If a married man were to go on a business trip to a different country and one night after work, while he was sitting in a pub sipping a drink, he was approached by a very attractive woman with “cruel intentions”, what would be this man’s motive for staying true to his wife?
The ring on his finger?
The piece of paper that he signed on his wedding day? No!
These external things will never keep a person from committing adultery.
· The strongest motivation for the husband to remain true to his wife would be if he loved her.
It is exactly the same with Christians and holy living.
The fact that a Christian ought to love their neighbor simply because the Bible says so is not enough motivation for them to actually do it.
In fact most people perform rather poorly at things they ought to do, and much better at things they want to do.
· It is a fact that when we tell somebody they are not allowed to do something, we are actually arousing a desire inside them that wants to do that very thing!
This is exactly what the law does.
People would not have known what sin was if it were not for the law, because the law says “don’t do this”or “don’t touch that”:
· What shall we say then?
· Is the law sin?
· Certainly not!
On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. (Rom 7: 7-8 NKJV) Salvation = Moral Living?
One of the predominant doctrines doing the rounds in the church today regarding moral living, is that if a person is not performing very well morally we should probably question if they were really saved in the first place, or whether God can use them at all.
However it’s really not our prerogative to stand in front of one of God’s children (who may just be going through a rough time), point our finger and say “I don’t think they are really saved”.
· Who are we to judge?
Chances are good that such a brother or sister might be sitting under the teaching of a person or ministry that is still preaching holy living and moral behavior modification at the cost of being unconditionally accepted and loved by God and this might be causing them to struggle with some bad habit or pattern of immorality.
The Bible actually tells us to restore such a person with gentleness:
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. (Gal 6: 1 NKJV)
However when someone who claims to be saved, carries on in the same destructive lifestyle patterns for years and years and simply pops into church when it’s convenient for a religious little Sunday morning “fix”, with their lives void of any passion for God, it might be a good idea to talk to them about whether they were really saved in the first place.
But back to the point, a definite indication of legalism is when upholding some moral standard or code is considered to be more important than the person struggling with upholding it.
In some circles where people call themselves Christians, people are actually thrown out from their midst if they commit a certain type of mistake.
· Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries…(Gal 5: 19-21a NKJV)
· From this verse it is interesting to see that the Bible lists drinking too much beer or wine up there with murder.
Although we shouldn’t condone this kind of behavior, we are not to pass judgment on anybody either, because we do not always understand their circumstances.
Contrary to popular belief however, telling people that they don’t have to obey the laws of Moses anymore actually helps them to have more victory over sin, because it lifts the mould of external behavior modification off them.
At salvation God gives us a 100% righteous born again spirit man on the inside that wants to live for God, wants to love other people and wants to do good.
Ryan Rufus from New Nature Publications (Hong Kong) says: “Any true believer will admit that if they had the choice to push a button that would allow them to never sin again, they would push that button in an instant”.
· This is proof that the laws of God have now been written on our hearts and that we don’t need the external written code (the law) to direct us anymore: …
I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts [this means God gave us the desire to please Him and have fellowship with Him]; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Heb 8: 10b NKJV)
The laws referred to in this verse are not the 10 Commandments either, since we are living under a new and better covenant and not under the Old Covenant anymore.
Before we came to faith in Christ, the law was our schoolmaster that taught us “holy living” and was only a type and a shadow of the real thing, namely faith in Christ.
· The law, like a signpost, was only supposed to point us to the real thing – we were never supposed to set up camp next to the signpost!
Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might bejustified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. (Gal 3: 24-25 NKJV)
· The Bible calls the law (that was written on tablets of stone) the“ministry of death”:
But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? (2 Cor 3: 7-8 NKJV).
· If we now tell people that they should live up to the demands of this Old Covenant System, it means that we are actually putting death on them.
To conclude, if people think that we are saying they can just go out and live in full blown depravity, licentiousness and immorality, simply running like animals after the desires of their flesh, then they are wrong.
If God has removed our old sinful nature with its lustful desires, why should we live in it any longer?
· …knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Rom 6: 6 NKJV)
Just as we once followed like slaves after the lusts of our old sinful nature, we now have the desire and privilege to follow the desires of our new 100% righteous reborn spirit:
· I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members (flesh) as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members (flesh) as slaves of righteousness for holiness. (Rom 6: 19 NKJV)