Monday, March 31, 2014

A Note To The Image Of God Called Woman (5) - In Conclusion; Drawing The Line Between Holiness And Legalism

A NOTE TO THE IMAGE OF GOD CALLED WOMAN (5) - IN CONCLUSION; DRAWING THE LINE BETWEEN HOLINESS AND LEGALISM


By: Adom Ofori-Asenso
March 25, 2014 
Most believers in their desire to live holy lives end up entangling themselves with man-made rules other than the Word of God which is the Holy Bible. This may be as a result of misinterpretation of scriptures/revelations or the lack of knowledge/understanding in marrying the old and the new testaments (Hosea 4:6). In my own words, a life of Holiness is having the consciousness of living to please a Holy God by living according to His Word (the Holy Bible) under the inspiration and directions of the Holy Spirit. Legalism on the other hand is living out man-made rules which tend to add or subtract to the Word of God making one live under bondage other than the freedom Christ brings. Some acts of legalism I am aware of in some churches include ban on watching television, restricting the use drums and other instruments in the church except piano or guitar, the observance of the Sabbath in certain ways other than the direction of scriptures (e.g. never buy anything on the Sabbath, never light your stove or make a meal on the Sabbath, Sabbath must be observed only on Saturday etc), don’t wear earrings but you can wear engagement/wedding rings, restricting people on what they can eat by making them abstain from certain foods, forbidding priests to marry and preaching that the use of perfume and deodorant is a sin. I am sure the list goes on but these are just a few I am aware of.
Addressing the issue of legalism was and is a great concern of our savior Jesus Christ when He came on earth. For example, in the account of Matthew chapter 12, Jesus points out the issue of legalism as practiced by the Pharisees concerning the Sabbath. Also in Matthew’s account chapter 15, Jesus again rebukes the Pharisees of their acts of legalism and describes such legalistic teachings as ‘rules taught by men’ (Matthew 15:9 “9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men”). Apostle Paul also addresses the issue of legalism throughout his letters to the churches. I will address a few examples. In Romans chapter 14 for example, Paul talks about legalism concerning food. He makes the church understand that restrictions should not be placed on what one decides to eat. Paul further addresses the issue of legalism in Colossians 2: 6-23 and 2 Timothy 4. In short, Apostle Paul describes legalism in Colossians 2:8 “8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and basic principles of this world rather than on Christ”. That is why whatever you practice in your Christian faith should be scripturally aligned and based on Christ to produce sound doctrine.
Legalism is not godly living. After Paul raised the issue of legalism in Colossians 2, he further went on to Colossians 3 to clearly explain what it means to live holy and godly life pleasing to our Holy God. My NIV Bible gives the theme to this chapter as ‘Rules for Holy living’ which I strongly agree because the Christian walk is guided by scripturally aligned rules. Drawing our attention to legalism does not mean that the Christian walk is devoid of rules. That is the danger in most Christian teachings today. For the fear of legalism, the truth is totally silenced and not preached. Following the example of our Lord Jesus Christ and Apostle Paul, legalism can distinctively be addressed while preaching fellow believers to live Holy lives free from legalism. An example is seen in the charge or instruction Apostle Paul gave to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4: 7-11 “7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives tales; rather, train yourself to be GODLY. 8 For physical training is of some value, but GODLINESS has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance 10 (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11 Command and teach these things”.  Therefore, Paul was admonishing Timothy to hold on to sound doctrine by desisting from legalism whiles commanding, preaching and teaching godliness to his fellow believers.
As I conclude on ‘THE NOTE TO THE IMAGE OF GOD CALLED WOMAN’, I would encourage you to align everything discussed with scriptures and rely on the Holy Spirit to make your judgment. Throughout these notes, I have scripturally addressed and explained issues concerning fake/artificial hair, eye lashes and nails, face painting (make-up), skin bleaching, wearing of jewelries, indecent outfits etc  as not pleasing in the sight of our Holy and living God and as such will not have a place in the eternal kingdom of our Holy and living God. I thank God for extending His sufficient grace to me which has enabled me to understand these biblical truths which have changed my life. And most importantly to use me as a vessel to extend this message to everyone who have had the opportunity to read these notes. Shalom.

WHILES I TELL YOU THESE THINGS, I AM KEEPING MY OWN SELF IN THE LINE THROUGH THE SUFFICIENT GRACE AND MERCY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST LEST I MYSELF MISS HEAVEN.

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