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Offline OldDad

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« on: Mon Jul 22, 2002 - 12:00:17 »
Missy,

Good topic.  I have often taught that my ministry may look the same after I begin to get my arms around grace, but it is profoundly different.

I no longer "do" in order to "be".   I now "do" because "I am".

I'm no longer working in order to wheedle acceptance, forgiveness, or approval from God.  But because I am all of those things before Him, my work flows from me as rivers of living water.

To take it a step farther, it's no longer me doing the work, but it is Christ in me, living His life through me, as me!

OD

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« on: Mon Jul 22, 2002 - 12:00:17 »

Offline janine

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« Reply #1 on: Mon Jul 22, 2002 - 13:01:55 »
So, someone you see as a "gracer", who also sees himself as a "gracer"... the moment he looks down his nose at a law-bound one, the moment he puts coercive pressure on nearby law-oriented ones, he reveals himself as a closet legalist!:0

We can fall into binding legalistic demands for conformity on others, even if the things we want to bind are the characteristics of what we see as grace-centeredness...  ;)

Offline seekr

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« Reply #2 on: Mon Jul 29, 2002 - 17:00:53 »
Finding the freedom in grace and the law is abolished and love reigns--I still periodically get bound up in legalism and start to perform instead of be filled with His righteousness. Do you find that in yourselves also? I KNOW always with my heart and mind but the carnal nature undermines my commitment and the enemy robs me temporarily. I do know that God will deliver me completely and His promise to me holds me when i falter and lose my sight. I understand Paul when he said he was perplexed but not in despair. I love what you all wrote about grace and how God has delivered you.

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« Reply #2 on: Mon Jul 29, 2002 - 17:00:53 »

Offline nerdneh

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« Reply #3 on: Mon Jul 29, 2002 - 21:35:39 »
A few years ago I was chatting with a christian friend, who happens to be a psychiatrist. In the course of the conversation, he asked me how I was "doing" emotionally. I said, to this effect, I was having a difficult time living up to my ideals and that was discouraging to me.

He replied, "Well, it appears to me you preach a most biblical doctrine of grace, but actually practice legalism in your personal life. You believe that others will be saved by grace, but you seem to believe you will be saved by works." Of course, I protested, but later, indeed with some pain, I realized the indictment was truer than I would like to believe.

As far as legalists being lost, I suppose that would mean all of us, because I fear even the best of us do not appreciate or understand how powerful and effective the Lord's Work of Grace is. No doubt we are all grateful that the business of saving is God's business, not ours. In the same way, none of us are in charge of who is lost. That's not my department, nor yours.

The nature of our rhetoric in the CofC is dialectic, immediately to polarize any question, so that whatever topic emerges is "either" - "or." If one preaches grace, he or she must be saying all legalists are lost. If one preaches law salvation, well, naturally all "gracers" are lost. Yet, since most of us contain quite a mixture of each of these, God must operate at a higher, more synthetic level than we are capable of, and that is a very good thing.

Still, one must hold to this, it seems, it is not my perfect belief in grace that saves me, rather it is the Perfect Lord! We are not saved by faith in faith, or faith in grace, or certainly not by faith in law, but by faith in Christ.

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« Reply #3 on: Mon Jul 29, 2002 - 21:35:39 »
Pinterest: GraceCentered.com

Offline janine

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« Reply #4 on: Tue Jul 30, 2002 - 18:23:03 »
Never mind, nice rambling.

A faith like Abraham's sprouts out obedience all over itself like potato eyes bursting into vines.

A faith like a devil's is just as "real", as far as assent and knowledge with certainty that God is.  It just has no growth. It is stillborn.

I guess that sort of faith is a rotten potato.

It's still a potato... but is does nothing for the, ah, eater?  I guess?

Boy, do I need lunch.  No blood sugar in the brain. ;)

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« Reply #4 on: Tue Jul 30, 2002 - 18:23:03 »



Offline nerdneh

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« Reply #5 on: Wed Jul 31, 2002 - 03:05:54 »
Skip, and anyone else reading this of course, I recall Bonhoeffer writing something like this; "To believe is to obey and to disbelieve is to disobey." I do not have a problem with obedience to God, as it is in the nature of faith in God to hearken to Him and desire His will be done in one's life.

