Bible Study

Answering Critics on Godly Living & Straw Man Fallacy

Last week I shared a blog update, and I originally started to share these thoughts on the post, but then I realized I had an entirely different post taking place. I removed the portion I had to a fresh document, and then really dived into the topic, which you see before you.

Godly living is a topic I cannot back down on. It’s a topic I want to keep growing in, for myself and my own understanding, and then for others, helping them understand the truth of God’s word.

Godly living is a topic that makes me want to run. It’s a topic that makes me not want to discuss it with others due to the strong misconceptions and slogan “legalism” that gets thrown around. It’s a humbling topic because godly living points me back to how I am to love others through following Christ, His example in loving God, and loving others as He loves. When I love Him the right way, I will love others the right way, too.

Here we are.

Pushback I’ve Seen Recently

People are struggling with godly living, though this isn’t a new problem. I recently posted How Do We Love God? | Religion or Relationship? & Shocking Youth Message (Paul Washer). Both of these posts touch on godly living, especially Paul’s message.

Recently, I have had some interest on my social media, regarding these two posts. It seems people are really struggling to understand or possibly accept that Christians WILL grow and Christians NEED to grow, after receiving salvation from Jesus Christ. This growth relates in fruit connected to godly living.

Note: I am not saying growth equals salvation. I am saying GENUINE salvation will give growth.

Straw Man Fallacy

Recently, I’ve tried to listen more and understand where the confusion is coming from. I’m noticing those who are against godly living topics want to slap down the word “legalism,” however, this response does not fit when no one is saying good works save. In fact, this is referred to as a straw man fallacy. Arguing against a straw man (an argument) that the original speaker never stated.

I never say on my blog that works save, but when people see a list of questions regarding sin activity and asking people to examine their lives – people want to argue, “It’s not about godly living that saves us. We need to be at the foot of the cross.” – This is a straw man. I’m not saying godly living saves. I agree, we need to put our faith in what Jesus Christ has done. He alone is our salvation. Therefore, I’m saying if you are saved, your life will produce fruit that shows godly living, a reflection of following the footsteps of Christ and the work of His Spirit in you.

If you claim to be saved, and your life, your fruit, is similar to that of the world – there is a serious concern. If you claim to be a Christian, and five years go by with little to no growth – there is a concern. I cannot read the heart of man, but I know fruit is a must for the Christian.

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Reflection on Scripture & Godly Living

When we say that a Christian will be known by his or her fruit, and a genuine Christian will love what Christ loves… we are upholding what the Lord has told us in His word.

  • (ESV) Romans 12:09, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”
    (ESV) Psalm 36:04, “He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil.”This Psalm is about the wicked, not one who loves the Lord.
    (ESV) Matthew 7:01, “You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” Talking about false prophets, however, symbolism of fruit is connected to everyone, see next scripture.
    (ESV) Proverbs 20:11, “Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.”

These scripture choices might appear legalistic at first glance, but I am using them to point out – godly living is reflective of salvation. Please, again, understand – I am not saying godly living saves us. If Jesus is our Lord and Savior, the One Who saves us, if His Spirit indwells in us, then we should be seeing His fruit in our life and how we act. We should be convicted by sin and the things of the world that do not honor Him.

What kind of fruit should we have?

(ESV) Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

What is godly living?

(ESV) Galatians 5:24-25, “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” – Notice, again, godly living happens AFTER receiving salvation from Jesus Christ.

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Straw Man of Sinless Perfection

Godly living does not mean we never sin or won’t struggle with sin. – This seems to be one of the straw man’s I see argued. The people I promote are not saying we do not sin. On my blog posts, I’m not saying we do not sin.

No one is promoting sinless perfection over here. – which, I agree, if people are promoting sinless perfection, it’s absolutely legalism. He who says he is without sin is a liar, scripture warns. (1 John 1:09-10)

What I am saying, and the people I promote on this blog say, is that we should be grieved over our sin because the Holy Spirit Who indwells in us pricks our spirit when we sin. The Holy Spirit points the world to sin, righteousness, and the judgment to come. The Holy Spirit points us to the teachings and truth of Jesus Christ. We cannot be comfortable with sin. We hurt when we know we hurt our Savior, and we should be seeking repentance through Jesus Christ. (John 16:08, 14:26)

We are looking at the fruit being sown in our hearts, and what is being produced outwardly. Is the fruit in our lives truly the fruit of the Spirit?

You see, those who are truly saved by the Savior, care about what the Savior cares about. We do not enjoy grieving Him. We cannot go about our lives the same way we used to without Christ.We do not look at sin the same way. If we do, then Christ might not be in us.

If the road we are walking on is broad, and we notice that many worldly people are walking the same path – this should make us concerned that we are not walking the way of Christ. We should identify the god, and idol, we are serving. We should note we are not genuine Christians inwardly, only hold up the mask of one outwardly.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

In Spirit & Truth – But What Does That Really Mean?

