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Page 364


Jesus condemns the legalists in the following verses:

Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

- Matthew 23:24

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye: and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

- Matthew 7:5

What does Jesus mean by the following:

- Straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel
- Striving to remove a mote (a speck of dust) from the eye of another while ignoring the beam in his own

  • Permissiveness - A condition of allowing, of tolerating, that which should be forbidden
  • Sound - True; based upon the Word of God
  • Detests - Hates; abhors; loathes

  •  

    But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

    If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

    Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

    - James 1:25-27

     

    "And He said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! (the teachers of the law) for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne" (Luke 11 :46a). "And He said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27).


    On the other hand, we must be cautious when condemning the errors of legalism that we do not cross the scriptural path and fall into the opposite ditch of permissiveness. Permissiveness proclaims everything to be allowable. While outward matters are not most important, they are important; while we can overemphasize technicalities of the law, we must draw a line between right and wrong; while we can err in human traditions and teachings, they can be sound and helpful; and finally, while a harsh, judgmental spirit is wrong, we must clearly condemn sin.


    The path between the ditch of permissiveness on the one side and legalism on the other is God's Word. We must be strict -but strictly scriptural. The strictly scriptural person detests the taking away from God's Word, the not condemning or requiring of that which God condemns or requires. But he also hates the adding to God's Word, the condemning or requiring of that which God does not condemn or require. How are both aspects of this truth illustrated in the following scriptural reference and pictorial sketch?


      In the closing verses of the Bible, we find the following, powerful warning regarding the Word of God.


        For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this Book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this Book:

        And if any man shall take away from the words of the Book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this Book.

      - Revelation 22:18-19


      Which verse condemns permissiveness? Which condemns legalism?


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