Tag Archives: legalism

John MacArthur – Breaking the Bondage of Legalism

 

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).

Legalism can’t produce a pure heart.

By the time Jesus arrived, Israel was in a desperate condition spiritually. The Jewish people were in bondage to the oppressive legalism of the Pharisees, who had developed a system of laws that were impossible to keep. Consequently, the people lacked security and were longing for a savior to free them from guilt and frustration. They knew God had promised a redeemer who would forgive their sins and cleanse their hearts (Ezek. 36:25-27), but they weren’t sure when He was coming or how to identify Him when He arrived.

The enormous response to John the Baptist’s ministry illustrates the level of expectancy among the people. Matthew 3:5-6 says, “Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea, and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.” The uppermost question in everyone’s mind seemed to be, “How can I enter the kingdom of heaven?”

Jesus Himself was asked that question by many people in different ways. In Luke 10:25 a lawyer asks, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” In Luke 18:18 a rich young ruler asks exactly the same thing. In John 6:28 a multitude asks, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Nicodemus, a prominent Jewish religious leader, came to Jesus at night with the same question, but before he could ask it, Jesus read his thoughts and said, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

As devoutly religious as those people might have been, they would remain spiritually lost unless they placed their faith in Christ. That’s the only way to enter the kingdom.

Still today many people look for relief from sin and guilt. God can use you to share Christ with some of them. Ask Him for that privilege and be prepared when it comes.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Pray for those enslaved to legalistic religious systems.
  • Be sure there is no sin in your life to hinder God’s work through you.

For Further Study

Read Galatians 3.

  • Why did Paul rebuke the Galatians?
  • What was the purpose of the Old Testament law?

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – More and More Like Him

 

“The Lord is the Spirit who gives them life, and where He is there is freedom (from trying to be saved by keeping the laws of God). But we Christians have no veils over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him” (2 Corinthians 3:17,18).

You and I can be mirrors that reflect the glory of the Lord, since we have no veils over our faces. As the Spirit of the Lord works within us and we mature, we become more and more like Him. What a tremendous truth!

Two tendencies to error occur as we consider the concept of law and grace. One is legalism; the other is license. Legalism is that means of seeking to live according to the law, trying to merit God’s favor by keeping rules and regulations in the energy of the flesh.

The other problem is license. Some Christians become so excited about their freedom in Christ that they go overboard and bring reproach and disgrace to the name of Christ. “Relax,” they say. “Do what comes naturally.” But they forget God’s warning in Romans 14. Anything we do that causes our brother to stumble is sin. Often these same Christians tell us, “Don’t witness for Christ unless you feel like it.”

Quite honestly, I would not witness very often if I waited until I felt like it. Why do I witness? Because our Lord modeled it and He commands His followers to witness, and out of a deep sense of gratitude and thanksgiving to God for what He has done for me. I do not wait until I feel like it; I have already been given the command.

Jesus said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” The apostle Paul said, “Everywhere I go I tell everyone who will listen about Christ.” We are not to wait for some emotional, mystical impression of the Spirit. Liberty is not legalism, nor is it license. It is the privilege of doing the will of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Bible Reading: II Corinthians 3:8-16

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  With all of my heart, I want to be more and more like Jesus Christ. To this end, I will avoid legalism and license and embrace the freedom I have in Him to live a holy life and to be a fruitful witness, and to reach out to the multitudes of unchurched men and women who are hungry to know the reality of the living God.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – More and More Like Him

dr_bright

“The Lord is the Spirit who gives them life, and where He is there is freedom (from trying to be saved by keeping the laws of God). But we Christians have no veils over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him” (2 Corinthians 3:17,18).

You and I can be mirrors that reflect the glory of the Lord, since we have no veils over our faces. As the Spirit of the Lord works within us and we mature, we become more and more like Him. What a tremendous truth!

Two tendencies to error occur as we consider the concept of law and grace. One is legalism; the other is license. Legalism is that means of seeking to live according to the law, trying to merit God’s favor by keeping rules and regulations in the energy of the flesh.

The other problem is license. Some Christians become so excited about their freedom in Christ that they go overboard and bring reproach and disgrace to the name of Christ. “Relax,” they say. “Do what comes naturally.” But they forget God’s warning in Romans 14. Anything we do that causes our brother to stumble is sin. Often these same Christians tell us, “Don’t witness for Christ unless you feel like it.”

Quite honestly, I would not witness very often if I waited until I felt like it. Why do I witness? Because our Lord modeled it and He commands His followers to witness, and out of a deep sense of gratitude and thanksgiving to God for what He has done for me. I do not wait until I feel like it; I have already been given the command.

Jesus said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” The apostle Paul said, “Everywhere I go I tell everyone who will listen about Christ.” We are not to wait for some emotional, mystical impression of the Spirit. Liberty is not legalism, nor is it license. It is the privilege of doing the will of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Bible Reading: II Corinthians 3:8-16

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  With all of my heart, I want to be more and more like Jesus Christ. To this end, I will avoid legalism and license and embrace the freedom I have in Him to live a holy life and to be a fruitful witness, and to reach out to the multitudes of unchurched men and women who are hungry to know the reality of the living God.