‘Biblical Principles’: the new Law?

Luke 11:46 – He said, “… You’re hopeless, you religion scholars! You load people down with rules and regulations, nearly breaking their backs, but never lift even a finger to help.”  (The Message)

Jesus was ranting about the Pharisees and teachers of the law.  They made up all these rules to follow in order to truly ‘follow God’, making it impossible for the people to find God.  They couldn’t live up to the standards.  Jesus was not very impressed with this!

I believe there are many so-called ‘biblical principles’ that have become the new law and those who teach these biblical principles have become modern-day Pharisees and teachers of the law.  When I talk about ‘biblical principles’, I am referring to those things that have been made into a whole new theology but are based only loosely on a passage or few passages in the bible – things that are never directly covered in Scripture.

 As if people are not burdened enough with all the ‘rules’ for following Christ (ie: daily devotions, regular church attendance, etc.), others feel the need to add more burdens – tithing, being under ‘covering’, etc.  Although the Bible talks about reading the Word regularly and meeting with other believers, it does not make any reference to ‘daily devotions’ or ‘regular church attendance’.  These things have become unwritten RULES, when they were never meant to be rules.  It eliminates GRACE.  Who needs ‘grace’ when you can earn your way into God’s good books? 

The other list of burdens (tithing, ‘covering’ theology, etc.) are never explicitly laid out in Scripture.  While tithing was commanded for the nation of Israel as a means of God’s provision for the Levites, Paul never commanded it for the Gentiles.  Giving generously was encouraged, but it was never made into a law with the threat of curses coming upon whoever did not comply.  Rather Paul fought very hard for the Gentiles NOT to be forced to follow Jewish law.

Acts 15 – “1Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question….7After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” (NIV)

Why do people pour all their energies into these new ‘teachings’ when there are things Jesus and the apostles actually taught that we don’t do?  Making disciples, bearing one another’s burdens, confessing our sins to each other, forgiving one another…  There’s plenty of things listed to keep us going for a while without having to create new theologies.  Even so, these things were never intended to be made into laws to burden the people under weights they cannot bear.  Jesus died to take care of that, didn’t He?

4 Responses

  1. Livning By Faith

    Wow, truly wise wisdom that flowed through you. I am blessed to no end by you, love ya lots!

    July 4, 2006 at 11:55 pm

  2. Nin

    I definately hear your heart. And you’re right, we do spend a lot of time concentrating on things that were not meant to be a distraction, but end up being just that. Fortunately by grace, we are able to walk where God is leading us without feeling burdened and weighed down by these “teachings”. We have the Holy Spirit living in us to convict us when we’re being led down a wicked path. I think that there’s a big difference between being led down a wicked path, and being led to do something that might be benificial. I agree, when we get religious about these things they only bring condemnation and guilt, but when we’re walking in trust and faith, and trusting GOD who resides in our leaders, then we are able to follow these things with a joy in our hearts. You’re so right, we can not be saved through anything we do or don’t do, and it’s sad that some are covered by that lie. I just enjoy doing things for God that I feel would be pleasing to Him, to show Him that I love Him, and that I’m submitted to Him in every area of my life (although I can’t always show that), because He’s my father, and He wants that kind of relationship with me. Everyone displays this in different ways, but as long as we know we’re all connected to the same God in the same spirit, then how we do it shouldn’t matter.

    July 5, 2006 at 9:37 am

  3. The thing that comes to my mind is that it’s all in our hearts attitudes. If we are going to church, having devotions, tithing becuase we feel we “have” to….then, we may need to re-evaluate how our own hearts are doing. You are right, Paul was so serious in preaching grace and that we are not under law, and those that go back to the law are missing the point of Jesus’s death….
    I really don’t personally feel the law being pushed around me. I pray that if you are feeling the law on your shoulders that you can allow God to break it off and bring you peace. I’m not sure if that’s what your’e saying….if you can clarify, that would help. Do you feel this spirit in your life?
    Peace with you and your fmaily and I pray your pregnancy is going really well. I haven’t heard you blog about it for awhile.

    July 8, 2006 at 2:20 pm

  4. Sarah,
    I believe there is something being communicated via the church that negates the gospel of Grace. For example, my oldest son did not think he would be able to go to heaven because he was not ‘good enough’. Perhaps this was something unconsciously communicated at home, but the reverse was definitely not communicated at church. There was nothing telling him we are saved by God’s grace alone rather than by being ‘good enough’. And what I’m talking about is nothing that is ‘said’ in church, but it is still something being communicated. It’s like my earthly father – he never told me that I was not good enough, but what was communicated to me as I was growing up was exactly that.

    What is being communicated is so subtle I don’t think people realize they are living under the law. I certainly didn’t realize how much I was living under the law. Church tends to focus so much on the ‘works’, the things we need to be ‘doing’ as Christians, that we don’t hear the message of grace. We need both, but grace must come first or the whole thing will turn into law.

    On top of all that, when the teachings that are stressed are not the ones that Jesus and the apostles stressed, there is a real danger of the whole thing becoming legalistic at the most, a diversion from the true gospel at the least.

    July 8, 2006 at 10:33 pm