I may be off the mark here, but I have often heard preachers confine obedience to "acts" one does to become a Christian plus the "acts" one does to worship correctly, etc. This seems to be an extraordinary reshaping of the concept of obedience, which I take not to be the performance of certain "acts," but the active seeking of the heart of God.

Obeying the gospel must be a lifelong process rather than a short term performance of certain actions. I see obeying the gospel as lining one's life up with spiritual reality, which is called faith in the Bible. After all, we cannot create a universe that adheres to our preferences. We might get up in the morning and desire a neon pink sky and purple grass, but it is not likely to happen. We must operate within the parameters of the real world in order to be healthy both mentally and physically.

In the same way, God's way is the most sensible and appropriate way for His creation to live. To obey God, thus showing that faith is something more than an inner disposition, places us into the hands of the most benevolent Master. The greatest freedom is to have the Greatest Master.

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« Reply #5 on: Wed Jul 31, 2002 - 03:05:54 »

Offline mclifft

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« Reply #6 on: Mon Jul 22, 2002 - 00:20:45 »
I am really glad to find some other "gracers" here.  I have had many talks with my Dad regarding this topic, and his term for me is a gracer.   :D

In my Bible study & prayers, I have come to several conclusions about grace vs. law......

1. If a person is truly grace centered, his or her actions will not be much different than a legalists.
2. The motivators for a gracer & a legalist are different.  Gracers tend to be motivated by love, while a legalist tends to be motivated by fear.

And this is the biggie:

3. BOTH law and grace will change behavior but only one will change the heart.

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« Reply #7 on: Mon Jul 22, 2002 - 12:16:10 »
Good stuff guys...love it..

Offline Booty

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« Reply #8 on: Mon Jul 22, 2002 - 15:01:45 »
If almighty God who has the power to bind all does not, then who are we to do otherwise?

Praying that someone will change their point of view is certainly appropriate when you feel them to be in error. Discussing repectfully your differences is as God would have it. Arriving at the accord to disagree is love in action.

Beyond this point, I feel is the exclusive domain of the Lord.

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« Reply #8 on: Mon Jul 22, 2002 - 15:01:45 »

Offline Skip

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« Reply #9 on: Mon Jul 29, 2002 - 16:50:09 »
Lost legalists, saved gracers?

[!--QuoteBegin--][/span][table border=\"0\" align=\"center\" width=\"95%\" cellpadding=\"3\" cellspacing=\"1\"][tr][td]Quote [/td][/tr][tr][td id=\"QUOTE\"][!--QuoteEBegin--]3. BOTH law and grace will change behavior but only one will change the heart.
[/quote] :0

Missy and others,

Perhaps you should explain this point further, for this statement implies to me that 'legalists' are lost.

Since all others posting to this thread appear to concur with these three points - ranging from "atta-girl!" to "silence is consent" - shall I conclude that the gracer viewpoint holds that 'legalists' are lost?

(Actually, since 'legalist' means different things to different people, maybe the term should be clearly defined first.)

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« Reply #10 on: Mon Jul 29, 2002 - 18:59:30 »
A lot of good comments here.  I find this pride that is at the source of legalism present in my own life, and when I find it, I realize it usually lies undetected.  When I think of all of the "legalistic" things I believed in the past and how I simply thought of them as following God's will and not legalism, I realize that I most likely still hold several beliefs and "legalistic" opinions. But, since I am taught in the Bible that the source of my salvation lies not in my own righteousness and obedience but in "one act of righteousness" and "the obedience of one man" on the cross (Romans 5), I realize that neither my own awareness of the grace of God nor my own law-keeping is something I can take pride in.  I may be a "gracer" and I may still be a "legalist" in more ways than I know, but I am still a struggling human who suffers the same disease as the rest of humanity--an inability to get it right on my own and an absolute dependance on Christ.

