Friday, October 5, 2007

What is legalism?

Being under total grace is an extreme. It gives us a dangerous sense of freedom. It can bring us humility and security but at the same time a secret pride. God loves me unconditionally and I am safe in His hands. There is no feeling of guilt or fear. Does it promote sin? Does it give a license to sin? Isn't it too dangerous? And the entire Christendom says --- YES! So what is the solution? We need law! Law is Good! Law keeps us morally pure! Law makes us holy! We love law!

I think I know what Legalism means but I struggle to define it.

What teaches me to say 'no' to ungodliness? Law or Grace?

There are 2 ways I can stop watching R-rated movies:

1. I don’t watch R-rated movies because I am a Christian and I want to be holy.
2. I don’t watch R-rated movies because the wisdom from God tells me that my flesh is too bad and I may indulge in sin and destroy my earthly relationships.

In either case God is not pleased or displeased. Because there is only one thing which can please God- faith.
The first one is legalistic but the second is not. In the second case I am not motivated by the law, fear or guilt. I know that I know that I know, nothing can separate me from the love of God. The same grace teaches me to say ‘no’ to ungodliness, not the law. If it is law it is legalism and it promotes more sin.

11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. (Titus 2)

1 comment:

Joel Brueseke said...

Yep it's true... legalism often disguises itself as light. It sounds good to think that the law will help us be holy, righteous, pure, etc and that it will help to overcome the problem of sin, but in reality it does just the opposite.

It's grace, not law, that teaches us to say no to ungodliness, as that verse you gave pointed out. We can't mix law and grace, because that's mixing the power of sin with the power to overcome sin! It just doesn't work! It's legalism.