Legalism is a system of thought where rules, expectations and regulations promise God’s love in return for human effort and obedience. Legalism is an attempt by man to justify God’s Love. Under the cloak of Christianity legalism offers salvation and God’s Love as a reward for performance. Legalism is a spiritually toxic virus, spread by religion, best treated by God’s unconditional and amazing grace.
If your heart is full of bitterness towards others and self-condemnation, could it
be that you have been going about living the Christian life all wrong? God desperately wants to set His people free from legalism. God loves legalists. He hates legalism.
Could you be a legalist and not even know it? Why do Christians fall prey to performance-based religion? Are you convinced that God is mad at you and the only way you can make him happy is by being a better person? Are you convinced that your obedience and performance has some bearing on your salvation? Are you tired of trying harder because it seems that trying harder is never good enough?
I purposely didn’t include any teaching on GRACE in this blog. That will come next. I think it important to first face the fact that WE ALL may be guilty of legalism to one degree or another.
SOOOO… If you have the guts, take the Legalist test and see how YOU do.
You might be a Legalist if:
1) God’s love for you depends on what you do.
2) Meeting the expectations of others, especially those in your congregation or in positions of authority, are paramount.
3) You believe that if you DON’T tithe, your other 90% will be cursed.
4) You try hard to obey God and it irritates you that others think they can get away with avoiding the same level of dedication and commitment.
5) You fall short because you don’t have enough faith, or because you haven’t prayed enough, or because you just need to be a better person.
6) God is predisposed to be angry with you because you are a sinner and He knows that YOU know you can do better.
7) Your sense of spiritual well-being is tied to a Christian leader and their opinion or membership in your church rather than a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
8) You tell your children not to do something in church or around other Christian families that you allow in your home.
9) You believe that what people wear, hairstyles, piercings or tattoos, is a clear indication of that person’s spirituality and character.
10) After being around Christians for a while you feel drained because you are weary of putting up a false front.
11) When you happen to miss a service or activity of your church, even if it is a valid excuse, you feel guilty.
12) If your ability to receive a blessing from God, such as healing, depends on how you have been performing.
13) If you see Christ as more of a judge than a Savior.
14) If you believe God’s love for you depends on how much love you have shown Him.
15) If you know God’s law but not God Himself.
16) If you think you MUST take a Sabbath once a week.
So, how did you do? Did you find some of these comments describing you? Legalism has been a danger to the church from the very start. it is addressed in the New Testament repeatedly and the book of Galatians is written, almost entirely, to address this point.
We are all susceptible to legalism and we must ever guard ourselves from falling into this trap of wrong thinking.
God’s love is unconditional. Christ has redeemed us from every curse of the law. We are to live a life of the Spirit. laying down our lives daily and taking up God’s agenda, being an instrument of righteousness and an expression of His very person….Just like Jesus. This is the path to freedom from legalistic thinking.