To me the comment about legalism not being able to change the heart is true, but I would add that there are few true legalists.  Most of those whom we would call "legalist"  (along with me, I realize more and more) only have legalistic tendancies, but realize, along with those of us who would call ourselves "gracers" that we are all dependant on God.  Having said this, I will say that true change comes not from pure legalism but from a submission to God--trusting Him to change your life and living your life with your eyes on him, not just on a list of commands.  Again, though, I believe that many whom we label "legalists" do this.  I guess I would argue then that while "legalism" doesnt' save, trust in God does.  And while I believe that legalism misses the point of Biblical salvation by grace, and even believe that our legalistic tendencies keep us from enjoying the freedom he would have us enjoy, I do not believe that our perfect understanding of grace saves us.  Only faith in Christ's sacrifice on the cross does that. :D

Offline Arkstfan

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« Reply #11 on: Tue Jul 30, 2002 - 19:02:40 »
Name one thing that the "legalist" does that is wrong when couched as preference.

The danger of legalism is when one binds the opinion on others.

If a congregation does not want a Sunday school what business is it of mine?
If they want one cup how does that impact me?
If they are opposed to Kool-aid cookies at vacation Bible school how is my faith impacted?
If someone hates 99 and 44/100ths percent of the songs written after 1945 and doesn't want to use them where am I harmed?

The questions I posed are the dark side of the grace-centered movement.

I see the Bible providing the freedom for Sunday school, many cups, cherry Kool-aid and vanilla creme cookies at VBS and contemporary music.

I don't see where my freedom to choose those things becomes a mandate to grace others into choosing them as well.

The g-c movement has to get off the defensive of trying to win the argument over any of these types of things and when encountered by the person who does want to argue we have to learn to answer "I love you brother, I disagree with you about this but I think God did give you the freedom to choose to not have those things."

Offline segell

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« Reply #12 on: Wed Jul 31, 2002 - 16:37:36 »
Hello -

Must admit I haven't had the chance to read all the posts in this thread as carefully as I should before writing.  (I'm at work and need to be attentive to my time).  

Anyway, a thought.

Legalism is idolatry.  In that legalism promotes a focus on the person (individual or corporate) with regard to salvation and other theological issues.  Grace, on the other hand, points to our Holy, Sovereign God's perfect plan for reconciliation and salvation in the perfect life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Ultimately, it is where we find the focus of the eyes of our hearts that tell where we are and in whom (or what) we trust.  And before any of us who cling to God's grace by faith in the Lord Jesus, breath a sigh of relief and say to ourselves "well, I am not an idolator", I ask us all to pause and consider how often we run to the lead ahead of our Lord.  There is a reason why Jesus had to die for me.  There is a reason Our Lord had to die for each individual.  It is that we are sinners - more than we allow ourselves to come to grips with.  People full of God's grace rely and trust completely in Jesus' righteousness.  Alas, those legalists (one of whom I can become) rely and trust in their own "righteous obedience".  It is sad, but I believe too true - a legalist becomes an idolator (an idolator we all can be whenever we trust or rely on our own strength apart from God).

Steve

Offline nerdneh

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« Reply #13 on: Mon Jul 22, 2002 - 06:15:42 »
Missy, good insights indeed. Grace is often viewed as soft and easy, while following the law is seen as the essence of true religion. Actually, it is the other way around. Grace requires that God would have to provide the answer for our sin, and therefore Grace is so costly that God's Son was not spared. Legalism requires only a commitment to a code of rules, no expense to God is involved here.

Legalism says the problem of sin is not so bad, you just get on track with keeping the rules and all will be well. Grace says that sin is so bad that there is only a God-sized answer for it and that is the Cross. Only in admitting your total inability to accomplish your own salvation and relying totally on God's solution will result in your salvation.. This is too humbling for most "good folks" who do not think they are all that bad as to need so complete a salvation. Grace is an insult to human competence in the area of salvation. Who wants to admit they are powerless to save themselves? Legalism gives you the illusion that you can save yourself.

