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Donald

THE DANGER OF STANDARDS

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It is not hard to find the Bible repeatedly warning us about, “self deception”; And our flesh is so deceitful and desperately wicked, that we can and are often self deceived, even when we are “trying to do right”.  It happens all the time.  Our only hope for deliverance from self deception is Hebrews 4:12.

Well one of the chief ways that this happens with IFB’s, is in the are of “standards”.  I once asked a missionary to define “legalism” for me.  His response was, “A legalist is someone who has more standards than I do.”  His answer demonstrates just how dangerous standards can be.

Some of you, may not know the kinds of DANGERS, I am talking about.  But here is a big one.  “When a Christian starts lifting up standards, to guide his behavior, he stops listening to the Holy Spirit!”  In reality, the LORD wants us to be “led by the Spirit”, every waking moment of the day.  But when we start following standards(our own or someone elses), than we allow those STANDARDS, to overrule the Spirit’s leadership.

It is also a waste of time, to try and nail someone down to using strictly “Biblical standards”; Because “all standards” are man-made, because they are all based upon our present interpretation of what the Bible says.  This is true, unless you want to call those things that we are dogmatic about, “standards”.  Things like "the infallibility of God’s Word", should not be called a “standard”, because man’s opinion, has NOTHING to do with it.

 

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I posted this before but in 2014, so I will post it again in response.

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I was out soul winning, door knocking in the area when someone who answered the door stated "I have heard of your church, you guys are the one's with all those rules."  I looked at him genuinely confused and said "we don't have ANY rules."   He said, "then why do you guys dress so different, and you don't drink, go dancing, go to movie theaters, or party like normal folks, and you go to church like several times a week?"  I told him it's because of a love for God and what he has done for us.  We find principles in His word that indicates what would be most pleasing to Him and out of love we do all we can to please Him.  You don't have to do ANY of those things to attend our church, that would make them rules that must be followed.  You don't need to follow any of those things to be saved either and on your way to heaven.  I then got the chance to explain a non-works salvation to him.

A person who needs rules, doesn't understand principles.

Galatians 5:18 (KJV) 
18  But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.  If you are truly led of the Spirit, the Spirit will NEVER lead you to do anything that is contrary to God's will and Word, there is no need for the law. 

Rules are neccesary for a heart away from God.

Galatians 3:19a (KJV) 
19  Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions

1 Corinthians 6:12 (KJV) 
12  All things are lawful unto me [the Law], but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any [the Principle].

 1 Corinthians 10:23 (KJV

23  All things are lawful for me [the Law], but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not [the Principle]. 

The law makes nothing perfect.

 Hebrews 7:19 (KJV

19  For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. 

The law was not made for righteous men.  1 Timothy 1:8-10 (KJV

8  But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
9  Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disOBedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
10  For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 

Galatians 3:24 (KJV) 
24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 

So many people, especially IFB's who have been raised since children in an IFB church, have no idea WHY we have the standards we do.  Until they understand that a standard is simply a self-imposed boundary set to help us keep a conviction that was formed by understanding a principle from God's word.  You first find a principle in God's word, and from that principle you form a conviction, and then a standard is set by yourself to help you keep that conviction. Because of this, some standards are entirely yours alone.  For instance, I will not allow myself to own a boat.  There is absolutely nothing wrong or sinful about boat ownership, but for me, outdoor recreation is a huge draw and I am weak enough to it ( "I will not be brought under the power of any"), that my ministry for God is hurt by it. Until people have standards put IN them by understanding the principles behind them, instead of ON them because "that's just the way we do things" they will never have them for their own and it is easy for them to backslide as soon as they are out of the house.  

 

Bro. Garry

In His will.  By His power.  For His glory.

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Thank you very much Bro. Garry, for reposting your old post.  For sure, I have not arrived yet and have a lot to learn. In the same way that although I have been preaching for about 32 years or so, but it has only been for the last 7 years or so, that I have been introduced to the concept of “principals”.
  For all these years, my understanding of “God’s instructions to me” has come in the form of “Bible Doctrine”; and about 25 years or so ago, when I discovered Mark 7:7 “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.” and clearly saw the DANGER of man-made-doctrines, I became even more “set”, in the plan, of only allowing God’s Word, guide me.
Now, this view may have come, because I was not raised in a Christian home; And never set foot into a Christian Church, until after I was saved and needed to follow the Lord in Believers baptism.
For the last 7 years or so, I have been exposed to some new things in the Christian IFB Church, that I am attending; Including the stressing of “principals” and more “topical preaching”, than I have ever heard.  (I always found expository preaching best).  I may have to be weaned off of “Doctrine”, in the same way.

