Legalism: The Great Friend of the Abuser

Matthew 23:16-23 ESV  (16)  “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ (17)  You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? (18)  And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ (19)  You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? (20)  So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. (21)  And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. (22)  And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it. (23)  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

I still do not completely understand the mentality and motivation of the “Christian” legalist.  But I do know that such people and their alleged “biblical” system are no friend to the oppressed.  As we have been reading the comments this past week in particular about how the legalist flatly prohibits divorce for abuse, citing various Scriptures in a “biff-boom-bah-there-my-case-is-proved” manner, the evils of legalism have been illustrated and emphasized.  The religion of the Pharisees is indeed alive and well today.

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A Deal to Refuse – CRC Sunday Sermon

June 28, 2020

Pastoral Reading
Psalm 27:1-3

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

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Truth, Lies, Light and Darkness Cannot Co-Exist

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.  Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. (1 John 2:9-10 ESV)  

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. (Colossians 3:9-10)

God’s Word repeatedly instructs (commands) Christians to embrace truth and reject falsehood. Walking in the light of Christ’s truth is the only consistent manner of living for a Christian. Lies characterize the kingdom of darkness whose prince is called the father of lies (John 8). It was by this serpent’s lie that sin and death came into the world (“oh no, you won’t die. In fact, you will be like God”). The Christian’s mind is being renewed: progressively set free from that which is false and led into life-giving, freeing truth. The gospel by which we are saved and which we proclaim is often called “the Word of Truth” in Scripture. We are to speak truth to one another and give up lying. Abuse victims know the power and freedom of truth as they experience its destruction of the lies they have so long believed by which they were held in bondage.

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