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When Does Law-Keeping Become Legalistic?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
November 9, 2020 1:00 am

When Does Law-Keeping Become Legalistic?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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November 9, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 571 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

1. I have noticed that over the last few years a number of Christian worship leaders and artists have renounced the Christian religion and say that they have “de-converted” or “deconstructed” their faith. In light of this, what do you think of singing artist’s songs who have since left the faith?

2. What does the word “elect” mean in scripture?

3. For 30 years I struggled with pornography and alcohol addiction. I know that the Bible says to love your enemies, but I have a hard time loving the people that manufacture these two things that destroy lives every day. How do I handle this if I am to love and forgive them for what they are doing?

4.  I really want to be conformed to the image of Christ, and I know it’s only by the power of God that this happens, but I understand that I also have a responsibility as well, but when does law-keeping cross over to legalism?



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The Scripture say we are to love God and delight in his law windows are law keeping turn into a form of legalism.

That is one of the questions will be answering on today's addition of core Christianity hi this is Bill Meyer, along with my friend Pastor April Sanchez and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us right now with your question.

At 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673.

You can also email us at when it comes to Wi-Fi.

Sometimes you have to get creative. A PE teacher at a California middle school says when his home Internet went out. He ended up teaching his class from the parking lot at a Starbucks Jason good Uchi was a gym teacher and longtime wrestling coach at Hogan middle school in Vallejo says he's been teaching classes virtually from his home during the covert pandemic but he found himself in a difficult spot last week when his Internet went out. So Jason drove to his school and discovered it didn't have Internet service either at that point. He says I went to Starbucks pulled up in the parking lot got a signal on my district laptop and away we went. Coach live streamed on Instagram and guided his wrestling team through the air conditioning exercise for Starbucks parking lot we really gotta start paying teachers more. Bill didn't even have Wi-Fi going on with that mean I use a lot of coffee shop Wi-Fi here in Sandia. There also to coffee shops nearby where I live in. And that's typically what I used for my auto quote office when I'm getting stuff done for the church, just in general. I love looking in that the cop thanked all the coffee shops out there free Wi-Fi, saving the day and on curse he was leaving his class. Do you ever like to know do on your doing your streaming from Starbucks charity like exorcisms or some like that when you're home. I get at least two a week so you know that the third of died down during covert but yet just getting all right, let's get to our first question of the day.

This one is a Facebook post from David. He says I've noticed that over the last few years, a number of Christian worship leaders and artists have renounced the Christian faith and say they have de-converted or deconstructed their faith in light of this, what you think of singing artists songs who have since left the faith.

I'm also aware of this training.

It's it really is heartbreaking is tragic not just for Christian music artists but also for many young people who are de-converting us as some people have put it. I think what Paul said in first Timothy chapter 4 verse one, the Spirit expressly says that in the later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, it seems like the apostles Lou one of the things that God's spirit pressed upon their hearts.

So clearly there in the days of the early church was that there was coming this this great falling away this great apostasy that many people working to turn away from the Lord. Can I just share what I think part of the problem is we aren't going deep in the things of the Lord were so surface level in churches and in youth groups that people are really even being taught the fundamentals of the Christian faith. That's another thing we've seen in various polls that have come out in some of the research that's being done is people don't know the basics of Christianity anymore back in 2005 there is a sociologist and Christian Smith who talked about the beliefs of young Americans as he labeled them and he identified those beliefs with what he called moralistic therapeutic deism that I know that that's a mouthful, but you need to get this moralistic meeting God wants me to be a good person. You know, do good, be nice, obey therapeutic religion is you'll good God wants you to be happy wants me to be happy and deism is the idea that God is out there, but he's not really involved in my life personally for many young people for many, many adults, even that's what they think Christianity is being nice feel good. And God is upstairs working on stuff but is not really present in a real way.

If the result of that is the D conversions that were saying all around us. We really need to recover the gospel today not to your question David. There was actually an ancient controversy in the church that I think helps us to think through this.

This is why think church history.