Growth happens only after being truly saved through Jesus Christ, being transformed by the renewing of our mind, which happens through understanding God’s word properly. Understanding God’s word properly – this is the only way to understand the Gospel and why Christ came. The Bible is the only way we can receive our faith. Scripture says faith comes by hearing the word of God. (Romans 10:17) We are to be a new creation in Christ, as He promises, and He tells us to follow His commands, the law of Christ. (John 14:15, Romans 8:02, Galatians 6:02, Mark 12:30-31, Matthew 22:40)

When arguing against godly living, no one seems to be able to answer my questions regarding all the scripture that indicates Christians should grow and have fruit. Instead, people will stay fixated on their straw man and I seem to receive slogans and vague answers, along with pieces of scripture talking about not being of the Law, the Mosaic Law, in particular. Which again, I agree, we are not bond to, so this is another straw man fallacy. We are not bound to ceremonial law, but the moral law stands.

“We are to love God,” – this is true. But when people say we are to love God and have faith – with no other clarification on what that means, but then the moment instructions (from God’s mouth, His living word) are given, people suddenly shout “legalism”… no. We have a problem. There is a right way to love the Lord and then there is a sinful way.

Ironically, in these discussions, people appear to be stumbled by their own personal view of legalism. No joke, real legalism is a tangled web. But the moment we geninely are looking at how to worship the Lord, and what it means to be devoted to Him, through the Lord’s own words, we should not be struggling with the word “legalism.”

One scripture slogan I hear a lot is we are to love the Lord “in spirit and in truth” which is true, however, people do not explain what this phrase means. We cannot love the Lord any ole way we want to. When we love the Lord the way we want to- this is a god of selfishness, not the One true God we are to follow.

God tells us how to follow Him and love Him, why? Because God is holy, just, and good. We do not know what is good and loving. God KNOWS what is good and loving, therefore, He tells us what it means to be loving. Our heart is deceitful. (Jeremiah 17:09)

No one is good on his or her own, that’s why Christ paid the atonement sacrifice on the cross, with His life, taking the wrath of God in our stead, for all who put their trust in Him. Christ conquered death by God resurrecting Him, and Christ conquers the bondage sin puts us in, and He puts us in a yoke with Himself. The Lord knows what He is doing, we do not. We would be wise to follow His words and not our feelings on what we think He is saying. God’s word is sufficient. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Do you have scripture that you think will be beneficial for studying godly living and what makes legalism legalistic? Or do you have counters against the way people view godly living? Share below.

How do YOU view godly living? How do YOU view legalism? What are YOUR thoughts on relationship and religion?

The Gospel Message– The Gospel message is good news, which means there’s bad news. We all are sinners and condemned. We all deserve the just punishment of God’s wrath. Christianity is unlike any other religion because we cannot earn our way into Heaven. God saw the weakness of man and his utter depravity. Yet, He showed us grace. Jesus, God, One Person of the Trinity, became God in the flesh, the God-Man. He was always perfect and sinless. And His humanity was perfected on the cross, living the full sinless life. He became our atonement sacrifice. Dying in our place, taking on the wrath of God upon Himself. He died on the cross, and He was resurrected because death could not hold Him. Jesus is the answer. We, as guilty sinners, need His blood to pay off our debt of sin. For all who put their faith in Him – meaning eyes are opened to the Gospel, we see ourselves as a sinner, we see the need for Christ, we desire our Savior, and we see the ugliness of our sin. Putting our faith in Jesus, we seek HIs forgiveness and repent from our sins, we turn away from our old way of life. We, through the work of the Holy Spirit, continue to become convicted of sin daily. Our eyes will never be the same again. We see things in a different light, and the truth of Christ affects how we live and serve Him. Christ tells us to count the cost. Salvation is a serious topic, it is not to be taken lightly. For a breakdown of this powerful message, understanding how Christ could be God and Man, why God required sacrifices, and more -please see: Why Did A Loving God Kill His Son? (Does God Hate?)

If you think you know the Gospel, check out these questions and see how prepared you are for the day someone might ask you why you believe: The Gospel Challenge (30 Question Quiz) – Are You Ready To Defend Your Faith?

Scripture To Meditate On 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.“

Community Prayer – Community Prayer – February ’22

Christian Topics/Series Covered
Personal Blog: Peeking Beneath
Second Blog: UnAshamed Christian Housewife
Godly Men & Women I Recommend: Link To List
Resources For False Teaching: Recommended Websites For False Teachers/Teaching 
Video Playlist: Christian Questions, Topics, False Teachers, Insights 
Video Playlist: New Christian Believer 
Video Playlist: Understanding False Teachings
Video Playlist: Sermons To Grow From
Social: TwitterInstagramFacebook

Luke 11_39-40, _...so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy–full of greed and wickedness. Fools! Didn’t God make the inside as well as the outside_

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