Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Legalism of the Pharisees

The Pharisees were the false religious teachers who constantly opposed Jesus. There were 613 commands in the Old Testament but the Pharisees created over 1,500 additional “fence laws” for the people to obey. They believed the best way to keep people from breaking God’s Law was to build a protective barrier around that Law, even though the Lord never told them to do this. The people of Jesus’ day were burdened down by man-made legalistic rules that God never commanded.

Exodus 20:10 says not to work on the Sabbath day, so the Pharisees created 39 types of prohibited work so no one would break the Law. Here are some of their fence laws:
***You could not spit on the Sabbath because it would disturb the dirt and you would be guilty of plowing.
***You could not swat a fly on the Sabbath because you would be guilty of hunting.
***A woman could not look at her reflection because she might see a gray hair and pluck it out, which would be doing work.

They created loopholes to get around some laws.
***If your house was burning down on a Sabbath, you could not carry clothes out of it. However, you were allowed to put on several layers of clothes as the house was burning down. You could leave without breaking the law because you were wearing them instead of carrying them.
***You could not travel more than 3/5 mile from your house on the Sabbath. However, you could leave food 3/5 mile from your home on the night before, which would make it permissible to travel twice the distance without breaking the law.

Your relationship with God should be a joy, not a job. If you aren’t enjoying your relationship with Him, something is wrong. Maybe you’re trying to follow man-made legalistic rules instead of loving the Lord. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, and the second greatest is to love your neighbor as yourself. “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).

To get your priorities corrected, you might need to unchain yourself from legalistic rules. You might need to change churches. You might need to re-examine what you believe and make sure it lines up with the Scriptures. Life is too short to get it wrong. Do whatever it takes to set yourself free from legalism.

To read more about the strange customs of the Pharisees: Who were the Pharisees?

Slaying Your Giants is filled with interesting stories, humor, and practical advice about how to conquer 20 giants (fear, depression, discontentment, self-image, anger, and more)
The Sure Cure for Worry contains amazing true stories and helps the reader see God is in control.

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174