This is so important gives us insight into some of the things were wrestling with in thinking about today was called the Donatist controversy was in the fourth century there was this terrible persecution that came upon the church and some Christians even Christian leaders, pastors had abandoned the faith in a very important question is being posed were these men ever used by God to begin with and what about for the pastors. What about the baptisms that they performed were they legitimate will.

Here's what was concluded and that controversy the power of their ministry didn't depend on their personal holiness.

Whether or not they were going to keep walking with Jesus, of the power the efficacy of the ministry depended upon God's word the baptisms they performed were invalidated because they went on to abandon the faith because brothers and sisters. God is the one who works through his word and his work doesn't depend on our perfection on how holy you are similarly and then this is I think the answer your question with Christian singers to de-convert if the song that they wrote of the songs that they wrote are in line with Scripture. If what they teach is good, true and beautiful with their Christ centered. While I think there they're still fair game in a sometimes we can think of that person fell away. Maybe there was something wrong with the song well if if the song is biblical if it directs our eyes to the Lord and to the truth of God's word. I would say still sing it now if it wasn't whether they claim to be a Christian still are not.

Don't think you know that. Avoid that kind of music and worship. But no, I don't think there's anything wrong with singing the song still so long as they are in line with Scripture. Thank you for your question, no I drill there is a Christian pop group that I really enjoy their lead singer the last year to have said that he is left the faith and he's actually a really good guy and his songs are really solid, but I find when I'm listening to his music. Now I just I have this real sense of sadness and there's nothing theologically inaccurate in the music.

It's just that I was a sense of sadness that he says he's no longer a follower of Christ no longer believes in God. Even though there was a time where his faith was very much alive. Or at least it appeared to be yeah that's what I said earlier, this is so heartbreaking and I think each of us have a not just with you know music artists who turned away from the Lord. But even people in our own lives, who we know who may be at one point were in the church and seemed to be walking with Christ, and love studying the Scriptures, but now have have gone off and you know one thing, it might be is just a reminder for us to pray for these individuals for you even built up to pray for this person. In particular, and I think that that's the Lord calls us to. But it is it is so sad and we long to see Jesus, the good Shepherd bring back his sheep into the fold, and we know that he is the good Shepherd that he pursues us when we wander when we stray so there is hope. So we we ought to pray, this is core Christianity with pastor Adm. Sanchez. If you have a question for us. Here's the phone number to call it 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673 and regarding the word they talk about God and people that are drawn to God. So I'm wondering just how does that fit together God ordained certain people at birth and laughed and chosen.

Thank you, thank you for that question. I remember years ago reading the Psalms and coming across this verse in Psalm 65 verse four where the psalmist David said, blessed is the one you choose and bring me here to dwell in your courts, we shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house. The holiness of your temple, and I'm just thinking that so interesting that the Scripture puts it that way. But David puts it, that we blessed is the one you choose and bring near to dwell in your courts and this is something I spent a lot of time thinking about Ruth. I'm in the word elect simply means chosen or selected in Scripture and it is it is a biblical word.

One passage of Scripture that I think is really helpful and again on this program. Our goal is to be biblical and want to search the Scriptures and embrace what the Scriptures teach and Paul in the book of Ephesians in Ephesians chapter 1 beginning in verse three. Listen to what he said, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that were chose, there is the word elect that we should be holy and blameless before him in love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace with which he has blessed us in the beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us in all wisdom and insight, making known to us the mystery of his will according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

