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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Winter Edition 2007

The Cause And Cure Of Pharisaical Legalism

If "Phariseeism" is a problem in your circles, friends, then you are probably more into the religion known as Judaism, than you are in the religion called Christianity.

There is a difference between Judaism and Christianity. Pharisaical legalism was a problem of first century Christ-rejecting Judaism. It was never intended to be a problem in Christianity.

Many in the Wesleyan Holiness movement today do not realize that modern dispensational premillennial ideology is a return to first century Christ-rejecting Judaism and engenders now, as then, the problem of Pharisaical legalism in the midst.

When the Holiness movement fell into this heresy years ago it subsequently began to fight the battles over Pharisaical legalism that would never have been a problem if we had remained steadfastly within the Christian ideological fold.

Christianity deals decisively with the problem of Pharisaical legalism, friends, through its doctrine of redemption. Pharisaical legalism is foremost a problem of the carnal heart, and the Christian religion provides for the cleansing of the heart from its carnal legality.

The carnal mind is the true Legalist as well as the true Antinomian. Now this might, on the surface, sound like a contradiction, or a paradox, since antinomianism means "lawlessness" and legalism is usually defined as obsession for the letter of the law. We should remember, however, that in Christianity there is only one all-embracing law and that law is love (Jn. 13:34; Rom. 13:8).

Love is a law, friends, and to violate the law of love places one in the circle of being a lawbreaker, or an Antinomian. Thus, the Pharisees of first century Judaism were really Antinomians because they failed to keep the one quintessential law of Christianity, which is the law of love.

"Thou shalt love" is a positive command that can be kept, moreover, only through the enabling of redemption. Reality is that the carnal mind cannot love as God wills, it must be destroyed. Provisionally this was done at Calvary two-thousand years ago, yet today we must each experience a REAL CLEANSING within, if we are going to get beyond the legalism of our carnal hearts.

The Pharisees had not been so redeemed. Modern Antinomians, likewise, resist the Christian message and provision for heart cleansing, trying, instead, to solve the problem of engendered legalism by dispensing with God's laws, rather than allowing God to remove the sin within the heart that hates, or is antagonized by, those laws.

The good news is that in the messianic kingdom of redemption there is an inheritance of heart purity, or entire sanctification (Acts 20:32; 26:18; I Tim. 1:5; Heb. 4:9-11). Postponing the kingdom, friends, means, in effect, to preempt holiness, because holiness IS the kingdom! That is how Darbyism strikes at the ideological root of the Christian system, and everywhere destroys biblical Christianity.

Think about it!

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