Thursday, August 21, 2008

Too Legalistic

It was 1991. Our first Bible study. There was one woman in the group who was different from the rest of us. She had a lot of things she didn't do. Our thoughts? Stifling. Too legalistic. But, we were wrong. The word legalism is not in the Bible, but it is synonymous with "works of law." One author defines it as "a self-reliant effort to demonstrate virtue to man and God." In other words, it is believing we can get to heaven by our works. Legalism is not the good works that a Christian does as he relies on the Holy Spirit. So, it is not so much "what we do, but the spirit in which we do it that makes the difference." We can not be quick to assume that a person's actions are legalistic without knowing their heart. In the case of our friend, she was pursuing holiness, and we have found in her someone to imitate.


Vanesa said...

Jpizzle gives TWO definitions of legalism. One is the one above.

The second meaning of legalism is this: the erecting of specific requirements of conduct beyond the teaching of Scripture and making adherence to them the means by which a person is qualified for full participation in the local family of God, the church.

Vanesa said...

Jonathan Edwards once said that godly people can, as it were, smell the depravity of an act before they can explain why it is evil. There is a spiritual sense that something is amiss. It does not fit in a world permeated with God. Ephesians 5:3 says that some things “are not fitting” among saints.” “Fitting-ness” is not always easy to justify with arguments. You discern it before you can defend it. That’s good, because we have to make hundreds of choices every day with no time for extended reflection.

Vanesa said...

Can u tell Im currently researching this?
This is an awesome post

Vanesa said...

Guess what I read this AM? ;)
The word legalistic is found in Philipians 3:6
Its like you reading thru Job- the irony.
Good morning!

Jamie said...

There is no Greek word for legalism. The NIV translators chose to put that in to convey an idea. It is not in the ESV, NASB, or KJV.