What is legalism?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Shiloh, Mar 31, 2003.

  1. Shiloh

    Shiloh
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    Please give scripture.
     
  2. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    Legalism is trying to fulfill Old Testament law without regarding the spirit of the law.

    "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." Matthew 5:17

    Jesus said six times in Matthew 5, "Ye have heard it said...". Jesus is giving the correct interpretation of the law. The law was and is perfect, but the scribes did not interpret the 'spirit' of the law.

    1) Christ was made under the law. (Gal.4:4)

    2) He lived in perfect obedience to the law. (Mt.17:5, Jn.8:46)

    3) He was a minister of the law to the Jews, clearing it from rabbinical sophistries, enforcing it upon those who professed to obey it (Lk.10:25-37), but confirming the promises made to the fathers under the Mosaic Covenant. (Rom.15:8)

    4) He fulfilled the types of the law by His holy life and sacrificial death. (Heb.9:11-28)

    5) He bore, vicariously, the curse of the law that the Abrahamic Covenant might avail all who believe. (Gal.3:13,14)

    6) He brought out, by His redemptive work, all who believe...from the place of servants under the law to the place of sons. (Gal.4:1-7)

    7) He mediated by His blood the New Covenant of assurance and grace in which all believers stand (Rom.5:2), so estabishing the "law of Christ" with it's precepts of righteous living made possible by the indwelling Spirit.

    Blessings,
    Sue
     
  3. Wisdom Seeker

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    Legalism is when something is added to salvation to make it valid. Like when the jews said that gentiles couldn't be saved unless they were circumsized in the New Testiment.
     
  4. Shiloh

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    Two good replies. I don't know what happened to our friends that call "standards" in the church....leagalism?
     
  5. Wisdom Seeker

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    When a person refers to standards as legalism it is almost always meant derogatorily.
     
  6. Dr. Bob

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    I cannot please God by my works. To do so is legalism, simply seen as "adding works" to grace.

    In the strict NT sense, it dealt mostly with trying to adds works to salvation to GET saved. Typical of Judaizers.

    By application, it still deals today with trying to add works to salvation to KEEP saved. Typical of many of my ifb brethren.

    If I am saved by grace without works, I must live the same way. To proclaim that "standards" must be kept to "please" God is exactly the same adding to grace.
     
  7. Wisdom Seeker

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    I didn't understand what you meant by the last paragraph Dr. Bob. Would you mind explaining what you mean?
     
  8. I Am Blessed 24

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    With all due respect Dr. Bob...The IFBs I know, including me, know we cannot add to our salvation. I do not do works to
    KEEP my salvation, I do works because I HAVE salvation.

    Once saved...always saved,
    Sue
     
  9. qwerty

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    At the core of legalism is exterior religious activity. This is done because these people desire man's approval. They are deceived into thinking that outward religious activity pleases God.

    MT 23:1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: [2] "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. [3] So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. [4] They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

    MT 23:5 "Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; [6] they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; [7] they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them `Rabbi.'

    The key to not being legalistic is to agree with our Heavenly Father.

    1SA 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
     
  10. Johnv

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    You're being legalistic when you follow rules that I don't want to follow. [​IMG]

    Amusing as that may sound, legalism has become a label that people often use to excuse their own disregard for authority (legal, moral, biblical, etc.). Likewise, it becomes a an anti-label for those who want to impose their version of rules on others.
     
  11. Shiloh

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    1SA 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Matt. 12:34 if you have Christ in your heart won't the outside show it? The thing that bothers me is so many on this board seem to want to walk on the edge. It's not just on this board though, it's the church in general today.
     
  12. Tentmaker

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  13. Tentmaker

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    In my view when people begin to decry "legallism", they are in fact bemoaning standards. Should the church have fewer standards then society? In order for a socieity to maintain decency and order it must have standards (legalism).

    Likewise the Church must have standards. If anyone adds to God's Word concerning salvation by grace alone and Christ alone, then that is true legalism, and must be rejected.

    BTW:Church standards (I believe) are for Church members. And should not be imposed upon guests or visitors.
     
  14. All about Grace

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    And it is my view that when people begin to cry "legalism is about salvation only" they are in fact justifying their own legalistic tendencies.
     
