Sunday, April 26, 2009

Don't Tell ME What To Do!

Some days I have difficulty with my flesh. I want to please myself and find myself wondering what is legalism and what isn't? Most of the time, I argue with myself find a loophole for my comfort zone.
In the 80's, the term *legalism* emerged. It swept through churches across the world and suddenly; we were free from any rules. Is that what the Bible actually teaches? Anyone?
"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works" (1 Timothy 2:9-10).
This is New Testament teaching. So HOW do we validate what is legalistic and what is modest?
The word modesty is from the Greek term kosmios. It means: orderly, well-arranged, decent, modest, harmonious arrangement, adornment. This Greek word also appears in the Septuagint (Ecclesiastes 12:9) and is translated "set in order" and is applied to Solomon's proverbs. Kosmios is derived from kosmos which means: order, regular disposition, ornament, decoration, embellishment, adorning and is used, among other ways, of the world on which we live (Matthew 13:35; Mark 16:15). Kosmos is used of modest attire and translated as "adorning" in 1 Peter 3:3.
"Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel."
It's pretty obvious to me that God desires a pure heart in His believers. But as my Mennonite Preacher and friend recently commented; "A cape dress or suspenders will not get you into heaven". So WHY this either or mentality? Why is there not balance? When did it become acceptable to wear shorts, spaghetti straps or push up bras to church??? Why do some who do dress modestly scorn anyone who doesn't dress like them?

Here is why: God wants you to pray and figure this all out yourself. He wants us to read the Bible and apply it liberally, but not to the point that you believe your clothing merits a ticket to the Pearly Gates. The Bible doesn't teach that Grace=Loopholes and no accountability. Not at all. Grace is the what bridges the gap between what you truly understand and what you don't. Not everyone is convicted at the same time, over the same issues. Some are convicted strongly over issues that you may rarely consider. I genuinely believe that a person feeding the poor, loving the unlovely, helping the widows, etc.. is more in tune with what is biblical, even if she is wearing pants. The issue of modesty has simply been ignored, or overlooked.
*If* you are someone with a rebellious nature, you don't like being told what to do. Period. Rules are always questioned. But the Bible has pretty clear answers. Be cautious of accusing those convicted in dress of being legalistic. And those convicted, be patient and do not judge those who don't share the same exact convictions.

Perhaps you don't understand what the big deal is?? Lust. That's the big deal. And our society is selling lust in many pretty packages. Men are visual creatures and the problem is in all of our minds. If we go to church showing off our figures as women, or if men go into assembly LOOKING for the slightest provocation... our hearts are not following Gods.
Lust is a sin which especially men are cautioned in Scripture to avoid; is it any more praiseworthy for women to dress provocatively and excite lust? Lust is viewed by our Lord as adultery only not yet enacted (Matthew 5:28). Lust is a sin for which souls will be lost (Titus 2:12; Romans 6:23; James 1:14, 15; 1 Peter 2:11).
This is serious stuff.

So before you dish out the term: *Legalistic*, just so you don't have to follow a rule or abide by a rule... pray about it first. Be cautious using the term, because the Bible does have applications in the New Testament. And yes, Jesus came to set us free, but not free to do whatever we want and call it "Grace".
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