My Testimony Part Two – Tempted by Legalism

Acts 20:27

I had hoped tonight that my husband would have a testimony for me to write, but the hospital he works at has been very busy. Today is the 8th shift he’s taken in a row! He’s even had to switch from day shifts to night shifts, and thrown in a few 16 hour days between it all. Not real sure how he has the ability to work so hard!

So, instead, tonight I thought I would give some further insight into my journey from false religion to freedom. Before receiving salvation I followed a specific form of legalism. Although I was surrounded by the ‘name it and claim it’ crowd I found their hypocritical behavior disturbing. Not back biting, but pastors daughters having affairs with members of the youth. Or the 30+-year-old man who came to the youth meetings was treated like a youth, and as such preyed on 14-year-old girls. Didn’t these people know that if you didn’t look like, sound like, or act like a Christian then you probably weren’t one? They actually had the more consistent faith. They worshiped self in all the ways the ‘health and wealth’ teachers had told them to do.

What was I doing? Hiding my sin to the best of my ability. I was going to earn my way into heaven through cleaning the outside of the cup. But after becoming a new creature all I could see was the rags my righteousness represented. So I was shocked that, after finding true salvation, legalism once again found it’s way into my theology. Just in a different way.

This time it was through the messianic movement. After being set free from the chains of sin I wanted to show God how much I loved Him, and how grateful I was! It wasn’t long before a friend approached me about keeping the OT. I poured over material, teaching, preaching, and scriptures. It didn’t add up, but I was in too much of a hurry to love God. Did it matter if I worshiped Him the way His Word told me to? (Jesus said repeatedly if you love me keep my commandments) There are so many mediums with which we can get information. I was inundated, and way over my head. Like the Pharisees of Christ’s time, I placed heavy loads on my family that they were unable to bear.

John Newton

It didn’t take long before the Holy Spirit began revealing the truth to me, those He loves He prunes. What we need to search for is the whole counsel of God’s Word. We can not cling to Galatians 4 while ignoring John 13. We need to take all our thoughts captive, compare what we believe to be true to the actual truth of the Bible. This gives us a greater picture.

As it always is with God, it’s about the heart. Why was I trying suddenly to keep the Shabbat, and the festivals, feasts, and other laws? To impress God or these new friends? To do what was right, or what was right in man’s eyes? In the end, it was clear that I was still trying to gain my way through my own works.

Don’t get me wrong, I think having an understanding of the law, festivals, feasts, and Shabbat is extremely important. Everything in God’s Word is important, inspired, and true. My righteousness, however, is still as rags. That is why I needed a Saviour!

When it comes to the scriptures, context is key! We can read something into the text that has nothing to do with what Gods Word is really saying. It’s far easier to do for those of us who are still trying to learn Hebrew and Greek. Those languages are so much richer than English! It’s no wonder, then, those false teachers repeat Psalms 82 as a way to back up their heretical view that they, themselves, are gods. Ironic, as that scripture is talking to corrupt leaders of Isreal.

Psalms 82:6-8

This is what makes the contexts so imperative, context and the full council of scriptures. Only in this way can we correctly worship the King of kings. The first scripture I read after being saved was 1 Corinthians 8:2. It sums up perfectly my natural tendencies as a ‘know it all’.

1 Corinthians 8:2

So after a year in heart-wrenching prayer, I started back at the beginning. Now, having learned my lesson the hard way, I take each Biblical belief to the Word. How does it stand the test of scriptures? What does church history have to say about it? Are there commentaries that conflict? Are there trustworthy men expounding it? We must be able to have an answer for what we believe friends!