Have a great day

Donald

 

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This is my personal opinion on the subject for whatever that is worth...

I believe you would be hard pressed to find an IFB church that teaches any other plan of salvation besides by grace through faith. I believe many in the IFB fall in the ditch after that. Galatians 3:3 comes to mind. Standards become a point of personal holiness bring us closer to God and make us better Christians. If I wear a suit and tie for every service I get a point, if my wife wears skirts or dresses to church as well throughout the week I get a point. If I own no other Bibles except a KJV I get a point. If I don't drink I get a point. We can go on and on. Our lives can be a complete mess but because we are doing visable things that everyone can see we can convince ourselves and others that we are super spiritual, godly, and holy. It is a very phariseical mindset because our personal holiness is established by God and maintained by God not by what we do.

It's a trap and many have fallen in and do not even realize they are caught. Christ brings freedom not bondage. I couldn't get saved by following a set of rules and I also can't make myself closer to God by following a set of rules. Many are good at checklist Christianity but being a Christian is not following a checklist 

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Adam and Donald, do you think that these verses enter into the subject of "standards" or as you called them, "rules"? How would you reconcile what has been said  in this post with these Scriptures?

 Mt 5:14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 
 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 
 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 

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This subject is so easily complicated because so many things are either mis-defined or mis-combined.

For an example of mis-defined -- With some the Law of God now seems to referenced as if it were a "bad thing."  Yet the New Testament Scriptures clearly teach that the Law of God is holy, and that the commandments of God's Law are "holy, and just , and good." (See Romans 7:12)

For an example of mis-combined -- With some the commandments of men are sometimes referenced as if they were the Law of God.  Yet our Lord Jesus Christ clearly taught that following after the commandments of men can cause our religious walk to be spiritual vanity. (See Matthew 15:9)

For another example of mis-defined -- With some the New Testament truth that we have freedom in Christ is employed to teach that we may now do whatever we desire.  Yet the New Testament Scriptures clearly teach that our liberty in Christ is NEVER to be used for an occasion to our selfish flesh. (See Galatians 5:13)

For another example of mis-combined -- With some the New Testament truth that we are to walk after the Spirit, not under the Law, is employed to teach that the righteousness of the God's Law no longer matters in our Christian lives.  Yet the New Testament Scriptures clearly teach that walking after the Holy Spirit will LEAD us to fulfill the righteousness of God's Law. (See Romans 8:4)

So then, do the commands of God matter for the New Testament believer?  Most certainly!  For we can only walk in loving fellowship with the Lord our God AS we walk in obedience to His commandments. (See John 15:9-11)  (Note: Not ALL of the Old Testament commandments are applicable unto the New Testament believer.  Some ARE, while others are NOT.  Biblical and Spirit-filled discernment is definitely required in this matter.)

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Jim and Pastor Markle,

I appreciate both your posts. I do not believe I have mis defined or mis combined anything here. The Bible is clear that the law and the commandement is good, holy, and just (Rom 7:12). But the purpose of the law is not to make one righteous, the law cannot bring life only death. The law shows you where you fail. Galatians 3 clearly shows that the law is not of faith and the things we should be doing are by faith not by the law. If you want to go under the law you are bound to it in it's entirety. You can't pick and choose which parts of the law you will apply and which parts you will ignore. You are bound to all of the law. If you think you can live up to it, good luck, I know I can't.

I never said that being under grace meant you are free to do anything you want. I Corinthians 6:19-20 clearly say we were bought with a price and I belong to God so I am to glorify Him in my body and spirit. I owe absolutely everything to Christ. Romans 12:1-2 says I am to be a living sacrifice because it is my reasonable service. The entire chapter of Romans 6 talks about sinning willing after we have received grace and how ridiculous it is. But nowhere in any of that does it say you now need to keep the law or have certain man made standards to stay right with God.

In John 14:15 Jesus said if ye love me, keep my commandments. I think Jesus explained exactly what those commandments are in Matthew 22:36-40 on those two things (Loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind and loving your neighbor (everyone) as your self) hang all the law and the prophets. If you can love God with everything in you and love ever person you come in contact with as yourself you will have done what Jesus asked you to do. That is something a lost person cannot do. They cannot love God. I can get a lost person to wear a suit and tie to church, I can get a lost person to go soulwinning, I can get a lost person to not drink alcohol or look at pornography, but a lost person will never love God. A lost person will not understand the Scriptures. And a lost person cannot be led by the Holy Spirit or discern the voice of God. But they can most certainly do all those other "standards" that we hold ourselves to.

