Have you ever been upset by seeing a Christian you know drinking wine at a restaurant? You might be a legalist.
Do you elbow your spouse during church so they’ll listen to what the preacher’s saying? You might be a legalist.
When you read the headline to this blog, did you think to yourself, “this is great for someone else!” Then, you definitely might be a legalist.
The essence of legalism is trusting in religious activity rather than in God himself. Legalism is confidence in a practice rather than in the person of Jesus.
It’s like thinking because you go to church all your life, you’ll be saved. That’s putting confidence in your actions. It focuses on appearances. It focuses on outward actions rather than the heart.
On Sunday, January 31, 2021 Pastor Jason Craft gave a message at Messiah’s House Church about legalism. In that message, he asked the audience 8 questions for reflection.
“Legalism is rampant,” Craft said. Whether we like to admit it or not, many Christians in the church are the first to make the mistake of becoming legalistic. Sometimes it’s subtle, and in other cases it may be a dominant part of a Christian’s lifestyle.
Legalism is “calculated” Christianity, according to Pastor Jason. It’s ensuring that penance is served. It’s studying words on a page more than cultivating a relationship with its author. Legalists are always ready to argue their point.
Ask your self the following questions. Take 10 seconds to reflect on each question. How did you do?
Legalism is calculated Christianity. It measures everything. The Pharisees tithed on the “herbs” that they grew. Once you’ve tithed, do you think the rest of the money belongs to you?
Like the brother in the story of the prodigal son, you get angry because he kept a record of his service to God. If you think God owes you something because of your service, that’s legalism?
Legalism wants to be seen and noticed. If your feelings get hurt when you don’t get recognized, that’s legalism.
Because when you are self righteous, conviction doesn’t apply to you. Quit elbowing your spouse all the time. This is for you, buddy.
Legalists only see things in black or white, there is no grey area. Like alcohol, for instance. Some people drink, some people don’t drink based on conviction. That’s important. It’s between you and God. The Bible says we shouldn’t be drunk, it doesn’t say we shouldn’t drink. It’s important that we
A legalist will not let what they perceive to be an error pass them by. The Pharisees condemned Jesus for doing miracles on the Sabbath. Think about that! Jesus is healing people. And they are upset because they believe no one should work on the sabbath.
Legalists love the idea of penance. They believe you have to earn the grace of God.
God didn’t give us the scripture so we can put Him in our convenient little boxes. God will not violate His own Word, but He will violate your interpretation of it.