The Only Sin Now, LEGALISM, Don’t Be Offended, Just Read What Paul Said About It!
Have you ever thought to yourself, while in church, what is your deal, while watching a person does something you know is wrong? Well, you might want to be careful about that and here’s why.
This thought usually comes shortly after an encounter with a “Christian” who knows they are a Christian and insists on making certain that you know it too. After all, the phrase “Holier than thou” came from somewhere, right?
When I encounter a person from this, um, let’s just say, from this persuasion, my first mental reaction is to point out how much of an authentic hypocrite they truly are and then my fleshly reaction is quickly tampered by my conviction to do the right thing.
The truth is that they aren’t hypocrites; they’ve been touched by a spirit of legalism. The reality is we are all afflicted by it, even if we justify it in our own minds and I’ll prove it.
Just yesterday I watched as a lady pulled into a handicap parking space at the grocery store, she had no handicap license plate, no hanging tag, she just pulled right up and took the space because it was the closest one (at least that’s how it appeared to me). On my way in, I thought of all the people with real afflictions that may have needed that spot, and how she just took it. I told myself that in her selfishness she had taken something away from a disabled person. Then I started plotting how I could make things difficult for her as a reminder that she was being discourteous. I actually thought about putting shopping carts all around her car, forcing her to move every single one of them just to get to her car (I know, cruel, right?).
Of course, I soon regained my Christian composure and opted not to repay evil with evil and instead just prayed for her.
So, I’m fairly certain that legalism for some reason is something all of us deal with in varying degrees and is something we need to be on guard about. I was reading Galatians this week, in particularly chapter 2 (I highly recommend you read the entire chapter). Paul actually confronts Peter over him trying to get the Gentiles to follow Jewish law. (Hello Biblical legalism).
In verse 16 Paul says: “Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”
17 But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! 18 Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down.19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God”.
According to Paul if we go back to trying to become righteous under the law, in other words, we rely on legalism, we once again become sinners.
It’s really common sense, if we make a law and then we break that law, we are a criminal, plain and simple. But, what if we cancel all the laws, then there are no laws to break and no one can be called a criminal, again very simple.
But for some reason we have a difficult time remembering that Jesus died to cancel the law given to the Jews through Moses, so that we could be made righteous through His sacrifice. In our Faith and relationship with Christ we no longer need the law to govern our way of life, because we were given the Holy Spirit to guide us.
So today, when you run into that ‘one person’ who doesn’t understand that Jesus died to remove the need for the law in their lives, just pray for them and let it serve as a reminder that God loved us so much that he reconnected us through the sacrifice of His only son.
So, what’s experiences have you had with legalism that make you crazy?