Well this is the last of the steps. I am sure there are many more steps one could take, but these are the ones that I could think of as I have lived my life and watched others live theirs with angry scowls at me as I don't live the way they want me to. This post is one that is going to require you to have a sense of humor, especially if you abstain from alcohol. I will say that the people that I am writing about today are not those who abstain because of their own conviction, but those who not only abstain, but try and convert others to become hall of famers with Welch's Grape Juice alongside them. I will be following this post up with a conclusion, but this will be the last of the steps.
This last step is "People need to abstain from everything...well except food and money"
To be a good legalist, you really have to major on the minors and minor on the majors. If you are scratching your head in confusion because you don't understand the last phrase, your tie is on too tight and you need to put down your King James Bible. Maybe if I said, "If thou desireth to becometh a good legalist, make sureth you overemphasizeth the smalleth things and underemphasizeth the largest of things." Got it? Alright good. For sure this is what will take place as look to how to become a legalist in our last step.
To be a good legalist, find something to abstain from. Whether it be alcohol, smoking or for most of you, sinners. Find something to abstain from, and don't just abstain from them but be a good legalist and find converts for the cause of yourself. You could be the yoke around their neck...errrr...I mean banner of love over them that brings them from sinner to saint. To do this you will have to take verses that speak to certain points and overemphasize them to show that you are right and everyone else is wrong. You will have to take verses and outlaw every use of things to make them sin by just participating instead of what the verse is meant, which is to be careful of over consumption or overuse.
One of the most popular things to abstain from is alcohol. Now, those people that merely abstain for personal conviction are not true legalists, and the reason that you are reading this is not to become a person of conviction, but a person with yokes to hand out. So, take the verses that speak of drunkenness and make it so that it speaks of consumption in any way. Come up with theories that speak of the wine in the biblical times of being watered down and more like grape juice than today's wine. Find these things and harp on them. Make them the center of your ministry and make sure that those who go to taverns, bars or those type of dirty sinful establishments understand that they are going to the den of thieves and robbers. These places are merely the gates to hell. It is your duty to stand on your stool outside, yelling through your bull horn while handing out tracts with the flames of hell on them.
Remember, because the Bible only speaks of drunkenness being wrong, you must take those verses and make them sound like drinking of any kind is sin. Not only do you have to do this but you must make up some very good stories of why we will be drinking wine in heaven, why it was made for our joy, why Jesus drank wine and why he made water into wine as his first miracle. This can get tedious, but if you're desire is to be a good legalist and you have followed the first 9 steps, you should be well on your way of speaking out of both sides of your mouth while proof texting your 1611 King James Bible.
If this isn't going to be your soap box there are many more things that you can abstain from. Smoking is a good one as well. Although smoking is never mentioned in the Bible, don't people know that their bodies are the temple of God? Never mind the passage is dealing with prostitution, remember ignore that and focus on the "temple of God" part. If you quote it enough with a scowl and a finger pointed at people, anything can sound right. Especially if you throw in a "don't be like the world" at people. Just be careful because they might point a certain finger right back at you.
Speaking of "don't be like the world" this comes to the next thing that you can really set your life apart with. Abstain from sinners. Now, you can preach at them, and casually talk to them at the bus stop, but don't let them be your friends. Because if you are friends with them, people might think you are just like them. I mean, what would Pharisees, oops, I mean your congregation, think if they saw you with sinners. Abstain from the sinner, don't let them corrupt you and your family. You are to be holy, not like them or with them. To do this you will have to ignore that most of the apostles were gross sinners and most of those that Christ hung out with and befriended were the worst of sinners. But hey, you have become just like Thomas Jefferson at this point, just cut out those parts of the Bible that do not fit within your new found Christianity. You might have miracles and Jesus in your Bible, but you will have to cut out all the people that were affected by the miracles. No big deal though, God doesn't do miracles anymore anyways, he has you, why would he need miracles?
So, find something to abstain from. Whether it be alcohol, smoking or sinners, find something. Preach on it like Benny Hinn does on money. He might not be in a dark suit, but he could really teach all us legalist how to focus on one thing and make it our ministry.
Alright, enough of the actual post and a little more thoughts on the issue as a whole. I find it interesting that people abstain from alcohol and smoking (I have some close friends abstain, but they aren't legalist in their convictions) don't use the same logic with other things that are spoken of in the Bible. If we are to abstain from alcohol because someone might stumble if they see us drinking, why don't we stop eating around fat people? Why don't we stop spending money in front of people that struggle with greed? You see gluttony and greed are actually named as sin in the Bible where merely drinking and smoking are not. But, what I find is more people have conviction over alcohol and smoking than they do with those things that are mentioned far more often and actually named as sinful. This is a huge deal that is overlooked. What is usually pretty funny is that it is fat preachers, in pin stripe suits, with big houses that tell you that you shouldn't drink or smoke.
Not only are most legalist saying that you must not drink or smoke in front of those who struggle with it, but you must abstain completely even when you are not with those who struggle. So you are to never smoke or drink. Again, take this same logic with those that struggle in other ways. Am I to never eat, because my brother that struggles with gluttony? Am I to never make money or spend it because my brother struggles with greed? Am I never to have sex with my wife because my brother struggles with lust and sex? People need to use some logic here. What about this. I have a neighbor who is a vegetarian. He is not saved, but when they come over, we always eat vegetarian with them. They have told us it is no big deal, but we want to make sure that we are being a good witness of brotherly love. Does this mean though, that I never eat meat? No, but I do it as a witness to them when they come over.
In the end, what seems to happen is that the overuse of anything becomes sin. For whatever reason people have chosen to really harp on smoking and alcohol. Some say it is because they have had some personal experience in dealing with its affects. I have to ask again, "do we do things and put yokes on others because of experience or the Scriptures?" We have to remember that some people have had their lives ruined with money and parents dying because of overeating and heart attacks. Does this mean we have a campaign against eating and money? This would never happen. Historically, drinking alcohol has been a part of life for everyone, but since the prohibition, it seems as though this "sin" has been elevated to an extreme part in people's ministry as they forget the other parts of the Bible.
I have no problem if someone has a personal conviction to abstain from anything. I just beg the question, "Why do you have to put that on others?" Use your own logic with other things and you will find that your personal conviction is just that...personal.