This may be a poor example but I am going to use it anyway. The Bible talks a lot about vessels. So for arguments sake say before I got saved I was a clay cup. When God saved me he made me a golden chalice. He changed the very being if who I am and but Himself in me to make me something completely different. When that happened it could never be improved upon. The only thing I can do now is make the cup dirty or try to improve it myself. I can sin and fill the cup with sewer water and muddy the outside but only God can clean it and make it what it is supposed to be again. I can try to improve upon it by putting bedazzled jewels on it or coloring a pretty picture on it but all I can do is make it look cheap and gaudy. God made it perfect and He can continue to cleanse it and purify it but when He saved me He made me holy.

So how do we be that city on the hill and the light of the world? Share Christ with everyone. Share the joy of our salvation with everyone. Share the fact that we actually have a life worth living with everyone. There is finally a purpose. Never hide or be ashamed of who you are. You are an ambassador for Christ. You are His representative here on Earth and He is living through you leading and guiding you. 

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Here is something to ponder --

1.  The character of God's Law is holy.  Thus it is in perfect unity with the perfect holiness of the Lord our God.
2.  The character of God's Spirit is holy.  Thus he is in perfect unity with the perfect holiness of the Lord our God.

3.  If by character God's Law directs us in a perfect standard of holiness, and if by character God's Spirit directs us in a perfect standard of holiness, in what manner does God's Law and God's Spirit contradict each other?

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4 hours ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Here is something to ponder --

1.  The character of God's Law is holy.  Thus it is in perfect unity with the perfect holiness of the Lord our God.
2.  The character of God's Spirit is holy.  Thus he is in perfect unity with the perfect holiness of the Lord our God.

3.  If by character God's Law directs us in a perfect standard of holiness, and if by character God's Spirit directs us in a perfect standard of holiness, in what manner does God's Law and God's Spirit contradict each other?

Short and to the point, well done Bro. Scott.

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3 hours ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Here is something to ponder --

1.  The character of God's Law is holy.  Thus it is in perfect unity with the perfect holiness of the Lord our God.
2.  The character of God's Spirit is holy.  Thus he is in perfect unity with the perfect holiness of the Lord our God.

3.  If by character God's Law directs us in a perfect standard of holiness, and if by character God's Spirit directs us in a perfect standard of holiness, in what manner does God's Law and God's Spirit contradict each other?

I am thinking very hard about how to respond to you and ensure I get my point across and use the correct language to do so.

In Galatians 3:19-25 Paul explains the purpose of the law. The law cannot bring righteousness only faith in Christ can. The law is a schoolmaster to bring me to Christ, once I am under Christ I am no longer under the schoolmaster.

In Acts 15 when the gentiles were told they had to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses Peter responded by asking why they would be put under a yoke that their fathers nor them could bear. It was determined that believers did not need to keep the law.

As I stated already if I am loving God with everything and loving my neighbor as myself I have done what Christ what Christ has asked. When we put ourselves under the law we must then ask what law? We then divide the law up into different sections such as ceremonial, sacrificial, dietary, moral, etc. Then say that the moral law applies but the rest doesn't. Then we make following the moral law and whatever else we determine falls under that matters of personal holiness. 

We have added moral standards of dress and personal conduct to the moral law we have put ourselves under. A Christian cannot go to the movies because Hollywood is evil or because someone may see us and get the idea that we were watching something we shouldn't have been. But many Christians will wait and watch the movies on Netflix or Redbox or by some other means in their home. If women will bring their pants to the church we will exchange them for skirts and burn the pants. We could go on and on. But just because someone looks the part and can act the part for the 2-4 hours you may see them on a Sunday doesn't mean anything. They can still be lost and look like the best Christian we have ever seen. 

God establishes holiness not us. God makes us holy not us. God keeps us holy not us. 

The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

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29 minutes ago, AdamL said:

I am thinking very hard about how to respond to you and ensure I get my point across and use the correct language to do so.

In Galatians 3:19-25 Paul explains the purpose of the law. The law cannot bring righteousness only faith in Christ can. The law is a schoolmaster to bring me to Christ, once I am under Christ I am no longer under the schoolmaster.

