Legalism and Its Perils


Not One Jot Or Tittle

Matt 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Matt 5:18 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.


Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets [were] until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

Luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.


Matt 5:19 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.

Matt 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.


This People Honoreth Me With Their Lips

Mark 7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with [their] lips, but their heart is far from me.

Mark 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.

Mark 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, [as] the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.


Matt 15:7 [Ye] hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,

Matt 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me.

Matt 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.


For Moses Said Honor Thy Father and Mother

Mark 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

Mark 7:10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:

Mark 7:11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, [It is] Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; [he shall be free].

Mark 7:12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;

Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.


Matt 15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

Matt 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.

Matt 15:5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to [his] father or [his] mother, [It is] a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;

Matt 15:6 And honour not his father or his mother, [he shall be free]. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.


The Things Which Defile

Mark 7:14 And when he had called all the people [unto him], he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one [of you], and understand:

Mark 7:15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.

Mark 7:16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

Mark 7:18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, [it] cannot defile him;

Mark 7:19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

Mark 7:20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

Mark 7:21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

Mark 7:22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

Mark 7:23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.


Matt 15:10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:

Matt 15:11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

Matt 15:16 And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?

Matt 15:17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?

Matt 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

Matt 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

Matt 15:20 These are [the things] which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.


Thom 14c:x For what goes into your mouth will not defile you, but what comes out of your mouth, that is what will defile you.


Their Father Would Beget Them Circumsized

Thom 53:x His disciples said to Him: Is circumcision profitable or not? He said to them: If it were profitable, their father would beget them circumcised from their mother. But the true circumcision in Spirit has become profitable in every way.


If You Fast Not From the World

Thom 27:x Jesus said: If you fast not from the world, you will not find the kingdom; if you keep not the Sabbath as Sabbath, you will not see the Father.


If You Fast, You Will Beget Sins

Thom 14a:x Jesus said to them: If you fast, you will beget sin for yourselves, and if you pray, you will be condemned, and if you give alms, you will do evil to your spirits.


Cleanse First the Inside of the Cup

Matt 23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.

Matt 23:26 [Thou] blind Pharisee, cleanse first that [which is] within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.


Luke 11:39 And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.

Luke 11:40 [Ye] fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?

Luke 11:41 But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.

Luke 11:42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Luke 11:43 Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.

Luke 11:44 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over [them] are not aware [of them].


Thom 89:x Jesus said: Why do you wash the outside of the cup? Do you not understand that he who made the inside is also he who made the outside?


Woe Unto You Lawyers

Luke 11:46 And he said, Woe unto you also, [ye] lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.

Luke 11:47 Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.

Luke 11:48 Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.

Luke 11:49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and [some] of them they shall slay and persecute:

Luke 11:50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;

Luke 11:51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.

Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.


Beware of the Scribes

Mark 12:38 And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and [love] salutations in the marketplaces,

Mark 12:39 And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:

Mark 12:40 Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.


Luke 20:46 Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;

Luke 20:47 Which devour widows' houses, and for a show make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.


The Keys of Knowledge

Matt 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in [yourselves], neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

Matt 23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

Matt 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.


Thom 39a:x Jesus said: The Pharisees and the Scribes have received the keys of Knowledge, they have hidden them. They did not enter, and they did not let those enter who wished.


The Dog in the Manger

Thom 102:x Jesus said: Woe to them, the Pharisees, for they are like a dog sleeping in the manger of oxen, for neither does he eat nor does he allow the oxen to eat.


Parallels


The Husk of Faith and Loyalty

Lao Tzu 38
High Virtue makes no fuss and has no private ends to serve:
Low Virtue not only fusses but has private ends to serve.
High humanity fusses but has no private ends to serve:
High morality not only fusses but has private ends to serve.
High ceremony fusses but finds no response;
Then it tries to enforce itself with rolled-up sleeves.
Failing Tao, man resorts to Virtue.
Failing Virtue, man resorts to humanity.
Failing humanity, man resorts to morality.
Failing morality, man resorts to ceremony.
Now, ceremony is the merest husk of faith and loyalty;
It is the beginning of all confusion and disorder.

The Dregs and Tumors of Virtue

Laotse 24
He who stands on tiptoe does not stand (firm);
He who strains his strides does not walk (well)
He who reveals himself is not luminous;
He who justifies himself is not far-famed;
He who boasts of himself is not given credit;
He who prides himself is not chief among men.
These in the eyes of Tao
Are called "the dregs and tumors of Virtue,"
Which are things of disgust.
Therefore the man of Tao spurns them.

The Thoughtless Man

Dhamma I. The thoughtless man, even if he can recite a large portion of the law, but is not a doer of it, has no share in the religious life, but is like a cowherd counting the cows of others.

Dhamma I. The follower of the law, even if he can recite only a small portion of it but, having forsaken passion and hatred and foolishness, possesses true knowledge and serenity of mind; he, attached to nothing in this world or that to come, has indeed a share in the religious life.



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Copyright 1996 by Joseph Morales