Abuse and Legalism: How the Pharisees Creep In Among us
I am working right now on the second sermon in my series The Religion of the Pharisees. I don’t have time to do a full-blown blog post right now but I HAD to at least get this much out to you. It hit me hard when I read Galatians 2:4-6 as I had never understood it before. The following paragraphs are from my yet unfinished sermon. Oh man, it’s almost Sunday! Anyway, this is really, really good stuff that the Apostle Paul is telling us here:
Our churches are in bondage in many, many cases because the traditions of the Pharisees have been foisted upon us. Their traditions are always abusive, power-hungry lording-it-over in nature, and always put people in bondage. They kill the spirit of a person.
Galatians 2:4-6 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in–who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery– (5) to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. (6) And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)–those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me.
See it. Pharisees come in amongst God’s people secretly and their whole goal is to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ. They want to “catch” us eating what we want, going where we want, reading what we want, living as the Spirit of Christ in us frees us to live! THE PHARISEE CANNOT STAND OR TOLERATE FREEDOM!! And what is their goal in this spying? What do they do with the “data” they gather? They use it to condemn us, to accuse us, and to bring us into slavery to themselves in the damning, condemning system that they have created themselves from their Spiritless handling of the Word of God.
Also notice carefully that Paul says he did not regard “those who seemed to be influential” with any partiality. Hear that? One of the ways that we fall prey to the bondage of the religion of the Pharisees is that we idolize people who have managed, by hook or crook, to get themselves exalted in the Christian church. The big names. The big guns. This is a trap. And I am afraid that we have all gotten ourselves all snared up in it. Remember, it is the religion of the Pharisees that is very, very often (if not always) at the root of the abuse that abuse victims are being subjected to by their churches.