And then he says finally, in verse 11 in him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will to note something there Ruth that the focus on this election on God's choice is that the result would be God's praise. A lot of people want to argue about the doctrine of election and predestination will Scripture says it should lead to argumentation, but adoration to worship you just think again of what what he says as he begins there Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ meet you also see this call to praise in the context of thinking about this doctrine of of God's choice in Romans chapter 11, where Paul is just bursting forth in praise, as he thinks about God's marvelous plan and you know. Also in this passage Ruth, the basis for this choice. It is in our works was before the foundation of the world. Paul told the Ephesians was his loving will. I think with Charles Spurgeon is that I'm glad God chose me before the foundation of the world because if he had seen how I would be a little bit later. I'm not sure he would've chosen the semester if he actually said that. But in one sense is meant to be massively comforting because we realize that God's choice doesn't depend on how good we are, how righteous we are innocent on the basis of my own merit or righteousness and and maybe this is why you're asking this question written at all. This poses then the response will what about those who aren't quote unquote chosen if Paul says here in Ephesians chapter 1 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ. What about everyone else. Well me to say a few things. One, God isn't necessarily obligated to save anyone. He doesn't owe us anything. He's perfectly righteous and holy. We've sinned against him. And yet, the second thing I want to say God does call everyone to repentance and the free offer of the gospel goes out with out discrimination to all people everywhere. Jesus commanded us to preach the gospel to all creatures and were responsible for embracing or rejecting that gospel is a mystery here and I think Ruth that we have to embrace that mistreat God is absolutely sovereign and yet you and I are totally responsible know it's gonna stand before the Lord on the day of judgment and be able to say, God, it's your fault. No responsible for actions for our sins and God is calling all people everywhere to repent and turn to Jesus and those who believe we can say man this was the work of God's sovereign grace, and it should lead us to praise and worship to adoration to absolute humility, knowing that if it wasn't for God's mercy we would be completely lost and so Ruth I want to emphasize here is as we think about this this word.

This word that you've brought up this word that we see in the Scriptures should humble us should cause us to love God to worship him because of his great plan of redemption that wasn't based on our own righteousness or goodness, and it should encourage us get this to pray for others knowing that God is sovereign, knowing that by the work of his Spirit. He's able to open the hearts of those who do not know him. We should pray for our loved ones and for our family members that they might know the Lord and love him to thank you for your question and if you want to follow. Please reach out to us again II really appreciate you thinking about this and searching the Scriptures, your listing to core Christianity with pastor Adm. Sanchez and we are really excited tell you about a new Bible study that we are offering right now you have me talking about these really key doctrines like this one. We are just speaking about with Ruth and a lot of these doctrines are unpacked in the book of Romans and so we have this Bible study is a 10 week study.

It's a great way to grow in your knowledge of the Lord knowledge of the gospel is really excited about this new resource is available as a physical study or you can also get it as a PDF download and their leaders guides available for all of our studies as well head over to core your copy of our new Bible study on Romans has had such an impact on my own life and on my ministry as a pastor evening and that's what I'm really excited about this new resource by the way this Bible study would be great for small group so if you're in a small group ministry through your church. You might want to recommend your small group leader early to yourself or tell your pastor about it. You can call us for that resource or any one of our resources at 833-843-2673 death 833, the court, Adm.

Here's an email question that came in from Jeff. He says it says in the Bible to love your enemies, my enemies are alcohol and pornography because those were my favorite sins, but now I hate them. I have a hard time loving the people that manufacture these two things because they destroy lives every day how Mike to handle this. If I'm to love and forgive them for what they're doing. I struggle with those two things for 30 years. Jeff will one I just praise God for his grace in your life and the fact that you are conscious of and sensitive to the reality of sin and the need for sin to be set aside put to death how destructive it can be. Jeff, you should hate your sin.

We all should.

Frankly, I think we don't take our sins seriously enough. Jesus said if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off, but that there is a of violence. We need to have not against other people, but against our sin, and of course Jesus is he speaking varies not think you literally cut off your hand using hyperbole. He's talking about just the extreme nature with which we should deal with the sin in our lives and yet so often we don't do that we treat our sins as these little pets that we want to keep in and feed and not let go of that kind of a thing and that's dangerous. It's devastating. Paul said in Romans that behind this spirit we mortify the sinful deeds of the body that means we put them to death and John Owen that the Puritan that he said famously be killing sin or sin will be killing you that there's really no other option.

There is no neutrality within either you are fighting your sins every day you're putting them to death by the grace of the Holy Spirit or sin is growing taking territory it it's always waging war against us.

And so we have to be vigilant you're completely right brother. We have to take this seriously and we also have to distinguish between hating our sin and hating people you see how lust and drunkenness have hurt you. You should hate those things but you should be compassionate to those who are still enslaved to them, and sometimes the very people who manufacture those things are enslaved affect every time they are enslaved. Some years ago our church hired a wonderful organization to help us through how to create a children safety policy and the trick. I think it's something that every church should do.