Ethical behavior in grace-centeredness is based on gratitude (Eph 2:8-10), and not the hope of a reward for "being good." Because God gives us grace and makes our salvation possible we do good works out of appreciation. If we do not work or "become involved in our own salvation" (Phil 2:12), we will not see that "God is at work in us, both to provide the will and the ability to operate at His good pleasure.(Phil 2:13).

Offline Booty

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« Reply #14 on: Mon Jul 22, 2002 - 12:47:30 »
GRACER  Love the term I do. And your ownself as well Lass.

Bob as always you have brought a clear understanding to the fog.

I will add another difference that exists amongst Gracers and Legalists. That is the tactics used by some Legalists.

A Gracer allows you your point of view with respect. Respect being a essential foundation of love.

A Legalist may attempt to deny you your point of view by using various methods of coercion; defammation, disfellowship etc.

Sad, but true.

Offline Lacy

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« Reply #15 on: Mon Jul 29, 2002 - 01:05:54 »
Grace and Freedom

There is no freedom under law, nor is thate any bondage under grace. Anders Nygren, in his commentayr on Romans (the best thing I have ever read on Romans), admonishes his readers to enjoy and never to lose their freedom. There are two ways we can lose it:

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourself be burdened again by a yoke of slavery" (Gal. 5:1).

"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature" (Gal. 5:13).

Nygren uses these verses to support his comment on law and grace in Romans, and says that these two verses are injunctions against LEGALISM and LIBERALISM respectively.

Stay free,

Lacy

Offline seekr

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« Reply #16 on: Mon Jul 29, 2002 - 18:27:37 »
And Skip, legalism binds the person caught up in it. It is a painful place to be. At the bottom of legalism is self-righteousness and pride, as opposed to Christ's righteousness in us. The outward performance becomes the gage and the inward sin is denied. All of us have a nature that leans towards this, but God can deliver us from ourselves. Following all the scriptual regulations does not make one a Christian. Loving God and loving others in relationship to Him who paid for us is what makes a disciple. I think most of us get caught up in legalism in our wanting to please God and hopefully we will grow in the grace that God has given us. Some will be lost and some won't--only God knows that one.

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« Reply #17 on: Mon Jul 29, 2002 - 22:43:00 »
Does the following apply to this discussion?
[!--QuoteBegin--][/span][table border=\"0\" align=\"center\" width=\"95%\" cellpadding=\"3\" cellspacing=\"1\"][tr][td]Quote [/td][/tr][tr][td id=\"QUOTE\"][!--QuoteEBegin--]
Accept Christians who are weak in faith, and don't argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it is all right to eat anything. But another believer who has a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won't. And those who won't eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn God's servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord's power will help them do as they should.[/quote]

I read somewhere where somebody put it like this - think it was in regard to this scripture -  that Paul's saying, "I don't care what you think, and I don't care what I think! What matters is what God thinks!"

I trust that God's grace covers "legalists" and "gracers" alike and every shade inbetween, as in His grace and infinite wisdom, He leaves allowances for each of us to answer to our consciences on matters of opinion.

Offline nerdneh

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« Reply #18 on: Tue Jul 30, 2002 - 05:12:03 »
Skip, you are as clear a thinker as I have seen in awhile, and your posts are a model of clarity, in my opinion. I see the question you are posing a bit better, since you have pointed to the source of it in the idea of the changed heart.

Certainly, I cannot speak for Missy's intent, but I agree with  you that a changed heart is essential. Since it is unwise to assign thoughts to someone else, I will refrain from saying, maybe she meant this, or maybe she meant that.

My reading leads me to understand God is the author of the changed heart, as in the Jeremiah 31 passage quoted in Hebrews 8:10. Yet, I know the passage in Hebrews 3:15 talks of not hardening our hearts. In Romans 9:18 (I am sure you are familiar with the entire context of Romans 9-11) we have the astounding statement; "So, indeed, he is merciful to whom he desires, and he hardens whom he desires." I do not believe this is an arbitrary action on God's part, but is rooted in His grace and I am convinced the mechanism of this is God's Word to the individual.

