Monday, June 27, 2005

Teaching the Bible

It is my privilege to teach the Bible every week. For the past 10+ years I have preached every Sunday morning and evening at Believers Fellowship. When you consider other special occasions, I have preached well over 1,000 sermons in my time here. And I never cease to be amazed at how God uses His Word.

Right now I am going through Galatians on Sunday nights. Paul is aguing passionately for justification by faith alone. He is also arguing against the false teachings of the Judaizers. The Judaizers wanted to add getting circumcized and keeping the Law as necessary for salvation. The error of the Judaizers is still with us today in many forms.

Yesterday a lady visits our church and after the morning service she asks if she can speak with me. She wants to talk to me about leaving the false teaching church that she and her husband have been attending. So I meet with her before the evening service. The church they had been attending teaches that you must believe and be baptized in order to be saved. Just another version of the old Jadaizer error. After talking with her about justification by faith and baptism she had some other questions about the sovereignty of God in salvation. We had a good conversation and then the evening service began. During the service I preached from Galatians 2:11-21. What a powerful passage on justification by faith alone and the intimidating power of legalism. Legalism can be so intimidating that even Peter and Barnabas got swept along by it. Read my previous article on legalism (Keeping the Rules). After the service the lady thanked me for talking with her and told me how helpful the sermon had been for her. Who would have known that this woman would be at this service? Our sovereign Lord did and I marvel at His wisdom and grace.

Today I see that the good folks over at The Hold Fast quote from my article on legalism. But they also quote form Matt Chancey who complains about people crying legalism all the time while over looking blatant sin in the church. Therefore, I think it is necessary to clarify some things regarding legalism.

Legalism is when you add to justification by faith alone. When you say that you must believe and be baptized or you must believe and home school or you must believe and avoid churches that use drums. Of course it is necessary to address issues like fornication, husband-wife relationships, and rebellious chidren. Those are all biblical issues and should be dealt with accordingly. Not every one who talks about legalism is antinomian (against law, living like there is no law). However I have noticed something interesting that you may have encountered as well. Some people who are very legalistic about things at church (no drums) are very antinomian when it comes to what their own children listen to and do. Go figure.

What am I getting at? Let's teach the Bible. Let's cut it straight. Let's consistently apply it in our churches and our lives. Sola Scriptura. When we teach the Bible we have the great joy of seeing the Lord bring forth fruit for His glory.


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