Laodicean vs Legalistic

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This topic will continue with some more introductory material which is important to the foundation of our study.
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
I John 5:2

We need to remind ourselves about an important issue. Unity of the faith and love among the brethren means a deep understanding and recognition of the progress of the walk in faith.

35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
John 13:35

After we are saved, we begin a journey on a path leading to the kingdom of God and complete obedience to Him and faith in His Word. Paul compared this to a race which we must all run and can all win.

1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Hebrews 12:1

Ellen White described this path in her first vision.

"I seemed to be rising higher and higher, far above the dark world. I turned to look for the Advent people in the world, but could not find them, when a voice said to me, "Look again, and look a little higher." At this I raised my eyes, and saw a straight and narrow path, cast up high above the world. On this path the Advent people were traveling to the city, which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the beginning of the path, which an angel told me was the midnight cry. This light shone all along the path and gave light for their feet so that they might not stumble." {EW 14.1} {CET 57.2} {LS 64.2} {ExV 10.1} {WLF 14.2} {DS, January 24, 1846 par. 1} {RH, July 21, 1851 par. 2}

This path has a beginning and an end. None of us have reached the end. The path begins when we accept the Messiah into our lives and believe in Him.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
John 3:16-21

The essence of love and unity among the brethren is to recognize it is a long path. Some are near the beginning. Some are farther along. Some will, at times, run or sprint. Others will usually be seen walking. Some are occasionally resting.

Those with the love of God in their hearts will not compare themselves with others and pass judgment on themselves or others. It is of no importance who is ahead or behind and who is moving faster, slower, or resting. We will seek to help and encourage each other.

As long as we are moving forward on this path, we are progressing. If we deny the light which is still ahead of us and cease to follow, we lose. If we stop and rest too long, there is a danger. Continuing the quote from Ellen White.

"If they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the city, they were safe. But soon some grew weary, and said the city was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before. Then Jesus would encourage them by raising His glorious right arm, and from His arm came a light which waved over the Advent band, and they shouted, "Alleluia!" Others rashly denied the light behind them and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out, leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and lost sight of the mark and of Jesus, and fell off the path down into the dark and wicked world below." {EW 14.1} {CET 57.3} {LS 64.3} {ExV 10.1} {WLF 14.2} {DS, January 24, 1846 par. 1} {RH, July 21, 1851 par. 2}

The Laodicean says, "I am already saved, I have arrived, and I need to travel no farther."

17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Revelation 3:17

The true believer recognizes they are already saved from sin and free to obey the God who loves them and whom they love.

21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
John 14:21

The legalist says, "I must keep all of God's Law in order to be saved." Even worse, they believe this is what they must teach others and coerce them into law-keeping also instead of obedience from love.

Visualize this interesting problem. You are a true believer on the path to the Holy City. The Laodicean camp is in the distance on your left. The Legalist camp is in the distance on your right. The Laodicean looks at the Legalist camp and sees you in front of the Legalist camp and calls you a Legalist. The Legalist looks at the Laodicean camp and sees you in front of the Laodicean camp and calls you Laodicean. Our Saviour holds up His right arm with the light to show the way forward. Keep your eyes fixed on Him.

Are you progressing and encouraging others to progress on the path to the Holy City?

I pray we may all continue to seek love, peace, and unity in truth preparing for the soon coming of Iaushuo (ee-ah-oo-shoo-oh) Messiah, the Son of God.

Next: Conflict Resolution

Revised 2011-03-25