Saturday, July 01, 2006

Questions Concerning Our Feedom In Christ

With the fourth of July next week, I have been doing something thinking concerning the freedom that we have in Christ. The Bible teaches us that Christ has set us free (John 8) and that we have freedom in Christ(Romans7-8, Galatians 5, and other passages). Why is it then that so many Christians and Churches enslaved to legalism? Do we live like we are free? Do we enjoy our freedom in Christ? What can we as Christians, ministers, church leaders do to free Christians and chruches who are enslaved to legalism? Is there hope? How? If you have seen someone or a church freed from legalism, love for you to share if you like. How can we appreciate the freedom that we have in Christ? Feel free to answer any of these questions.

What do you think?

God open the eyes of those who are blinded by legalism. May they see that they are saved by your grace and not works. May they enjoy the freedom that they have in you. Help us as Christians, ministers and church leaders spread your message of freedom and grace. Thank you God for you mercy, grace and freedom that you allow us to have in your son Jesus Christ. Let us live like free Christian men and women every day. Amen.


Blogger Larry said...

Churches with a long history of legalism seldom recognize, appreciate, or enjoy the freedom Christ offers them.

These churches build formidable fences around themselves keeping other Christians at arms length rather then risk contamination by enjoying the fellowship of anyone disagreeing with their belief system.

There are many former legalists who have realized their errors and made drastic changes, but I suspect it would be very difficult to convince an entire church of their legalistic approach to following Jesus.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I agree with Larry.

People who are legalistic do not realize that they are so. It is like they are all sitting in a dark room and think that life is great. When God does turn on the light, they see and get out of that dark room.

The only thing that we can do is pray Ephesians 1:16-22 over them.
They are blind and their eyes need to be opened. If the Holy Spirit opens the door to talk to someone that we know who is legalistic, then pray for wisdom. Do not argue with them because that is what most legalistic people enjoy doing. (I use to be legalistic) I loved the argue what "I" thought was the right way. I was also young in the Lord. Christ is the only one who can set them free from bondage. We can be an instrument that God uses to help bring them into the Light, but we need to be ready.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Nick said...

Well since the phrase and or term legalism appears not in the pages of the holy text and is in fact an idea and concept created by man's definition even if it's based in scriptural concepts, the question stands what is legalism? Some might say any commandment keeping is legalism while others might say binding more than what God has bound is legalism.

Paul would say In Romans 4 we are justified by faith apart from works and quotes God's record of Abraham, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." This stands as the example Paul uses to show forth faith apart from works.

Yet James uses the same quote to associate works with faith into justification, "Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.' And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only." (James 2:22-24)

We tend to swing right or left either making void commandments in the name of faith or making void faith in the name of commandments. But Jesus said there is a balance to kept for true spiritual health and nutrition that is Spirit and truth. Its always strange to me how works, faith and the grace of God can exist within scripture, biblical examples like Noah, Moses and Jesus yet are not allowed to co-exist within a struggling Christian in the 21st century without names being thrown around, labels taped to foreheads, or a pronouncement of spiritual death and malnutrition attributed.

I believe works are a part of the Christian life and are neccessary in bringing about salvation, justification and the maturing of faith. Am I a legalist?

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think legalism is basing your salvations on works and forcing others as well to believe the same. It also includes binding where the word has not said. Speak where the bible speaks and be silent where the bible is silent isn't in the bible. Everytime someone quotes that phrase as scripture it makes me sick.

We are not saved by works but by the grace of God...(Ephesians 2:1-10). The grace of God and the freedom that we have should motive us to do good works. Good works should be evident in our life as Christians. Fruit.

12:15 AM  
Blogger Velcro said...

Preacher, excellent questions.

Later this week, I'm thinking about posting about the story of Cain & Abel, and how it paints a picture of Christ's death and the Legalism vs. Freedom in today's church.

Legalism isn't a new thing. Cain tried gain God's redemption through his own work of farming and planting, but didn't realize that our redemption must be through the blood of the Lamb.

If you read God's response to Cain in Genesis 4, it's almost as if God is saying, "Why do you keep doing things your own way and then get upset when that doesn't work? I've told you what you need to do. I've told you My way, but still you insist on redeeming yourself through works."

I could go on forever about this, but I'll save that for my blog later this week. Excellent thought provoking questions.

I think that I have been delivered from Legalism to an extent. It's still something I wrestle with from time to time due to society's standards of measure.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

The problem with legalism is that we all suffer from it. Even when unaware. We can all be harsh, dogmatic, and ... well legalistic. It just depends on the subject many times.

The freedom of Jesus Christ is for both the progressive and the non-progressive. It is a freedom from SELF to serve and love.

May we live in the free air of Christ. Thanks for a good blog preacherman.

Bobby Valentine
Stoned-Campbell Disciple

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post.

2:09 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I appreciate everyone's comments.
I think legalism is destroying the work of God's church. It strips people for their enjoyment in Christ. We do the works that accompany faith not because of obligation, or because of earning salvation but because of the freedom that we experience through Jesus. It is not up to me to judge others, saying whether or not they are legalists or not, but I pray that Christians everywhere will understand that it is not by works that we are saved. It is by the grace of God through obedient faith in His one and only son Jesus. Thanks you for your comments and hope that this site generates discussion and makes people think.

2:15 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I highly recommend everyone read Josh's blog.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Royce Ogle said...

Isn't it interesting that those who steadfastly resist the term "legalism" will call a church "liberal" because someone lifts their hands during worship or some other issue that matters just as little.

A wise preacher once said, "I wont tell you that you can't if you wont tell me I have to".

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