So, an evil heart of unbelief, from my study, is in a person who willfully choses sin over God. Thus, by God's own decree this individual has a hardened heart.

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« Reply #19 on: Tue Jul 30, 2002 - 21:27:22 »
I shared on another thread, I think it was Why I'm a member of...about my church experience, so I won't repeat it here.
The thing is, having always been part of a "grace" church, although we were simply Christ-centered, New Testament practicing people, I'm studying my way through this issue of grace/legalism. I came across a Bible called, simply "What the Bible says about Grace, by Bill Pile. In his acknowledgments he says, [!--QuoteBegin--][/span][table border=\"0\" align=\"center\" width=\"95%\" cellpadding=\"3\" cellspacing=\"1\"][tr][td]Quote [/td][/tr][tr][td id=\"QUOTE\"][!--QuoteEBegin--]Behind this volume is a personal pilgrimage (from legalism to grace) made by its author during a nearly thirty-year period. That trip would not have been possible without the following individuals...and he names a few and then goes on to say, 'A host of Christians and Christian leaders who have been encouraged to tase what was for them the "new Wine" of Christian grace under my preaching. They liked it, begged for more and validated it with their lives, and he names many names...and dozens of others whose lives have blossomed under the warm sunshine of God's grace.[/quote]

Part 1 is entitled "The Theology of Grace," and Part 2 is "Grace Living."

At the end of each chapter is a "What do you think?" section and also a a section called "Into the Life."  I'm looking forward to learning more about a subject I fear I have taken for granted for many years...as I find myself in a church that in many ways is as opposite a grace oriented church as you can find. :(  ??? Thankfully, we seem to be moving in a more loving direction, under the guidance of some new, sweet-spirited elders.

A few of his suggestions for study pertain to a lot of things that I have read on this discussion board...1. "What is your personal motivation for godly living? Are you motivated mostly by love for God? Or by rules and regulations of the church? Or by peer pressure? Evalute your congregation the same way."
2. "In what areas would Jesus say the world's values have encroached on your Christian life? Decide what a lovig response to those problem areas would be. Set goals and timetables for making needed changes."  3. "For discussion: What is there in the human spirit that longs for codes of conduct, rules for living, standards of dress, speech, entertainment, etc.? Which is the more mature approach -- holiness through grace or holiness through rules?" 4. "Make a fruit of the spirit chart and evaluate yourself....."

Anyway, it'll be a great study. Better get at it, day's a-wastin.

Offline seekr

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« Reply #20 on: Wed Jul 31, 2002 - 18:24:55 »
segell, really good thoughts. What i have been pondering also is, what makes someone a disciple? Is it because at one time we said a prayer and got baptized and now we go to church and follow all the rules set before us and make sure those around us are following them also? Wasn't that what the Pharisees did? When does it quit being religion and become relationship instead? Are we truly following in the steps of Christ when sacrifice and love are at the bottom of our list? Charles Sheldon asked these questions. Here is just one excerpt from the book "In His Steps"--

"But the personal touch of the Christian disciple was very hard to secure for personal work. Where was the discipleship that was obeying the Master's command to go itself to the suffering and give itself with its gift in order to make the gift of value in time to come? Men would give money who would not think of giving themselves. And the money they gave did not represent any real sacrifice because they did not miss it. They gave what was the easiest to give, what hurt them the least. Where did the sacrifice come in? Was this following Jesus? Was this going with Him all the way? He had been to members of his own aristocratic, splendidly wealthy congregations, and was appalled to find how few men and women of that luxurious class in the churches would really suffer any genuine inconvenience for the sake of suffering humanity. Is charity the giving of worn-out garments? Is it a ten-dollar bill given to a paid visitor or secretary of some benevolent organization in the church? Shall the man never go and give his gift himself? Shall the woman never deny herself her reception or her party or her musicale, and go and actually touch, herself, the foul, sinful sore of diseased humanity as it festers in the great metropolis? Shall charity be conveniently and easily done through some organization? Is it possible to organize the affections so that love shall work disagreeable things by proxy?....What is the test of Christian discipleship? Is it not the same as in Christ's own time? Have our surroundings modified or changed the test? If Jesus were here today would He not call some of the members of this very church to do just what He commanded the young man, and ask them to give up their wealth and literally follow Him? I believe He would do that if He felt certain that any church member thought more of his possessions than of the Savior. The test would be the same today as then. I believe Jesus would demand He does demand now -- as close a following, as much suffering, as great self-denial as when He lived in person on the earth and said, 'Except a man renounce all that he hath he cannot be my disciple.' That is, unless he is willing to do it for my sake, he cannot be my disciple"

