What is Legalism?
Legalism takes many different forms and because of this it could be hard to define and identify. Legalism is the belief that someone could be saved by keeping a set of guidelines, rules or laws. It is also the belief that one could be justified and reconciled to God through their own actions, deeds, or conduct. While this is impossible, legalism in some form has been subtlety inserted throughout the church world.
While everyone who is a Christian ultimately believes that salvation comes through Christ and his sacrifice on the cross, legalism is a subtle suggestion that implies that your good deeds makes you even more righteous. Somehow good works are a special thing that will grant you even more favor with God.
In some cases legalism can start out as a set of guidelines with a specific goal in mind. It could be that a religious group wants to limit the effects of sin and turn to holiness so they adopt a set of standards. they follow these new holiness standards in order to obtain this goal. These standards could be a dress code or a code of conduct. They could be a set of what they consider worldly restrictions.
Shortly after these guidelines are established these rules somehow become law. Then people begin to persecute those who do not follow the rules because the feeling is this, if I got to do this then you do too! Eventually these rules that were once guidelines are now tied to your salvation. Suddenly these rules begin to be an important part of reconciliation. When you become saved then you follow the dress code and the code of conduct. This is the outward appearance of salvation as some would claim.
Even secular people who are not Christians struggle with this. I have often heard people say that God won’t send me to hell because I am a good person and I do good deeds. Surely God is pleased with me! My good works is what earns my salvation and I have the right to be saved because of them. This is yet another form of legalism and the bible is clear regarding this.
“Isiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away”. NIV
Joh 10:1 ” Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” KJV
Salvation is only through Jesus and there is no other way we can be saved. The book of Acts chapter four declares, there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby they must be saved!
Legalism can take many different forms. One form of legalism may be found in the example of people who want to attain salvation through the Law of Moses. They try to keep certain aspects of the law. They mistakenly believe that the law is the thing that makes them righteous but in reality it is the thing that makes them even more guilty!
In the end legalism only serves to bring bondage and you find yourself in some of the same situations that Christ originally delivered you from. Legalism is contrary to the gospel and the word of God itself. It works against those things by taking your faith into captivity. Legalism is found in every Christian cult. Subtle forms can also be found throughout the entire body of Christ. It is like a plague and a disease. It makes your heart sick!
In this section we are going to cover different forms of legalism and we will talk about warning signs that will help you identify it. Legalism acts as a red flag that identifies cults too. We will tell you about other red flags that will help you identify cults.
The Bondage of Legalism strikes at the heart of legalism and explains the dangers of it. It defines legalism even further and shows you how to be set free from it. I use my personal story and explain my personal struggles with legalism. My personal Story is one of the best examples of the harmful effects legalism can bring.
Legalism Verse Compromise tells why some christian denominations institute legalism and practice it. You will soon learn that legalism attempts to prevent temptation and compromise, but no real heart change is ever achieved and the holy spirit is not allowed to make the required changes in your heart because of legalism.
The Tithe part I deals with legalism on a monetary level. It shows you the charlatans that claim you are robbing from God because you don’t give them money. It shows how all the tithing scriptures were taken out of context. It shows what the tithe was really meant to do in the old testament.
The Tithe part II picks up where part I leaves off. It shows you how the tithe was a part of the government structure of Israel during the old testament. You learn that the tithe was based on food and the harvest. It was never based on money. Israel had money available to them but they never ever tithed off of money! You also learn about the system that was set in place by the church. In some places they had all things common but some people still owned houses. Peter stayed at Simon the tanner’s house and there are others outside of Jerusalem that still owned houses as well.
The Tithe Part III reveals the problems with teaching people they are robbing God when they are not. It covers the condemnation set in place and all the other problems that come with the teaching of the tithe. I reveal my personal story from my tithing experience. I struggled with my faith and almost became an unbeliever because of this teaching. Part III also covers where the modern-day concept of tithing comes from and it talks about the prosperity gospel.
Legalism and Cults talks about the many ways legalism is tied to cults. It also reveals a series of Red Flags that can be used to identify cults. This section is still being written and developed.