Frankly, the organization was called grace. Grace standing for godly response to abuse in a Christian environment and they work together with churches to help them think about you. What's the best way to create a policy in our church to protect the children.

That's can it create transparency in and make sure that were doing things in a way that's honoring to the Lord and protects the little's among us know Jesus is little sheep so they gave us a a few days of abuse training. They talked about the correlation between abuse and people who get into industries like the sex industry number. I remember that being one of the things that we at least that I learned from some of the discussions that we were having there so much pain and we should hate the sin, pray that God would rescue the people who are enslaved to it.

Many of them having experienced all sorts of abuse, both in terms of alcohol and also in terms of pornography. Think of people that were raised in abusive homes are alcohol was abused or who experienced other kinds of abuse and how that deforms us and and shapes us in ways that are very difficult to overcome is them not making an excuse for sin.

Like us, that we hate the sin because we see how it destroys people we have to be filled with compassion for those who are broken and so my encouragement to you. Jeff is pray pray one that God continues to keep you and guard you against enemy, our Lord Jesus taught us to pray every day. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors lead us not into temptation. Why because it's not just something that we pray for once and then we can forget about it were good know every single day. We need to say Lord forgive me for my sins, and Lord protect me prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here's my heart. God hears my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above I love that hymn come, thou fount of every blessing, and so brother. Pray that the Lord continues to seal your heart to keep you to guard you against sin and also the guard to against self-righteousness is that's that's another area we have to be careful. We feel like once a week we get victory.

Once the Lord is really worked in us, we can start to look at others and despise them and think gushing to get your act together. No, we should be humble, knowing that it's only by the grace of the Holy Spirit that we put to death our sins and we should be humble, knowing that God's mercy is also for those who were still enslaved and we should pray for them and and you should pray for them. Pray that God will be merciful to those who are destroying themselves through pornography, through alcohol and I think it's that attitude that you want to have an attitude of humility, an attitude of hatred and violence against and especially the sin that lives in your own heart were still everyday putting to death in an attitude of love and compassion to those who are in these destructive practices, longing to see the grace of the Lord Jesus poured out in their life, so that they might come to the knowledge of the truth and turn away from their sins.

God bless you brother a great reminder for all of us to have empathy and compassion for those who are still struggling especially with things that we have struggle with our own lives to score Christianity with pastor Pedro Sanchez. Here's an Instagram post from Dolly. She says my hope and confidence is in Christ alone.

I love delighting in his law and doing good deeds and trying to avoid sin. I really want to be conformed to the image of Christ. And I know it's only by the power of God.

This happens but I understand that I also have a responsibility as well.

When does law keeping crossover into legalism.

Is it possible like Paul to beat yourself into submission or am I simply being hard on myself and Ellie, thank you for that question, and a really practical question alike. What is what is our relationship as Christians to the law we know that the law in one sense it condemns the world. It reveals how much we fall short of loving the Lord obeying his commandments. Paul talks about this and in Galatians. He talked about how the law was given as as a sort of pedagogue is a taskmaster, leading us to Christ, showing us our sin, revealing to us. Our failure and in that sense right. It's very clear that no person can stand before God's judgment seat.

Pure innocent because of how well they've obeyed God's law. Now law keeping becomes legalism. When we think that our obedience, our law keeping is what justifies us before God and by the way, one of the ways that we can know that were doing. I like what one of the symptoms of that is we begin to look down on everyone else around us because we think I'm so much better than you because of my purity or my right is none that might be an extreme way of putting it, but the fact of the matter is that subtle but it's a real issue.

Just look at the Pharisees.

They really weren't obedient to the lobby but they were and they began to despise everyone around them that they thought were sinners wicked evil and so legalism happens when we think we can justify ourselves by the law.

The good news of the gospel is that Jesus came and perfectly fulfilled the law of God for us in the spirit Dolly is what causes us to begin to love and delight in God's law, so that in this life we begin to imperfectly fulfill it. Paul said in Romans chapter 8 verses three and four for God is done with the law, weakened by the flesh could not do by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in walk not according to the flesh but according to this.

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