HOUSMAIL HM#052 - LOVING JESUS IS NOT LEGALISM! 15 February 2000 __________________________________________________________________________
One of the great discoveries of the truly regenerate Christian heart, is that the secret of obedience and victory over temptation and sin, is to LOVE JESUS more!
"If you love me you WILL keep my commandments".(John 14:15)
"He who does not love me does not keep my commandments". (John 14:24) __________________________________________________________________________
It is a sad fact that, in this Laodicean age of the Church, (Rev 3:14-22) the term "LEGALISM" has become an epithet, levelled indiscriminately, and often SLANDEROUSLY, in an attempt to discredit true believers who dare to emphasise the importance of the words of Jesus about obedience. And the epithet is frequently accompanied by other accusations, such as "DENIAL OF GRACE" and "SALVATION BY WORKS".
Why is this so? Why should so many who claim to have received the GRACE OF GOD, be so resistant to the scriptural call to STRIVE for HOLINESS ..... without which none of us can hope to see God? (Heb 12:14)
I do not ask this next question to become a judge over others. But it must be asked ..... and each of us must answer it individually, for ourselves.
Could it be possible that resistance to teaching about obedience to Jesus, is actually a symptom of a deep spiritual problem in the hearts of the accusers?
If we listen carefully to Jesus, that would certainly seem to be the
answer! Read those two verses quoted above, and those which follow below.
Read them carefully and prayerfully. They are words from a book inspired
by God, and written for our learning!
"By this we may be sure that we know him, if
we keep his commandments. He who says "I know him" but disobeys his commandments
is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps his word, in
him truly LOVE FOR GOD is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are
in him: he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which
(1 John 2:3-6)
It is NOT LEGALISM to love Jesus enough to obey Him.
It is NOT LEGALISM for those who love Jesus, to talk amongst themselves about the meaning of obedience.
It is NOT LEGALISM to encourage others to love Jesus, and obey His commandments.
ALL OF THOSE THINGS ARE LOVE IN ACTION!
"Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do what I tell you?" (Luke 6:46)
"For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead." (James 2:26)
It is NOT LEGALISM to believe that obedience to the way of life described in the commandments of Jesus, is an essential and non-negotiable product of FAITH in the Gospel.
"(Paul) declared ..... that they should repent and turn to God and PERFORM DEEDS WORTHY OF THEIR REPENTANCE."(Acts 26:20-21)
THAT IS FAITH IN ACTION!
It is NOT LEGALISM to call others to the same repentance that we have experienced.
And it is NOT LEGALISM to contrast the sins which separate men from God, with the good works which will surely follow, when men truly believe and repent.
"REPENTANCE and forgiveness of sins SHOULD BE PREACHED in his name to all nations."(Luke 24:47)
It is NOT LEGALISM to name the sins from which men must repent, in order to receive GRACE.
"How shall they hear without a preacher". (Romans 10:14)
Repentance is the first word in the Gospel!
WE CANNOT PREACH THE GOSPEL EFFECTIVELY, WITHOUT USING IT!
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". (Matt 4:17)
"Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who REPENTS than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." (Luke 15:7)
"Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who TURN MANY TO RIGHTEOUSNESS, like the stars for ever and ever." (Daniel 12:2-3)