What is Legalism?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Heavenly Pilgrim, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. Heavenly Pilgrim

    Heavenly Pilgrim
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    We hear a lot about legalism or one being denoted as legalistic, but what is it? How would you describe a legalistic person, and what Scriptural support would you find to support your conclusions?
     
  2. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    IMO, legalism is adding to God's Word and stating it as fact.
     
  3. Samuel Owen

    Samuel Owen
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    Legalism is - the belief that spirituality or salvation is dependent upon strict observance of laws and/or rituals, implying salvation by works. Or, a system of religious rules must be kept to please God or religious leaders, sometimes resulting in a kind of spiritual abuse.
     
  4. trustitl

    trustitl
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    To me legalism has two veins.

    1. Salvation by works. I think this is the least popular as far as numbers being involved.

    2. Living as a believer being led by rules, law, or standards.

    Col. 2:8 "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

    Col. 2:20 "Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using; after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh."

    Gal. 3:3 "Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? "
     
  5. Pastor David

    Pastor David
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    This is exactly right. In short, legalism is the act of trying to gain favor with God through self-righteous works. It can either pertain to works as they regard salvation, or works as they regard sanctification. But in either case, it is the clinging to a set of rules (laws) rather than Christ that makes it legalism. Another profitable portion of Scripture to reference would be Eph. 2:1-10.

    I hope this helps.
     
  6. billwald

    billwald
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    How many Bible Believing Christians would do good works if they were hidden from God?

    Who is more admirable? The Christian who does good works to get into Heaven? The Christian who does good works because he wants more status in Heaven? The athiest who does good works because it is the right thing to do?
     
  7. Pastor David

    Pastor David
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    Bill,

    You left off the one answer to your question which is the correct answer. The Christian who does good works to glorify their Father in heaven - that's the Christian most to be admired.

    Blessings,
     
  8. matt wade

    matt wade
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    Is anyone in hell admirable?
     
  9. thegospelgeek

    thegospelgeek
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    What about the christian who does good works without even realizing it?

    (Mat 25:37) Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

    (Mat 25:38) When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

    (Mat 25:39) Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
     
  10. Pastor David

    Pastor David
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    Gospelgeek,

    Those certainly glorify God as well.

    Blessings,
     

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