Sunday, 21 September 2014

Legalism is of the Spirit of Rebellion

Those who are under the spirit of legalism often think that rebellion is off-limits for them. However, they do not realise that legalism itself is rebellion against God. This is because their pride blinds them from seeking God for a heart of love. 

The Bible makes it clear that no one is good, no not one (Romans 3:10). This means that no one can do good works in the eyes of God in one's own strength. Romans 3:10-12 is perhaps the Biblical teaching that is the hardest to accept, but yet easy to use as an excuse for one's own sins, or to use against the unsaved on the grounds that the Bible does refer to some specific individuals as 'righteous'. Therefore, this verse, as is the case with all others, must be understood in the correct context.

What this verse means is that no one is good in one's own human flesh. Nor can even seek to be righteous or good in one's own flesh. This is because the flesh has been corrupted with a sinful nature. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12). As a result, all humans are born in sin (Psalm 51:5). This is because of this sinful nature of all humans that all humans, in the natural state, can do nothing but sin. 

That one can do good works in spite of the sinful nature does not change one's sinful nature because as long as one has that nature, one is a slave to sin. One is either a slave to sin, or a slave to righteousness (Romans 6:15-18). A person can either serve sin or righteousness. One can only love sin and hate righteousness, or hate sin and love righteousness.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). The Greek word for idolatry is 'eid√≥lolatria' which means worship or service of an image. Idolatry is to place anything above God, whether it is one's desires, cause, aspirations, motive, strength or moral values. This includes one's theology. 
The belief that underlies all forms of legalism is that one can be good in one's own strength. This is to defy God's statement that none is good (Romans 3:10). To defy what God has said is rebellion because it is to treat Him with contempt as God alone deserves all our love, honour and fear with all our heart, mind, soul, spirit and strength. Only He is worthy of this. We are not worthy of His love.
Humans often fail to love God, if at all, because of our flesh which stops us from doing so because our carnal flesh hates God. The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:7-8). The carnal mind and flesh is diametrically opposed to God. This means that not only does it not seek God, but it is opposed to God's Laws. Therefore, it seeks its to make its own laws and ways for itself. 
Since legalism seeks to set up its own standards of goodness, and denies that none is righteous and good but for Christ's imputed righteousness, legalism is contempt for God. Legalism is not merely the defiance of God. It is the hatred of God. It is idolatry of the human flesh, specifically one's self-perceived goodness that comes from one's unrighteousness.

The legalist, instead of seeking God's Laws, follow one's own rules that one thinks is ordained by God. Instead of seeking for the love of God to do good,  his seeks to do good works to produce love. Instead of trusting in God to carry out His purposes, he seeks to work out God's purposes for himself and acts on that instead. 

As such, the spirit of legalism causes one to be judgmental, self-righteous, hypocritical and hateful. It worships the self, and therefore is of the spirit of rebellion.