Christian Universe TM
And Such Like
November 30, 2008
Some men use the phrase "...and such like" to justify criticizing, judging, and condemning others by making up new rules and rituals to follow. The guidelines given for the identification of these sins were for sexual sins, murder, and other extreme types of sin. It was not meant to include every little thing that a person might find offensive or imagine might be sinful.
And Such Like
By Bernie Parsons
Presented to Globe church of Christ on 11-30-2008
In my last lesson, we studied “Rudiments Of The World” and the concept of not being drawn into flesh-worship of “touch not, taste not, and handle not”. We are to keep our minds on things above.
When I was a young preacher, I tried to make lists of “dos and don’ts” in the Bible. I urged others to do the same. However, as an older preacher, I have come to understand that in Christ Jesus we are not under such a law of ordinances, as were the Israelites under the Law of Moses.
One of the mistakes that I have seen preachers make is to take verses out of context and make them mean something other than what was intended. One such verse is:
Galatians 5:21: “Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
I have seen preachers take the words “and such like” and use them to condemn many things, some of them rather innocuous—things that God probably would not care about.
Let us look at that verse in context.
Galatians 5:16: “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17: For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18: But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19: Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20: Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21: Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23: Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24: And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
The above is not a list of dos and don’ts. At the same time, the words, “and such like” are not intended to throw open the floodgates to an endless list of sins. What Paul was doing here was to point a Gentile congregation in the direction of righteousness. Most pagans did not have a good grasp of the righteousness of God, not having been reared according to the Law of Moses. Paul set them straight by reeling off some of the things that were clearly sins of the flesh.
From the list in Paul’s letter, we see that the Gentile Christians were being shown that all sexual transgressions were to be avoided, as well as idol worship, witchcraft, and things such as uncontrolled anger and attitudes that lead to conflict and murder, and also drunkenness and the related clamor that goes with it. The phrase “…and such like” would denote anything similar in nature. It is not a catch-all for anything that a person would want to categorize as sin. In fact, the things that he mentions are major infractions and their related sins: sexual sin, worship of false gods, murder and drunkenness. These are fleshly sins, prompted by internal lusts.
At the same time, Paul speaks of admirable spiritual attributes: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Rather than rejoicing in the flesh, these attributes demonstrate a person who is dedicated to making life better for others, as well as for himself. Such a person attempts to create good relationships with others. He makes peace, is happy, and deals gently and kindly with others. He is a spiritual person.
On the one hand, we have those who create chaos and disorder. On the other, we have those who make peace and restore and maintain order. The one is wicked, rebelling against God, while the other is obedient to God’s will.
The gospel of Jesus Christ was not intended to require the highly educated in order to understand it and keep it.
1 Corinthians 1:18: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19: For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20: Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21: For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22: For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24: But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
25: Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26: For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28: And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29: That no flesh should glory in his presence.
30: But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:20: “Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”
The gospel of Christ does not appeal particularly to the educated, the strong, and the powerful. It does, however, hold powerful appeal for the common man.
2 Corinthians 1:12: “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
13: For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end;”
2 Corinthians 11:3: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
4: For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”
Anybody who purports to find a lot of new laws, rules, and commandments in the scriptures should arouse suspicion. The apostle Paul rightly spoke of the simplicity of the gospel. “Such like” does not entail a long list of dos and don’ts!
Galatians 1:6: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9: As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
10: For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
11: But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12: For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
To pervert means to twist. Anybody who puts a twist on the word of God, be it a large or small twist, is perverting God’s word. The word of God is pretty straightforward.
Romans 14:1: “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
2: For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
3: Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
4: Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
5: One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
6: He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
7: For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
8: For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
9: For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
10: But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11: For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12: So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
13: Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.”
Romans 14:22: “Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
23: And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
Some things God doesn’t really care about. Eating meat, or not, is one of those things. Keeping one day as special above another, or not, is another of those things. There are many “such like” things that men take a stand on, where God could care less one way or the other. Again, I implore, let us never use the phrase, “…and such like” to conjure up restrictions and judgments where God has set none. Let us avoid, “Touch not, taste not, handle not”, which are temporary, fleshly things that pass quickly away. Let us, instead, seek the righteous will of Almighty God, and obey Him in all things.