  15. Abiyah

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    I am not being sarcastic; I really want to know: of
    what use are church standards if they cannot be
    directly found in the Bible? In my experience,
    church standards have been church laws which
    were added to the Bible:
    </font>
    • Don't attend sports</font>
    • Don't wear jewelry</font>
    • Don't wear makeup</font>
    • Women must wear dresses/skirts</font>
    • Don't go to any theaters at anytime
      etc.</font>
    None of these can be found in the Bible, yet they
    were "standards." I don't know what their purpose
    was, other than a proof of the leadership's power
    over the congregation.
     
  16. Tim

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    Having personal standards based upon our understanding of scripture is not legalistic, but when we attempt to apply our personal standard to others in areas where the Bible is not definitive we have become legalistic.

    In Christ,

    Tim
     
  17. Shiloh

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    Don't attend sports
    Don't wear jewelry
    Don't wear makeup
    Women must wear dresses/skirts
    Don't go to any theaters at anytime
    etc.
    None of these can be found in the Bible, yet they
    were "standards." I don't know what their purpose
    was, other than a proof of the leadership's power
    over the congregation.

    Abiyah, isn't this what I wrote about by people er "Christians" living on the edge? Example: Written on the doors of many 7-11 stores, No Shirt No Shoes No Service. Is that "standards? Why should Christians balk at dress regulations stipulated by the pastor or church, when the world takes it for granted? Some day Christians will stand at the Judgement Seat of Christ, won't it seem trivial that we squabbled over what we should wear or not wear? I guess that's why the Lord has us in robes when we get to Heaven. I can see it now, long robes or short robes.........
     
  18. Istherenotacause

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    I know this thread has all but died, but I hadn't entered into it until now.

    I would have to agree that legalism is that attempt to keep salvation, prove salvation, or add to salvation.

    What I have found though, is that people who profess godliness do appear to all in what is considered modest apparel, but that is not limited to that, but also the kind and gentle demeanor says just as much. When the two, outside and inside appearance, go hand in hand, a balance is established, and we know that a false balance is abomination to God. Now many would argue that only has to do with weights and balances as to measure out merchandise or monies, but that would be limiting the "living Word" wouldn't it?

    Many will go on to say that they know women with dresses dragging the floor with tongues long enough to hang themselves with. That is why balance is to be sought by the individual. I know many people that are the nicest people you could ever meet, but by the "first" impression, you wouldn't begin to think that. Many will make excuse that one must get to know the person as to not misjudge their character, but I've found that the character is usually hidden behind the "appearance"; dress or otherwise.

    Also I've found that preaching on the outside reveals much about the character of the person as in how they will react to that type of preaching. :mad: or [​IMG] I believe we all would agree low necklines and high hems, tight fits, and flashy clothing reveals to all, much about the hidden or not, character, of the individual, or else we should. This isn't always a certainty to establish the rule by, (long dresses, long tongues). :rolleyes:

    Call it what you like, but I do know this, if you want to appear as spiritual to men, (outwardly) and to the Lord (inwardly), you must have that proper balance in godliness, or else you'll appear to men as anything applicable by your dress, or what the Lord really knows you are because He looketh on the inward parts anyway. So we must come to grips with the reality, Are we as Christians attempting to witness to a lost and dying world? or to the Lord who knows the very fiber of our being, better than we could possibly know ourselves? I'd have to say, both! :D

    Our outward, (not limited to dress, but attitude as well/inward or comeliness) is to profess as a witness to men, godliness. Our inward man is revealed to men by our conversation, (walk, talk, and squawk). Yet our inward man is that who receives the witness of Christ within our inner being, so we also should bear witness in return as well, that would relate to the sweet communion we can have with our Lord. [​IMG] (Oh, I almost forgot to tell all you "legalists", or not, they're having a 2 for 1 sale on halo wax at your local Christian bookstore!) [​IMG]

    Legalism is about a bunch of "don'ts and can'ts", but true balance would be "should nots and would nots" as to please not only man's judgemental spirit, but as to please our Lord in so doing. Refer to our Ten Commandments for those that are towards the LORD, and the sum of the rest that relate directly to our relationships with our fellow man. Be sure to note that anything can become a "god" that would separate us from the true walk of a Christian. Some people's god is their standards, some, is their lack of and denial of standards, but our Lord is the God of all standards! Walk circumspectly is the admonition, so as to please both! (requires circular reasoning to insure all bases are covered!) [​IMG]

    It is up to the individual though, to decide just how close a walk with Jesus they desire, and not how close a walk they boast! Lead and others will follow, boast, and eventually everyone will tire of your boastings and leave.


