Yahshua said, “If you love me keep my commandments.” 19 JUL 2013

Yahshua said, “If you love me keep my commandments.” He did not say, “If you fear me…” This post is about the dangers of religious legalism that pervade the world we live in and do great damage to spiritual growth.
We are told to “live according to God in the Spirit.” 1 PTR 4:6b. Why? Because…”the letter [of the law] kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 COR 3:6. Indeed, “love covers a multitude of sins.” This is found both in PRV 10:12 & 1 PTR 4:8. Religious legalism demands unqualified adherence to their own interpretations, demand literal obedience, and tries to apply fear & power trips to gain obedience. This is a follow-up post on the previous one on not judging…”Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” ROM 14:4. (I have noticed some of my worst judges who made up things in their minds against me have fallen big time. I have refused to expose them, although if the roles were reversed I would receive no mercy, & likely get exaggerated accusations.) Additionally, perhaps you have noticed others would like me to join their legalistic ways.
Where the Fruit of the Spirit (i.e. such things as love & mercy) is absent—we end up with cold draconian religious law. Followers of cold dead religious law are called legalists. They are control monsters who only appear righteous. Where you find legalism you will find license (wild lawlessness). The two go together as two sides of the same coin. It is why some Pharisees were rigid arrogant self-righteous religious control monsters while secretly being Satanists. Of course not all were. One came to Yahshua & said, “Rabbi, we know you are come from God.”
Sometimes everyday life can portray spiritual principles. A black & white movie called “Rain” starring Joan Crawford as Sadie Thompson portrays a rigid unmerciful legalistic control monster (yes a Christian minister) in Pago Pago who demands Sadie return home to face trumped up charges & accept going to prison even though she claims innocence. The minister’s legalism flips into license towards the end…he takes her sexually…is unable to face his spiritual/moral suicide and therefore commits suicide. (By the way, a spiritual law or principle is that suicide occurs after spiritual/moral suicide has taken place.) While this is merely a Hollywood movie from the ‘30’s, it does portray some spiritual dynamics.
In my travels & studies, I have seen that religious legalism can exist under all kinds of religions. Now having introduced the topic, let’s then move to a large scale modern example of this, what has happened to Iran since a legalistic Theocracy took began a harsh rule in the 1970’s. One would expect a Theocracy with brotherhood would be blessed by God, and a blessing to the brotherhood, yet most people have gotten much poorer, & Iranians who dare to speak call their govt. “repressive & incompetent”. Certainly God is not incompetent, what has developed under religious legalism is a culture of deception & a total breakdown of trust. Most people live 2 lives, a public one to prevent arrest, & a private one at home. At home people are getting drunk & using hard drugs (opium, crack, etc.), & widely curse even though they live in a country with zero tolerance for such things. (They have to make their own alcoholic brews.) In a country which executes rapists, and has zero tolerance for prostitution, prostitution flourishes under the disguise of temporary marriages. Certain Mullahs take money to declare a relationship a temporary marriage which can legally last as short as 10 minutes. Any female 9 or older can engage in such a marriage, so even teen prostitution is rampant (behind closed doors). (Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to take political sides or trying to put Iran down. They have suffered a lot, & America has their own problems to deal with. Most Iranians could care less about having nukes; they are just trying to put cukes (cucumbers) on the table. The Iranians are Persians with a long history…but at this moment, their country is dealing with religious legalism.
On this topic, Leo Tolstoy, after studying Yahshua’s life, decided that our Messiah was against strong dictator-like governments and religious tyranny. His book “The Kingdom of God in Yourselves” challenges rigid religious & state law based on the teachings of Yahshua.
Let us return to Yahshua’s statement that if we love him we will obey his commandments. Right and wrong have not been deleted by love. There are still spiritual rules and principles that need to be adhered to have life. If we want good things in life we need to act good, for we will sow as we reap… “Do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God…” 1 JN 4:1.


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