Friday, February 22, 2013
Those who had been of the sect of the Pharisees brought a good share of Pharisaic tendencies with them into the church, and these were dangerous to the young kingdom of Christ. I scarcely know whether legal principles were not able to do more mischief inside the church by perverting pure doctrine than they could do outside the church by exciting persecution. One can hardly imagine how the gospel could have escaped being overlaid and smothered by Judaism, like a babe by its mother, had it not been for the preserving grace of God, and the indwelling Spirit within the church of God.
Ye know, brethren, how we mourn at this day that certain who claim to be Christians are laboring most zealously to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear. They invent pompous ceremonies, observe days and months, and are bound by rubrics and regulations, all of which are an idle and needless servitude to outward forms. Certain others would bind us with creeds and ordinances not plainly taught in the word of God, nor agreeable thereto, of which Peter and John knew nothing whatever, having no force but that which comes of human authority. The old Pharisaic spirit is a great forger of bonds and builder of prisons, it would subject us to ordinances of “Touch not, taste not, handle not,” and fetter us with rules of many sorts: for it cannot understand the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. It teacheth this and it teacheth that, whereof the apostles would have said, “We gave no such commandment.” We must contend against this spirit as much now as ever. Still must we refuse to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Christ is all. We are complete in him, and we will not permit a single letter to be added to his perfect law of liberty.
From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Faith Purifying The Heart," delivered April 15, 1877. Image by Steve Dunleavy on Flickr under Creative Commons License.