What is legalism?/OOPSgreenspun.com : LUSENET : The Christian Church (Real) : One Thread
I'm not sure what you all are calling legalism. If by legalism you mean that applies to those who believe God means what he says, then I AM THE NUMBER ONE LEGALIST.
I fear for those who want to wallow in grace, without doing the will of our Lord. I fear for those who believe they can get into Christ another way than the one laid out in the N.T. Can those people be helped to see the truths of the Bible? Not likely. There comes a time when God "sends a working of delusion...." to those who will not accept His word as their guide.
-- Nelta Brock (email@example.com), January 30, 2002
Too often people talk past each other without defining their terms.
"legalist" isn't a term used in scripture (not in any translation I use -- it probably is in "The Message"). I have always used Galatians 5 as my point of reference. Those who are no longer relying on grace for their salvation but trying to earn it through works.
When one is using their obedience for their salvation, they will be quick to critize others doing it differently. If one relies on works, then if someone is doing it differently, one of them is wrong. So they work out a new law for themselves.
Relying on grace doesn't mean we keep sinning, no, rather we are free to obey without worry. I think an appropriate analogy is the farmer in the field -- if he tries to plow a straight line by focusing on where he is at all the time, the result is invariably a crooked line. But if he sets his sights on an object in the distance, then he can plow straightly. If we try to keep rules, we will stumble, but if we focus on Jesus, our lives will be straight. Focusing on Jesus, we avoid legalism and we do the will of God. His word is our revelation of Jesus in the context of all time, and all the Bible is worthy of study, not just the gospels that speak most directly of Jesus.
-- Mark Winstead (JesusIsMarksLord@netscape.net), January 31, 2002.