 729, right Jacob? Read it.
Jacob: Yeah. “Time is short. Those who have wives should live as if they had none”.
Timothy: Time is short. I assume that’s still valor for the day. I’m not missing some cultural aspect. Did time get longer, Jacob? “Those who have wives should live”. It’s actual action. You should be able to look out and go, okay. “Live as if they had none”. Can you imagine as I invited to a marriage seminar? This is where I would start, okay, everybody this weekend at this seminar all you husbands, I want you to live as if you didn’t have a wife. Just for practice, just for practice. It’s an unlikable legalism but we’re just going to practice it for a moment till the holy ghost can get there. You think, well, have I ever been invited to a marriage seminar? You don’t. I haven’t. Take us out of here, Jacob.
Outro: This has been the Consider Podcast at www.consider.info where yesterday’s folly is today’s madness. In the beginning, the unrepentant sinners words are folly. At the end, they are wicked madness. Ecclesiastes 10:13. Judgement begins with the house of God. Therefore, let everyone who loves the Lord with an undying love pick up their cross and walk the talk. As Peter the wrote. “Therefore, prepare your minds for action. Be self-controlled”. First Peter 1:13-14. The Considered Podcast, examining today’s events and Paulorrow’s realities. www.consider.info.
The Consider Podcast
Examining today’s wisdom, folly and madness