In Acts 15 when the gentiles were told they had to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses Peter responded by asking why they would be put under a yoke that their fathers nor them could bear. It was determined that believers did not need to keep the law.

As I stated already if I am loving God with everything and loving my neighbor as myself I have done what Christ what Christ has asked. When we put ourselves under the law we must then ask what law? We then divide the law up into different sections such as ceremonial, sacrificial, dietary, moral, etc. Then say that the moral law applies but the rest doesn't. Then we make following the moral law and whatever else we determine falls under that matters of personal holiness. 

We have added moral standards of dress and personal conduct to the moral law we have put ourselves under. A Christian cannot go to the movies because Hollywood is evil or because someone may see us and get the idea that we were watching something we shouldn't have been. But many Christians will wait and watch the movies on Netflix or Redbox or by some other means in their home. If women will bring their pants to the church we will exchange them for skirts and burn the pants. We could go on and on. But just because someone looks the part and can act the part for the 2-4 hours you may see them on a Sunday doesn't mean anything. They can still be lost and look like the best Christian we have ever seen. 

God establishes holiness not us. God makes us holy not us. God keeps us holy not us. 

The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Just because people can act the part on the outside while being dirty on the inside, does not mean that the outside should be dirty if the inside truly is clean. 

Standards should be a reflection of inner holiness, if someone refuses to watch things certain movies or TV shows because they violate Psalm 101:3 "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes", then that is not an abuse of standards, that is someone seeking in that area of their life to walk in holiness using God's word as their guide. Pastor Markle already pointed at that the law is holy. therefore we should live by the law as a guide and aid to us in reflecting the holy character and nature of God, but not as a means for which to attain salvation. And while yes the Law does not make us holy,  it still, however, is a guide and measuring rod for us. 

Again though, I will point out that just because some may conform to external rules while neglecting the inside, does not mean that the problem is with having rules and principles from the word of God guiding our lives.

I believe what you are presenting here is called an "either or" fallacy, whereby you present two options as if they are the only two options. it is a false dichotomy.

Maybe I am misunderstanding you, but that's what I am seeing.

Now I will grant to you that I think sometimes IFB do make up their own PERSONAL applications of biblical principles and pass them off as if they were the biblical principle or law itself. 

Edited by Jordan Kurecki

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56 minutes ago, Jordan Kurecki said:

Just because people can act the part on the outside while being dirty on the inside, does not mean that the outside should be dirty if the inside truly is clean. 

Standards should be a reflection of inner holiness, if someone refuses to watch things certain movies or TV shows because they violate Psalm 101:3 "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes", then that is not an abuse of standards, that is someone seeking in that area of their life to walk in holiness using God's word as their guide. Pastor Markle already pointed at that the law is holy. therefore we should live by the law as a guide and aid to us in reflecting the holy character and nature of God, but not as a means for which to attain salvation. And while yes the Law does not make us holy,  it still, however, is a guide and measuring rod for us. 

Again though, I will point out that just because some may conform to external rules while neglecting the inside, does not mean that the problem is with having rules and principles from the word of God guiding our lives.

I believe what you are presenting here is called an "either or" fallacy, whereby you present two options as if they are the only two options. it is a false dichotomy.

Maybe I am misunderstanding you, but that's what I am seeing.

Now I will grant to you that I think sometimes IFB do make up their own PERSONAL applications of biblical principles and pass them off as if they were the biblical principle or law itself. 

What law are we supposed to measure ourselves against? Thou shalt not kill? If it doesn't have fins and scales it is an abomination? Not wearing garmets of divers sort? Sin offerings? Temple worship? Sabbath keeping? Not coveting?

Or are we to pick and choose which laws we decide are moral laws and follow those? 

Is there a verse that tells me what laws I am to follow as a born again believer? Are there verses upon verses that tell me to be led by the Spirit? Pastor Markle mentioned Romans 8:4 and said that we would be led to fulfill the righteousness of the law... Christ fufilled the law and His righteousness is applied to us. Verse 4 is a continuation of verse 3. It doesn't say I will be led to fulfill the law it says Christ came to condemn sin in the flesh and fufill righteousness in those that walk after the Spirit because the law could not do that.

