Legalism is defined as the doctrine that salvation is gained through good works or the judging of conduct in terms of adherence to precise laws. What causes it?
We are in various aspects of life as well. In watching football Sunday, there were several replays attempting to determine if the ball crossed the plane of the goal line or if the knee was down prior to the ball crossing the goal line. We also learned that the NFL has agreed to put together a panel of experts to study the definition of a catch, created in part because of catches like Des Bryant's catch last year in the playoffs. We will continue to argue over such weighty matters regardless of finding.
In our relationship with God, it boils down to a question of whether my service and attempt to follow the law satisfies God and creates a relationship in which God is pleased with us. We know that following the letter of the law, especially as Christ defined it, that following the law is not possible. I may not physically kill a man, but I will get angry and wish ill-will on him, which Christ defined as murder. Infidelity is not just the physical act, but the lust in a man's heart.
Yet we seem to be gripped by legalism in faith, perhaps because we are empirical beings. I understand measurement, success and failure. We have a difficult time understanding the simplicity of grace. Surely I have to do something? Surely I'm not as "bad" as others in this life who have done things that were heinous?
Unfortunately, the attempt to fall back into pleasing God rather than understand his grace is an age-old problem. In Galatians, Paul addresses the legalists of his day. After spending time addressing the law, Paul writes in Galatians 3, "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."
The Galatians wrestled with this as we do today. We pray that we understand God's redeeming grace and that the love he gives us does not come from what we do.
Hope Men's Ministry