1 Jan 2002

Legalism has caused me to lose my closeness with God

Submitted by theshovel
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I've been steeped in legalism far too long and its poison has sapped the intense desire to know and love for God I had as boy anonymous

I am so glad you wrote. I hear where you're coming from and I have good news for you. It is a facade that causes you to believe that you have lost anything. This is the work of the deceiver, as he cannot undo what Jesus did on the cross ... but he desires you to think he can. The simple fact that you wrote to me about this tells me, obviously, that your desire for God burns within you. It is only your perception that convinces you. I don't say this to belittle you in any way, but to tell you that you are no more or no less close to your Father than from the moment He made you alive!! You are no less spiritual for you have been crucified with Christ ... and your life is not about how you measure up according to the measuring stick of this world. Unfortunately, the church has borrowed this measuring stick, but has put its own numbering system on it. But you CANNOT be measured by that stick, for your life is found in Christ ... and HE cannot be measured by that stick.

try to find out what pleases the Lord Ephesians 5:10

This scripture you asked about does not mean what it seems to. Why the translators used the phrase "trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord" (as found in the NASB, my favorite translation because of its accuracy) is beyond me. The phrase "trying to learn" is from a Greek word that means: test, examine; interpret, discern, discover; approve; prove, demonstrate. In context, it fits quite well. When you read Paul's letters, for example, make sure you notice how he always establishes the reality of who the believers really are.

    In Ephesians 5, Paul is addressing the believers as:

  • "beloved children" (v1)
  • "saints" (v3)
  • NOT "sons of disobedience" (v6-7)
  • "formerly darkness, but NOW you are light in the Lord" (v8).
    His admonition was for the believers to live like the new creations they were.

On every side it is being suggested that we must play by the rules of the world. But we have been delivered from the old and have been made new. That is why it rakes against your very being and desires to destroy your sense of the joy that is part of your heritage. Take a look at the flow of Paul's thought without the parenthesis (v9) and using a literal wording (v10).

...walk as children of light proving what is pleasing to the Lord Ephesians 5:8,10

Paul's message to the Ephesians is exactly what you need to hear, for as a child of light there is only one legitimate mode of operation - and that is to see yourself as the child of light he made you and to live like who you really are! This is how you discover, or prove, or discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

If you read the next few verses with our miraculous change from darkness to light in mind you'll hear Paul calling attention to our need to always distinguish the difference. He quotes an Old Testament verse and ties it in as calling to us to "Wake up!" and goes on to warn the believers not to be foolish but as WISE MEN in how we walk ... and to understand the will of the Lord. And what is the will of the Lord? It's not some hidden or difficult agenda God wants you to figure out, it's the simple reality of knowing God's desire, which is Christ as being your life ... the same thing he had written about from the beginning of the letter.

Jim :)

New Testament: 


Yes to live as you TRULY are in this life. We struggle and strive when we do anything else. It is a great life of joy to live as free from sin, but we get tricked when things try to convince us to walk with inscencerity.

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