We can speak of restoration, but what is it we are trying to restore? Our fixation on the rules are not restoration but our willingness to sacrifice and give of ourselves in the love of God. This book was written in the 1800's and I think momentarily Christ's church was restored and not because of how they did church but because they denied themselves and followed into the battle that exists in our world today. Let's remain comfortable and give our tenth and stay in prayer while people suffer and feel we've done our duty.

Again "Except a man renounce all that he hath he cannot be my disciple."

seekr

Offline OldDad

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« Reply #21 on: Mon Jul 22, 2002 - 11:52:40 »
Bob,

Excellent!  That is as succinct and understandable an explanation of grace vs. law as I have heard anywhere.  Might I use it, slightly adapted and with full credit to you?

OD

Offline janine

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« Reply #22 on: Mon Jul 22, 2002 - 12:55:39 »
If "grace centered" vs "law centered" gets partyish in people's minds, I like abandoning the both for "Christ centered".  That was good.

I no longer do in order to be... I be in order to do... to get Elizabethan or Ebonic on you.  Good, O.D.!

As for the Phil. 2:12 thing:

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling..."

I always got out of that about what Bob said.  The working out of my salvation is the expressing or manifesting of it; or the lifelong head-on acceptance of the puzzle of serving the Lord; and there's certainly nothing wrong with fearful awestruck trembling reverence.  Ol' Mack Lyon had at least a couple of good points with his booklet about God being revered.

Offline nerdneh

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« Reply #23 on: Tue Jul 23, 2002 - 01:50:13 »
Old Dad, certainly feel free to use anything I say if it would help anyone to see the glorious riches in Christ! How joyous it is to see folks rejoicing in the grace of God.

Offline Lacy

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« Reply #24 on: Mon Jul 29, 2002 - 17:49:02 »
Greetings,

I don't believe anyone is saying that either gracers or legalists will be lost. It's a matter of living as God has taught to live in Christ. Since GRACE IS ABOVE THE LAW, we also live above the Law when we live by faith. Isn't that what Paul says in Rom. 8:3,4? ""He condemned sin in sinful man, IN ORDER THAT the righteousness requirements of the law might be FULLY MET in us,who do not live according to the sinful nature but accordin to the Spirit."

Our greatest concern, as people iwho live under grace, is not to condemn the legalists or grieve over the legal burden they bear, but to exemplify the freedom we have found and encourage them to accept the freedom of grace which God is estending them.

We must not be like the old Dutchman I heard about. This old fellow was in a discussion with a friend about all the ways Christians in other nations were violatiing the Scriptures. Some were improperly dressed, some went to the moving picture show, others played cards and some even danced. The poor old fellow got so burdened about the apostasy in the Lord's church in other nations that he began to cry; and as he cried, tears ran down his cheeks on to his pipe and dropped off into his beer."

Freedom is for freeing!

Lacy

Offline Skip

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« Reply #25 on: Mon Jul 29, 2002 - 22:13:45 »
Perhaps I should further explain my point, as it seems that everyone has missed it because I failed to lay down the background for my thoughts.

I am in the process of memorizing the book of Hebrews, and as a result I have recently spent a great deal of time in Hebrews chapters 2 through 4.
In chapters 3 and 4 the author expounds upon the passage, Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart..., going on to point out that the children of Israel failed to enter rest because of a disobedient, unbelieving heart.

