Christian groups preaching the need to keep the Almighty's Sabbath days are often accused of 'legalism.' In other words, many suppose that we are preaching 'nothing but - law, law, law!' It is a sad accusation and untrue in most cases; but that is how many Sabbath-breakers see Sabbath-keepers.
These manmade regulations were introduced by the Roman Catholic church and influenced the lives of countless millions of believers through the dark ages. The Protestant Reformers rightly exposed these practices as being unscriptural and absolutely worthless as far as salvation was concerned. The Protestant stand was - and still is - that according to Scripture 'salvation is available - free of charge - by faith in Jesus Christ;' not by anything we could do, however worthy it may otherwise appear to be. This is what those early Protestant reformers meant when they accused the Catholic church of trying to obtain 'salvation by works.'
But the moment we mention the need to keep the True Sabbath Day as commanded in the Decalogue, then a cry goes up: "You're being legalistic!' 'You're preaching salvation by works.' 'You're forgetting that salvation is a free gift from God.' 'Don't you know that salvation is by faith in Jesus?'
This is a monumental tragedy of wilful ignorance. If unchecked it will lead to a stand of determined and habitual disobedience which is iniquity! Iniquity is a wilful determination to ignore and break a known command of Almighty God. It could well be that most of the folks who take that stand, do not want to obey the Sabbath commandment in the first place. To them it is a burden, an inconvenience, an embarrassment, a constant reminder that the church made a colossal blunder when it jettisoned the true Sabbath day of the Decalogue and adopted the pagan rest day of Sunday.
Were you to preach the need to keep Sunday, there would be no charge of 'legalism,' no hands thrown up in horror. But the moment one preaches 'obedience' and the need to keep the seventh day Sabbath of the Decalogue, there is an unholy uproar accompanied by wild accusations of 'legalism.' These folk ignore the Saviour's advice in:
|Matthew 19:||17 And he ( Jesus ) said unto him ...
if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.|
18: He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19: Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
After reading the above statement, who in his right mind would accuse the Master of being legalistic? And yet we can plainly see that the Saviour was advocating 'obedience to the commandments' as a path to life!
Here is another stunning statement by Jesus:
|Matthew 5:||17: Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the
prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.|
18: For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19: Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
In view of these texts my advice to you is that you ignore those who get
hung up about 'legalism.' Let them alone and bear in
mind these Biblical facts.
|Hebrews 10:||26: For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the
knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,|
27: But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
|1 Cor. 6:||9:Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the
kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither
nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.
( homosexuals )|
10: Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
This is what the Scriptures teach concerning obedience and disobedience. Christians who ignore these plain facts are deceiving themselves and in the Day of Judgement they will be astonished beyond words to find out how wrong they have been. Alas! many - to their utter consternation - will hear these words:
|Matthew 7:||22: Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in
thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?|
23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
For further study, see AVITW files on: Salvation Faith Works ... Are they Important?