Accusations of Legalism Refuted

Have you ever considered why Adam and Chawwah (Eve) were evicted from the Garden of Eden? Because they ate of the tree of knowledge you say? Reconsider! What they did by the symbolic eating of that fruit was the first recorded instance of disobedience to the will of our Eloah, whose name is Yahuwah (yah-hoo-wah'). Pure and simple. Had they obeyed Him, by refusing to partake of the forbidden fruit, we would not be in the mess that we are in today. Of course, we might not even be here to be in this mess, but that's another story.

Why was the world flooded in the days of Noach (Noah)? (B'ereshiyth [Genesis] 6:5-7)

    Disobedience to the will of Yahuwah!

Why did the Yisra'eliym (Israelites) wander in the desert for forty years after the Exodus from Mitsrayim (Egypt)? (Bemidbar [Numbers] 14:26-35)

    Disobedience to the will of Yahuwah!

Why did Mosheh (Moses) not enter the Promised Land with the rest of the nation? (Bemidbar 20:12)

    Disobedience to the will of Yahuwah!

Why were the people of Yisra'el (Israel) always in trouble with Yahuwah? (Too many examples to list)

    Disobedience to the will of Yahuwah!

Why was the Northern Kingdom, Yisra'el, destroyed and its people dispersed throughout the world?

    Disobedience to the will of Yahuwah.

Why was the Southern Kingdom of Yahudah (Judea, Juda, Judah), dismantled and its people scattered throughout the earth?

    Disobedience to the will of Yahuwah.

There are too many verses and passages, all in the proper and correct context, that affirm that we MUST be in obedience to the will of Yahuwah for me to cite in this document. If you will think about it, all of the problems of this world are caused by disobedience to the divine will of our Creator. If people were in obedience to Him, there would be no murder, no courts of law, no locks on anyone's doors, no rape, no scofflaws on the road and in the board rooms, no war! People would live to an enjoyable ripe old age with good health and dignity, and not suffer as they do today. Those days were upon this earth at one time, and they will be again, just as soon as everyone is in obedience to the will of the Creator. That isn't going to happen as long as mankind is working under the authority of the "god" of this world. It WILL happen after Yahushua returns to assume the mantle of government.

The next time you start to read the Scripture start paying attention to what He has to say about obedience. The only theme that is more consistent throughout the scripture is that of Yahushua and His coming. Don't just skim by these passages! Read them! Understand them! If you do this, you will begin to see more and more instances that refer directly to the requirement for obedience to the will of Yahuwah than I could ever put in a document of this size.

Legalism? What's that?

  • le*gal*ism (le"g...-lız"...m) n. 1. Strict, literal adherence to the law or to a particular code, as of religion or morality. 2. A legal word, expression, or rule. --le"gal·ist n. --le"gal·is"tic adj. --le"gal·is"ti·cal·ly adv.

Using the above definition, how would you define who or what it is that's legalistic? Knowing that Yahuwah requires strict obedience to His will, would you call Him legalistic? Will you dare say that Yahuwah is a legalist for requiring obedience? Or do you only hang this title on the man who points out that obedience to the word of our Elohiym is required in order to be one of His? Are people who believe that obedience to the Divine Will is required hopelessly mired in LEGALISM?

Legalism, by the way I have had it explained to me by disobedient preachers, etc., apparently means that if you believe that Yahuwah expects you to do the things that He has said you must do, then you are legalistic and somehow don't belong to Him. This is pure hogwash. This is saying that "bad is good" and 'good is bad."

Pharisaic legalism I have been told is like that "law" that the Par'oshiym (Pharisees) attempted to apply to Yahushua about healing on the shabbath, etc. Instances like those are obviously not the intent of Yahuwah in His law and those who attempt to bind such on themselves and others are out of bounds. Things of that nature take away from the liberty that is found in the Law of Grace.

If you believe that by doing the things of Yahuwah's word by rote, without understanding or caring about the reasons for the obedience, that you can or will earn a place in His kingdom, then you are legalistic in the Pharisaic sense. This is the attempt at salvation by works that is spoken against so many times in the scripture. There is nothing that you can ever do to earn or deserve the grace of Yahuwah. That is a free gift to those who are in obedience to Him.

If you truly love our Sovereign, and you are one of His children, you will be obedient in order to be pleasing in His sight, and then you are not legalistic in any sense. This is works because of faith, and not the other way around. These kinds of works are mentioned favorably in many passages also. Look! You'll see them!

Let me ask you a few questions.

    Do you not see anything wrong with having an affair with the spouse of your neighbor (or anyone else for that matter)?

    Is it okay to tell a "little white lie," such as having your children tell a salesman you're not home, as long as you tell the truth when it really matters?