Naturally, the first thing that enters my mind when I see the statement...
[!--QuoteBegin--][/span][table border=\"0\" align=\"center\" width=\"95%\" cellpadding=\"3\" cellspacing=\"1\"][tr][td]Quote [/td][/tr][tr][td id=\"QUOTE\"][!--QuoteEBegin--]3. BOTH law and grace will change behavior but only one will change the heart.
- Missy[/quote]
...is that this point suggests that the 'legalists' heart is unchanged, and according to Scripture, the hardened heart will not enter His rest (where I read "unchanged" and "hardened" as synonyms).

So, no, I have no intention to divide or judge, but I seek a clarification --
for I find that the wording of the quote above, in Scriptural terms, leads to the natural conclusion that the legalist is lost.

Apparently I have misunderstood your message, because on the one hand the language seems to judge the legalist as lost, but on the other hand many have swooped in to state that the legalist is not lost.

So there you have it. I guess that there is a disconnect between your use of "heart" and mine, for in my reading of the Scripture (not just Hebrews), a changed heart is absolutely essential.

Offline Skip

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« Reply #26 on: Tue Jul 30, 2002 - 16:24:21 »
Bob,

Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your posts as well. You have a good ability to express a thought in a way that is easy to understand.

Actually, a close look at Hebrews has been interesting, especially coming out of a study of James.
For one thing, the faith / works themes of James helped me to notice how that the author of Hebrews used 'unbelief' and 'disobedience' interchangeably.
For instance:
Heb. 3:19
So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.
Heb. 4:6
Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience,


This is not difficult to reconcile once one understands that the author of Hebrews is showing that it all depends on the heart, and if there is unbelief, then disobedience results -- the unbelief is inside and the disobedience is outside -- both 'symptoms' are caused by the same thing.

But I guess my rambling really doesn't have anything to do with the thread topic. :)

Offline Lacy

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« Reply #27 on: Tue Jul 30, 2002 - 22:08:09 »
Greetings,

Pay attention! Jesus is about to speak. This will be his last sermon, and it is addressed to Legalists. Paraphrasing His seven statements of woe, here is what he says:(Matt. 23. Look it up and see if this is not what He says.)

 l. Woe to you hypocritical guardians of your sects.
2. Woe to you hypocritical proselyters of others.
3. Woe unto you hypocritical blind guides.
4. Woe to you neglegant legalists who rely on your works.
5. Woe to you dirty-on-the-inside hypocrites who pretent      to be righteous.
6. Woe unto you hypocritical sinners who sin the way your fathers did.
7. Woe unto you vipers on your way to hell.

Did you ever hear anyone condemn Legalists the way Jesus did? The only consellation Christian legalists have is the fact that Jesus was preaching to those who didn't believe in Him, while Christian legalists do. But I think there is a great lesson here for Christian legalists, because they, like the unbelievers in Jesus' audience, put legalistic interpretation of Scripture and their opinions before the grace of God and dedication to Jesus Christ His Son. Self-righteousness is the problem, whether then or now.

There was no open forum after this sermon, nor was there ever another public discourse. After this sermon "Jesus left the temple" and His ministry.

Remember how often He said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear"? This applies to "Gracers" as well, one of which I am it!

Lacy

Offline spurly

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« Reply #28 on: Mon Sep 23, 2002 - 12:58:52 »
I've always looked at legalists as people who want to set up a system of how they are to be saved and how they are to live, and then live according to that checklist.  Not only that, they also want to force everyone else to live according to the checklists they have created.

Why do they do that?  They want something to measure themselves and other by that is concrete.  The unknown fears them.  Relying on grace fears them.

I have one student in my group that is always praying that we won't take advantage of God's grace.  It's a good prayer.  But behind that is his checklist - his idea of what it means to do that.  And he gets onto others when every box isn't checked.  He's only 15 though, maybe he will eventually get to a fuller understanding of God's grace and our response to it.

Kevin