Thoughts on legalism

The past two weeks, I had encounters on and about legalism. Here’re what I observed: (I know about this long before, it’s just going back to me now)

1. With legalism, the BUT always comes after the good news. With the gospel, the BUT comes after the bad news. The gospel tells us that we are hopeless BUT Jesus came to save us. Legalism on the other hand says, yes Jesus died for you BUT you need to keep the law to be saved. :D Funny, eh?

2. “Legalists don’t dismiss Christ. They trust in Christ a lot. But they don’t trust in Christ alone.” (Max Lucado, It’s not about me, p. 114) True enough, legalists look real religious. In fact, they are the most religious people I’ve ever known. Unfortunately, that religousity makes them trust not on Jesus alone but sadly, to their own efforts of obeying the law.

3. Legalism is addicting. And just like an addictive substance, it kills your judgement. I have a friend who’s wife is an inactive Adventist. Take note of the underlined word. Inactive means she’s already working on Sabbath (Saturday) and probably not even going to church on Vespers (Friday). She said she already accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. But in the midst of this, she still feel guilty for not being able to observe the Sabbath. The “hook” is still present. I’ve known of a lot of former Adventists not joining other Christian groups because they would like to worship “only on a Sabbath”. It’s Sabbath, nothing else. Where is Jesus in the picture, you may ask. Oh well, he’s sitting right there in the corner because for most of them, the law, or in this case, the Sabbath is the center of their Christian experience.

Sad, but it’s happening. Ironically, here’s an excellent article from Adventist Review on legalism. Doctrinal differences aside, I recommend this article to everyone who feels legalism is eating them.

  • Allan

    Hi,

    May i know what is your stand with antinomianism?
    Antinomianism is the other part of legalism.
    I had attended New Creation while in Singapore, and
    hear Ptr Prince preach radical grace. It’s a great
    church! But I think there’s alot of church that is
    against their grace message. One is City Harvest which
    is I think the largest church in SG, i had once
    attended that church too and it’s really big,
    congregation of more than 20,000. You can visit
    http://www.chc.org.sg/ and download Pastor Kong Hee’s
    message against antinomianism.

    Thanks.

  • Allan

    Hi,

    May i know what is your stand with antinomianism?
    Antinomianism is the other part of legalism.
    I had attended New Creation while in Singapore, and
    hear Ptr Prince preach radical grace. It’s a great
    church! But I think there’s alot of church that is
    against their grace message. One is City Harvest which
    is I think the largest church in SG, i had once
    attended that church too and it’s really big,
    congregation of more than 20,000. You can visit
    http://www.chc.org.sg/ and download Pastor Kong Hee’s
    message against antinomianism.

    Thanks.

  • http://arnoldgamboa.com Arnold

    Hi Allan,

    You can’t be an antinomian and grace-filled at the same time. It’s just the complete opposites. Meaning, if one trully has understood and accepted grace, how would he be antinomian.

    You see, sometimes if not most of the times, the same people that charge other people with antinomianism are those that do no accept the completeness of grace — may be just a part of it — and just would like to exalt more the works-driven law. I’ve been charged of antinomianism for being “too grace-centered”. :D

    I’ve heard several tapes of Pastor Prince and yes, his preaching of grace is radical. But I can’t see anything wrong with what he teaches.

  • http://arnoldgamboa.com Arnold

    Hi Allan,

    You can’t be an antinomian and grace-filled at the same time. It’s just the complete opposites. Meaning, if one trully has understood and accepted grace, how would he be antinomian.

    You see, sometimes if not most of the times, the same people that charge other people with antinomianism are those that do no accept the completeness of grace — may be just a part of it — and just would like to exalt more the works-driven law. I’ve been charged of antinomianism for being “too grace-centered”. :D

    I’ve heard several tapes of Pastor Prince and yes, his preaching of grace is radical. But I can’t see anything wrong with what he teaches.

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  • http://theagora.blogspot.com hedonese

    Came across quite a balanced review here on Grace and Law

    http://uniquelyfamily.blogspot.com/2008/11/review-of-joseph-princes-destined-to.html

  • http://theagora.blogspot.com hedonese

    Came across quite a balanced review here on Grace and Law

    http://uniquelyfamily.blogspot.com/2008/11/review-of-joseph-princes-destined-to.html