    In Christ,

    Brother Ricky
     
  19. Wygal

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    I guess there are as many definitions of legalism, as there are individuals. A lot of good verses have been given here. Maybe at first, at one time or another, legalism meant doing something or adding something to the salvation message. All I know for sure, is that if that ball and chain, (that could be a definition of legalism, by the way :D ) is in your church, you will KNOW it, if you've any discernment at all, unless maybe for the new Christian that hasn't learned a lot yet.
    A few things to check:

    1) Do you feel less of a Christian because you don't participate in EVERY thing that goes on?
    2) Do you feel less worthy if you don't dress a certain way?
    3) Do you feel BETTER after going to the service and trying to fellowship and worship, or WORSE?
    4) Do you continually feel guilt-ridden and can't figure out why?
    5) Do you find yourself taking everything your Pastor says as THE truth, or do you check for yourself in your Bible?
    6) Does a berean spirit get looked down on? In other words, if you question something taught, do you get 'corrected'?
    7) Do you spend so much time going to the church every time the doors are open, and doing misc. things that the Pastor wants or suggests, and trying to be involved in everything that happens, that you find yourself not having time for your family and are exhausted?
    8) Are you concerned that if you say 'no', when someone wants you to do something, that you'll be looked down on as not as faithful as you should be, and a not a serious Christian?
    9) Do you think that you are gaining favor in God's eyes for all the good works you do?
    10) Do you think that you're gaining favor in your Pastor's eyes for all the good works you do, and does this concern you to the point that you find yourself over-extended?
    11) If you do notice that there are things that don't seem right at your church, and if you mention it, do you get blamed for being the problem yourself, even by family and friends?

    And, many other telltale signs. There are many good sites about this on the web. By the time we got out of the place we were in, my marriage was almost in trouble, because my husband thought I was being a troublemaker when I tried to show him what was wrong, and we are in a strained relation now, with some family members who obviously think we are in grave error for leaving. Some pastors are so far into its clutches, that in my opinion, they're nothing more than false teachers that we are warned about. When this happens, you can usually count on more and more corrupted beliefs finding their way into the sermons, and the lives of the pastor and members. (Give the devil an inch...) No one can live up to the expectations of true legalism, and it never leads to anything good. Believe me, whatever 'definition' you put on legalism, when you experience it, you may never be the same, without much prayer and time for healing. Forgive me, if I sound too harsh. I'm still working on being the same as before this happened. :(
     
  20. Istherenotacause

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    Hi, again, Ally.

    Seek for the "balance", Sister Ally. Do an indepth study within. When we observe Communion, it is a time of self examination, If we judge ourselves, then we are not judged.

    I understand completely what you are saying. Sometimes people are overbearing and get between us and the Lord, but a clear, clean conscience with God is best.

    An old friend of mine has been heavily burdened for his father for years. Many a time they had words due to his doubting his father's salvation. He pressed him sore and even was thrown out of his own daddy's house. I gave him this advice to not get between his daddy and the Lord. I don't try to get any of the glory for this, but the daddy who said he'd never step foot in the church again, is now attending "almost" regularly. I know this is no evidence of salvation, but it is a giant step!


    Seek the Lord in this matter, remembering to "hold thy tongue", Give everyone a chance to come to terms with this particular situation, but most assuredly remain "sweet" and gentle. Avoid confrontations, let your husband be the spiritual leader if I may say that. Let him be the one to answer for the two of you, (he will anyway!).
    A good reply to those other people is, "I love you very much, but let's just not talk about it for right now, let's just pray together about "things". Try your best to leave out the words "if" and "what if", or "but I think". Not trying to tell you not to think, but to not to tell others that.

    Relationships with people are funny sometimes, and it seems no matter what we try o do, they still won't understand. Maintaining the right attitude and doing what you know is right at all costs is best.

    Don't let this make you bitter, only let it make you better! [​IMG]

    In Christ,

    Brother Ricky
     

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