I have standards and I have personal convictions for myself and my family. But those are mine and not to be forced on anyone else or put up as a test of fellowship for others. If I know a brother chooses to not eat pork and he comes to my house for a meal I won't make pulled pork sandwiches out of respect for him, even though I have no problem eating pork. I wear a suit and tie to church, my wife and daughter always where skirts or dresses unless doing something where it would not be appropriate or safe. I am not going to tell someone else what their wife and daughter should wear, if they want to wear pants that is between them and God, it has nothing to do with me. If a brother has no problem watching R rated action movies that is between him and God it has nothing to do with me. 

I met a man that was considered one of the best bus captains in my area. He came and preached at my church. He said the entire time he was running his bus route he was not saved and addicted to cocaine. Others came to him for advice and training on how to improve their bus routes. Everyone thought he was the greatest soul winner and Christian the whole while he is snorting massive amounts of cocaine and high as a kite. Praise God that He got ahold of this man's heart and saved him and now uses him in a RU ministry.

I believe we should allow people to grow in God's grace and not demand they follow a bunch of made up rules. Is there a verse in the Bible that says you can't go to the movie theater? Since there isn't I can't forbid anyone from going. I could decide that I have a personal conviction for myself and my family that we won't go to the movies and if someone asks I can explain why I hold that conviction and they can take it and make up their own mind about it. 

Christ fufiled the law. The law brought me to Christ and now I am under Him. I will be a living sacrifice to Him. If he requires me to place myself under the law I will but I don't see anywhere that He has done that. He has told me to love God and love my neighbor and to be a witness for Him. I see multiple places in Scripture where the Holy Spirit inspired the author to tell the people that they are not under the law but under grace. He didn't give them a license to do whatever they wanted but to represent God who saved them.

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Here is something else to ponder --

Is there a New Testament "law" for which the New Testament believer is responsible before the Lord our God?  What I mean is this -- Without considering any part of the Old Testament Scriptures at all, does the New Testament record any number of commands, statutes, precepts, requirements, standards of righteousness and holiness, for the New Testament believer to obey in order to walk aright with the Lord our God?

(Note: Having actually done a study through the New Testament Scriptures on just the "command statements" of the New Testament, I would contend that there are upwards to 300+ such commands, statutes, precepts, requirements, standards of righteousness and holiness for the New Testament believer to obey in order to walk aright with the Lord our God.)

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I do not look at Christianity, or being truly born again as a system of do's and don't's. This is how the unsaved world views Christianity.

It is not that I don't ever think about rules or laws, but simply that I don't impose them on others because it is not my place to do so; this is the work of the Holy Spirit. I don't use the observance of certain laws in my Christian life a a"badge" of some sort to show others my spirituality.

But instead, if I am truly born again I will be led of the Spirit of God who is well able to guide my life, thoughts and actions. Thus I have no need to even worry about subjects such as we see in this thread. To me, if I even have to ask myself the question of  what law I am supposed to follow, I am focusing on the wrong thing.

I guess I just consider subjects such as this as more of a state of mind and heart, rather than a system in and of itself.

 Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 
 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 
 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these;
 ............................

Bro. Scott posted as I was writing this. What he wrote caused me to pause and think. He is of course correct. I just don't think well in the mornings, but do think that what I wrote above is also correct if we are truly led of the Spirit. For it is the Spirit of God that will lead us to walk in the commands, precepts and requirements he outlined.

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12 minutes ago, Jim_Alaska said:

Bro. Scott posted as I was writing this. What he wrote caused me to pause and think. He is of course correct. I just don't think well in the mornings, but do think that what I wrote above is also correct if we are truly led of the Spirit. For it is the Spirit of God that will lead us to walk in the commands, precepts and requirements he outlined. (emboldening and underlining added by Pastor Scott Markle)

Indeed, this has been one of the intended points for my "thought-question" postings above.  There is a great spiritual error made when we create a DIVISON between obedience unto our Lord God's commands and following after the Holy Spirit's direction.  These two things are NOT divided in their true Biblical reality.  On the other hand, when a doctrinal position begins to divide them, that position will likely disregard one of the two "sides," while heavily pushing the other "side."  Either extreme will result in doctrinal and behavioral falsehood.

(Note: I do indeed believe that the independent Baptist movement has indeed fallen into the trap somewhat of pursuing one side extreme at the expense of the other.)

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Thank you for that timely post Bro. Scott. I am glad to see that we are in agreement although approaching this subject from two different positions. Our two posts reaffirm each position, while at the same time others who may be reading can see the clear meaning and validity of each post.

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