Monday, July 10

Legalism

God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. This statue of Moses sits on top of the Hinds County Courthouse in Jackson, Mississippi.

The term legalism refers to a person seeking to establish his own righteousness before God based on strict conformity to the moral law of God. The result of such an effort will be the person trying very hard to follow rules to meet a performance standard that God will accept as righteous. The Bible offers no hope in this being successful. God does not grade on a curve and has clearly set perfection as the performance standard (Matthew 5:48). Paul is very clear that no one will be justified and receive eternal life based on his own righteousness... know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified (Galatians 2:16). The law leads us to Christ by making us aware of sin and our inability to be perfect in observing the law…. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin (Romans 3:20). Once led to Christ, a sinner understands that he is justified by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Does this mean that we can disregard God’s moral law and live a sinful life as long as we have faith? This would be antinomianism and the Apostle Paul says no…. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! (Romans 6:15).

We will look at antinomianism next.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,

on legalism....

Psalm 111 instructs us that the commandments are for ever and ever.

Deut 12:32:
What thing soever I command you, observe and do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it

Deut 13:4:
Ye shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice...

But what it really comes down to is that God tells us to obey his commandments...whom will you listen to? God (who says obey)or Paul (who says be free)?

return to righteousness said...

Hi Jazzy cat..

...that post above was from me, returntorighteousness

jazzycat said...

Return to righteousness....

I am just wondering how you are doing obeying all of God's commandments all the time? What kind of grade would you give yourself? The required grade is 100%. Please use the sermon on the mount by Jesus as a guide to assess yourself.

If you have ever failed to keep them perfectly, I would suggest you look to grace for your salvation. As the this legalism post points out, trying to achieve your own perfect righteousness will not succeed.

Jazzycat

return to righteousness said...

I don't even know all the law yet. I have started reading it and yes, I am guilty of breaking it.

I do have a lot of fear now from reading the Old Testament.

It is so different from the new. Have you read all the old yet? I have read the new, but not all of the old...

jazzycat said...

Return to Righteousness....
I have read the Old. Check out Isaiah 53 for a prophecy of how Jesus would pay our sin debt. (Isa. 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.)

You see our salvation comes because our substitute Jesus obeyed the law perfectly and we receive his righteousness through faith and our sins are punished through his atonement on the cross and we receive the benefit of this by the same faith. God therefore as Romans 3:26 tells us is both just and the one who justifies those that have faith in Jesus.

Consider what this means...

Jazzycat

Jerry Grace said...

Hi

May I expand your definition of legalism a bit? Many if not most legalists are looking to judge or control others and give themselves a pass for their own selfrighteousness and hypocrisy. One shouldn't draw the conclusion from that statement that all such people have a nefarious purpose. Perhaps like another commenter they haven't discovered who God really is and believe that by making lists of things not to do they can gain his approval. Often the imposition on others of the items on their do not list is the result of deep and unresolved fear.

No one ever entered heaven for not doing something. And no one can reach Christ until they understand they can't follow all the rules on their own. There is a sequence to life, as there is in the sermon on the mount; that sequence is an iterative process. You can't start in the middle. God didn't. Although they existed for all time, the three parts of the trinity were sequentially introduced to man. You can't have the Holy spirit, before you have Christ, and you can't have Christ until you understand that there is moral law convicting you of sin. And moral law cannot have authority outside the boundary of its Giver. And there's no greater authority than knowing the author is also Creator.

Jesus is not the answer yet for someone who has not dealt with the questions where did I come from and who am I?

I wouldn't recommend anyone installing electricity in their house without first understanding that if abused it might kill you. A healthy respect doesn't require an understanding of how exactly the electricity was made, but it is the first step in enjoying the unending and fantastic variety of benefits it brings to life.

jazzycat said...

Jerry,
Thanks for the visit. As I mention in my printed Photo Meditations, I am only attempting to briefly illustrate a point with photos and provoke some thought on the subject. As you point out, legalism can be further defined and illustrated.

I really liked the Calvinometer post on your site. I left a comment there as I want to invest.

I hope you can also come up with a Bulldog touchdownometer for this fall.

Jazzycat