I’ve been watching the news a bit lately; and I’ve been seeing a lot of political posturing as of late. More than the normal day to day stuff you find. North and South Korea are doing it, BP is doing it, our government is doing it, pharmaceutical companies (especially that of Johnson & Johnson and McNeil are doing it). It’s amazing how we get by at all. But, I digress.
All this political posturing has been reminding me a lot of the religious posturing that takes place in the Church today, like much that occurs IN the world. And I’m not talking about the woes of the Catholic church, though there’s plenty to say there, I won’t — enough has been said on the matter from all walks of life (religious and non).
I’m talking about the kind of posturing that leads to spiritual legalism. Legalism is defined as (and I love this particular definition I found of it) “strict conformity to the letter of the law rather than its spirit.” On the surface of this definition, when relating it to the Church Body, you might think I’m leading into the discussion of denominations; but I am not. Though the thought is valid, and as I said, on the surface, it certainly may seem that way. But I want to dig deeper for a moment. Touch on an underlining issue. What causes much of the separation and disunity in the Body, isn’t the denominations and beliefs created by man, but the legalism that took place as a result, and then ultimately the aftermath — the religious posturing. The stance undertaken to cover the sin of pride involved.
You see, if I’ve seen anything, it’s that spiritual legalism and religious posturing goes hand and hand and runs rampant in the Body. In a couple of my previous posts I’ve touched on or at least mentioned judging others and the stance taken on said judgement(s). I’ve even mentioned a fantastic post on Freedom Fire’s blog about that issue.
Spiritual legalism is deadly, and it begins with a judgmental attitude. A prime example (but not the only one found in scripture) is that of the legalistic Pharisees who wrongly tried to impose religious tradition, based on the Word, on Jesus (Mark 7). Jesus rejected such accusations and laws they attempted to impose by standing on the truth of God, which both holds salvation and sanctification which cannot be found with a legalistic view.
Legalism is dangerous and unscriptural when addressing the issue of sanctification (the purification, restoration, and setting apart to be made Holy) amongst other things. How can one achieve something such as sanctification, if there is a continuous disregard for the consecration of one’s mind, heart, and spirit because of the legalistic views of man? I’ve known people to use the Word to posture themselves in not only an authoritative manner, but to hide behind the Word of God to not only impose THEIR views but to help back up their stance/position (posture or posturing); and hide their own pride.
How quickly can we reverse the course of one’s path to restoration, by imposing our legalistic views on others. It was the Pharisees that said that the legalistic views held by them was the path to true righteousness, but Jesus, God, and the Word says otherwise. Read Romans 6, Galatians 5, 1 Peter 2. All of these and more speak of the liberty and freedom provided by the sanctification of God, and destroyed by the legalism of scripture and law.
Examples of common legalistic (spiritual) views that surface on a day to day basis are such things as, adamancy over schooling and education, close observation of financial giving by congregants, and a big one… adhering slavishly to the opinions of a teacher or spiritual leader to the point that their imposed opinions, views, and outlook remain solid and without refute so much so that they notably dishonor God and those around them. These are a few of such legalistic attitudes in the Body, and all are way of posturing one’s self over another.
If one falls prey to spiritual posturing and legalism, then how can they answer 1 Cor 10:31? How can they glorify God, if they posture themselves behind the Word of God, to dictate and quench the spirit of the Word through maintaining and imposing a legalistic attitude? Is this not a form of slavery? Is this not an open doorway to the appearance of evil, even if it is in hiding, behind closed doors, where the majority of your peers and the community cannot see? Is it not a conformity to the World, and not to that of the Kingdom? Will the spiritual posturing of legalistic men and women not spiritually harm the lives of others?
These are tough questions for a tough topic. It’s a gapping wound in the Church, and one that has a tendency to kill and destroy the spiritual lives of others.
Think about it.
I love you, guys!