This message, offers an answer, to “the problem of legalism”.
➀ First, before you stop reading, telling yourself, .....
“I am not a legalist, I just have more standards than he does!”
You had better make sure, that your “standards”, are based clearly on sound Doctrine. Because if they are not, than you have a big problem.
➁ Two reasons, “legalism” is a problem, that needs to be fixed...
(A) It effects your worship...
“Howbeit in vain do they worship me,
teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.” (Mark 7:7)
If we find ourselves, teaching “Doctrines”, that are not spelled out in the Word of God,
than Jesus says, that this will make our worship of Him “a waste of time”!
He wants us to worship him, “in Spirit and in truth”! And that requires that we minister “God’s Word” to others, not “our opinion”!
(B) Also, legalism stunts our Spiritual growth....
V.1 ¶ Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, [but] not to doubtful disputations.
V.2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
V.3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
V.4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
V.5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day [alike]. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
V.6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth [it] unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard [it]. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
A familiar passage, that gives us two examples of “legalism”. And in this passage, we see that the legalist is regarded as being “weak”. This is a “weakness in the faith”.
Notice, in the rest of this passage, we are not told to do anything to try and bring this brother to the error of his ways. Because this might place a stumbling block before him.
But, we are not dissuaded, from using God’s Word, to educate our brothers and sisters in the deeper areas of God’s Word.
➂ The answer to this problem....
“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14)
Lets take a closer look at this verse...
“But strong meat”
This is not talking about food. This is talking about the deeper parts of the Bible.
There are some parts of almost every verse in the Bible, that have a “deeper meaning”, that is hidden from young Christians or the casual reader. (Proverbs 25:2)
The LORD is the one, who determines how deeply we understand the Bible, at any given point in our walk with Him. Here we learn that when He gives us this understanding, it “belongs” to us.
This means(for one thing), that we should learn to keep things the Lord shows us, to ourselves, until He tells us when and how to share them. (Proverbs 29:11)
“to them that are of full age,”
Each of us have two ages. Our actual age, from the day we were born.
And our Spiritual age, that is not determined by time, but by our commitment to the Lord and to His Word.
At different points in our Spiritual lives, the Lord decides what He wants us to know.
But, being “Spiritually mature”, doesn’t depend upon what you “know”, but upon what you “understand”.
[even] “those who by reason of use”
This is an instruction, to “use” something!
So now, we are talking about the subject of “receiving understanding” from the LORD.
And the mysterious way, this is accomplished. I said “mysterious”, because this was a complete mystery to me, until the day the Lord revealed it to me.
For all the untold hundreds of times I had studied through Hebrews and never saw this truth, makes this mysterious, to me.
“have their senses exercised”
So the other shoe drops. What it is that we are to “use”, in order to gain understanding from the LORD. Our “senses”. All of them.
As mature Christians, we are to be brave and not be afraid, of “exposing ourselves to things”, that we might be telling ourselves are “wrong”: Even though God’s Word has nothing to say about it.
This is learning to be sensitive to the “leading of the Holy Spirit”, who will quickly let us know, if we are going in a direction He does not want us to go in.
I am not talking about any form of lasciviousness. What I am talking about is a quest, to learn God’s will for our lives. So that He can reward us, with deeper understanding of His Word and His Will and Who He is.
“to discern both good and evil.”
The Lord wants us to learn to “discern”, what is Good and Evil, not based upon what the latest hot preacher, has to say about it. But what God has to say about it!
Also, each of us having “different” weaknesses, will compile differing lists, of what are good and evil, for us.
By John Young
Understanding The Psalms
A handbook for Spiritual Christian Growth
Book 1 (Psalms 1-41): How to Be Blessed by God (Downward Blessing)
Book 2 (Psalms 42-72): Learning To Trust God (Upward Trust)
Book 3 (Psalms 73-89): The Believer's Worldly Struggle (Outward Reality)
Book 4 (Psalms 90-106): Going to God for Protection (Inward Faith)
Book 5 (Psalms 107-150): Learning to Praise God (Pressing Onward)
"The Psalms" is a harmonious collection meant to be meditated upon and mastered in progresive order, to foster spiritual growth and understanding. Learned as a whole, greater truth emerges then if learned as separate units.
Book 1 teaches the Believer how to maximize blessings from God and how to remove those things which would cause God to oppose or hinder us.
Book 2 teaches us to thank God for his blessings in our lives and how to build our trust in him, knowing that He will help and sustain us in all things.
Book 3 takes our faith (reliance on God in all things developed from previous books) and pits it against the encroaching evil of the ungodly world system.
Book 4 shows the protection God has for the believer who trusts in him and how to take full advantage of his protection while living in an ungodly world.
Book 5 Having given us spiritual power for our own growth and defense, we are now taught how to go on the offensive by Praising God. When we learn to use the many tools and methods to boldly praise God, we can push back the evil of this world and save others, who can then also be blessed by God.
Feel free to share your observations of the Psalms!
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