    How about if you take just a little bit of someone else's money or property? They will probably not even know it's gone, so it will probably be okay. Right? Maybe a few paper clips or a couple of pens from the office wouldn't hurt?

    Do you believe that it is okay to commit murder if you only do it every once in a while, and the person you kill was deserving of death anyway?

    Would you ever think of taking "the LORD's" name in vain? (I bet you do and don't even realize that you have. Do you know the name under that mistranslation?)

    Do you worship idols? (Probably! Again, you do it without even realizing it.)

    Do you remember the day that Yahuwah set aside as THE intermission from the work-a-day world and use it to give Him honor, praise, and worship?

    Do you have other "gods" before the Almighty of the universe? (Consider carefully before you answer.)

    Do you try to keep up with the Jones and in so doing covet the possessions that they have?

    When was the last time you told your parents that you appreciated them? Did you remember them to help them in their old age? Or did you just shuffle them off to a nursing home to get them out of your way? Do you give them the honor they deserve?

Remember that it is Yahushua who said:

    Yahuchanan (John) 14:15 If you love me, keep my commandments.

These words come from Yahushua Himself. I did not make them up. I merely told you what it was that He said. Why then do you want to call me legalistic because I say we have to be obedient? Would you kill the messenger because you don't like the message?

He also said:

    Loukas (Luke) 6: 46-49 And why call you me "Master, Master," and do not do the things that I say? 47 Whosoever comes to Me and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you to whom he is like. 48 He is like a man which built a house and dug deep and laid the foundation on a rock. When the flood arose the stream beat vehemently upon that house and could not shake it, for it was founded upon a rock. 49 But he that hears and does not do it is like a man that built a house without a foundation upon the earth against which the stream did beat vehemently and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.

Even the sea, the wind, and demons obey His word. If these two inanimate forces and the evil spirits readily obeyed Him WITHOUT QUESTION, why do you then have a problem with obeying Him?

When the sea, wind, and demons did their obeying, the underlying Greek word is hupakouo (hoop-ak-oo'-o), and it means to "hear under (as a subordinate), i.e. to listen attentively; by implication to heed or conform to a command or authority."

Then there were the events in the lives of the delegates of Yahushua, their obedience, and what they had to say about it.

    Acts 5:29 Then Keph (Peter) and the other delegates answered and said, "We ought to obey Yahuwah rather than men."

The word obey here is from the Greek word peitharcheo (pi-tharkh-eh'-o), which means "to be persuaded by a ruler, i.e. (in a general sense) to submit to authority."

One of His delegates, Yahuchanan (John), wrote by inspiration:

    1 Yahuchanan 2:3-5 And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He that says I know Him and does not keep His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, in him verily is the love of Yahuwah completed. Hereby we know that we are in Him.

There have been several dispensations of the law of Yahuwah. Most people of today are only aware of two, and they mislabel and misuse those. These two are the "old testament" and the "new testament." The "old testament," according to the word of the Lawgiver, is also referred to as the Law of Mosheh (Moses) but it is not. This is the covenant under which the blood of bulls and goats was used in the annual atonement for the sins of the people and there were daily sacrifices for various reasons. This law was given because of unbelief. Prior to this law Yahuwah didn't have what we would consider legal grounds for Him to enforce His law. It is like not having speed limits on our highways. If there is no posted limit, nobody can be accused of speeding. This covenant is how Yahuwah posted His "speed limits."

The Ten Words (commandments) came before the covenant given through Mosheh, they were in effect prior to the "giving of the law" and with one minor modification by Yahuwah, remain in force today. These are the "speed limits" that He wanted obeyed from creation, but they weren't posted.

The Law of Mosheh, with all of its dietary rules, rituals, blood sacrifices, festivals (appointed times), clean and unclean, etc., required strict obedience through fear of the consequences of disobedience. That system of law was put aside when the "new testament" became of force. That occurred when Yahushua died at Yeruwshalom (Jerusalem) (See Ibriym [Hebrews] 9). Under the new dispensation of the law of Yahuwah, strict obedience is still required, but it is to a different system of law than the people of Yisra'el were given. This new system requires that our obedience be out of love for our Creator instead of fear of His consequences, and it is not to all of those carnal laws that we must be obedient. (See Dabraiym 6:4, Wayiqra (Leviticus) 19:18, MattiythYahuw [Matthew] 22:37-40, Markos (Mark) 12:29-31)

Obedience to the old law could make no man complete and that law was the guide and picture for us to come to and follow to Yahushua. Under the new law, through Yahushua and His final sacrifice of Himself, all mankind has the opportunity to become complete. But we must do it through love. Now we must learn to love as we are loved, and we must share that love with others as it has been shared with us. This is a law of love, with plenty of liberty thrown in, that we are under today.

If we love Him, we will truly obey His commandments.

C.F. Castleberry