A dear blogging brother, Paul Burleson, has recently published a comment arising from a conference where he taught on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. In his comment he says,
“Have you ever noticed that Paul NEVER mentions the Law of Moses in this letter we call 1st Corinthians? He's certainly having to deal with problems in the church that are grievous in nature such as drunkenness, arguing over who had been the greatest pastor, [ Paul, Peter, or Apollos] suing one another in courts of law and then there was that immoral situation they were not dealing with at all, and proud they were not as if it were a badge of honor that they were permissive.
In fact, the ONLY time Paul used the Law of Moses in his arguments for pure living was when he challenged the legalists who needed to be shown that even the law itself could not be kept in an effort to be holy. He NEVER used the law of Moses, even the ten commandments, as a standard to hold up for New Covenant behavior.”
That observation, in itself is extremely important, but he goes on to point out something very important for many today who forget that the genuine follower of Christ IS NOT FIGHTING AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD, as he says,
“ …………that Paul was willing to engage the culture of his day and wasn't angry toward it or did not rail against it as if it were some kind of witchcraft at work against the gospel. He recognized its weaknesses and its inability to speak to the deepest problems and need of the human race, namely dealing with the fallen and hopeless nature of the human condition, but had no real answers. The wisdom of God seen in the gospel does have answers, however. Paul thought so at least. I do too.
I hadn’t long read Paul’s thoughts when I came across this from Ed Trefezger’s blog, This Mystery, where he writes:
“I’ve been following Tullian Tchividjian’s passionate advocacy of the sufficiency of the gospel and the discussions he’s had with others who want to drive people to law for sanctification. Two people at our church have brought up Tchividjian’s latest book,Jesus + Nothing = Everything, so I thought it was about time I read it. This snippet is from a section of the book subtitled, “The Greatest Threat”:
The Bible makes it clear that the gospel’s premier enemy is one we often call “legalism.” I like to call it performancism. Still another way of viewing it, especially in its most common manifestation in Christians, is moralism. Strictly speaking, those three terms — legalism, performancism, and moralism — aren’t precisely identical in what they refer to. But there’s so much overlap and interconnection between them that we’ll basically look at them here as one thing.
And what really is that one thing?
Well, it shows up when we fail to believe the gospel. It shows up when behavioral obligations are divorced from gospel declarations, when imperatives are disconnected from gospel indicatives. Legalism happens when what we need to do, not what Jesus has already done, becomes the end game.
Our performancism leads to pride when we succeed and to despair when we fail. But ultimately it leads to slavery either way, because it becomes all about us and what we must do to establish our own identity instead of resting in Jesus and what he accomplished to establish it for us. In all its forms, this wrong focus is anti-gospel and therefore enslaving.
Tchividjian, Tullian.Jesus + Nothing = Everything. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011. Print. (p. 45–46)”