BS-27 ‘Legalism’

BS- 27 ‘Legalism’


What is Legalism? Webster defines it as the principle of strict adherence; salvation by good works or precise religious regulations of conduct; not by Grace. It comes from a person who is Legalistic in their views.

On the other hand there are extremes the other way. Maybe being tolerant of those who allow wrongs to rule the silent majority on Godly issues. Some people like using terms, such as the Liberal views; wanting tolerance for sinful issues.

Just so it is clear; this is a study. I am not throwing my hat into either side of the fence although I do have my opinion(s). One day all will be made clear by God.

As an example; when I was age 10 or so my family attended a Nazarene church for a few years. I remember that the women wore no jewelry or lip stick. They were not allowed to wear slacks; always dresses. Not that this was bad but it was a denomination, much more strict than the Methodist church guidelines, where some of my friends attended. A QUESTION? Were they more righteous than a non-conservative Methodist or was it a Legalistic gesture by their Church Mission?

In today’s world there may be more technology and the finer things in life for the majority of Americans but at what price? QUESTION. Do people seem to be closer to the heavenly requirements or are most caught up in the secular things of the world?

When I looked at Exodus 20 and read the 10 Commandments it made me think for a few moments about my life. 1– Put God 1st, 2– No Idols, 3– Don’t Swear, 4– Keep the Sabbath, 5– Obey Parents, 6– Don’t Murder, 7– No Adultery, 8– Don’t be a Thief,      9– Don’t bear False Witness, and 10– Don’t Covet.

Thinking about this list made me wonder about how some denominations & many other church people give their opinions on the SABBATH guidelines; Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man (Is that complete rest or golfing if that is your choice). So, what is an IDOL in the lives of many Americans? (Maybe a new car or big house) might be the response from some. It made me think on how much I had to work on a couple of them personally. I pondered a moment and thought; there is no way….!!! Then I thought about the ‘Sons of Israel’ as Moses presented these requirements; wasn’t it specifically to Israel as they were leaving Egypt and on their way to the Promised Land? Then, add the Ordinances and Sundry Laws listed there in Exodus 21-22-23. Also, they, the ‘Sons of Israel’ were told to observe 3 Feast throughout the year; do we the Gentiles of America observe them? QUESTION? Should we give more time or follow the Old Covenant guidelines? (THERE IS MORE THAN ONE VIEW, I’M SURE)

Passover was also a time when the ‘Sons of Israel’ gathered and in Leviticus 16, the Law of Atonement is described; a scape goat and the sacrificial goat that was presented to the Lord. Every year at Passover a new goat was slain for their sins. So, to make a long story short; the people failed to follow the LAW, so sin was resolved by the shedding of the lamb’s blood. A QUESTION? How are the sins of Americans resolved? Here is one to look at; when you read Leviticus 19:26 are you fulfilling the LAW when you eat a very rare steak? Next, check out Lev. 19:28 and ask yourself; will people with tattoos inherit the kingdom of God? In verse 19:32, do you honor the aged or are they just someone to put up with? One more to think over; look over in Leviticus 20:10 the word Adultery is mentioned; scripture reads that adulterers should be put to death; how many dead church members or congressmen wouldn’t show up for work on Monday? Is this a Legalist issue to some people? For sure it is sin but God knows how to take care of the sin issue. [Future Judgement. Right?]

So, what is the context for the TORAH? The very last verse in the book of Leviticus tells, we the readers, who those words were written to; it is not the Gentiles of the world. If scripture says what it means; and means what it says; then the words were for the Hebrew people, the ‘Sons of Israel’, who were going back into the land of Israel to become a nation again. The Torah was not written to the Greeks, Romans, or other Gentiles. QUESTION? Is it a good outline for all humanity? Yes it is but those who are Gentiles received something else; God’s Amazing Grace. The four Gospels and letters specifically from the Disciples and Apostles of the first generation NT church. All scripture is inspired from God but you have to read it in context; not cut and paste it like many computer programmers do.

Here is something not popular but when the clergy like to teach on the tithe, which was given by Moses to the ‘Sons of Israel’ to support the tribe of Levi; it was not to the Gentiles. These same legalistic clergy or preacher boys forget, I guess, that Numbers 8:23-26 gives age parameters on how long a Priest [spiritual leader] should be active in the ministry. It looks like God gave Moses the ages of 25-49 for the Priest to perform ministerial duties. QUESTION? How old do you think ‘John the Baptist’ dad was when he lost his voice once the angel spoke to him? He wasn’t in his 60’s. [He was less than 50; so not as old as some seem to think.]

If salvation comes through the Lamb of God, who is Christ, then HIS blood was shed for the atonement of everyone’s Sin. It is like a GIFT; before the Gift is yours, you have to accept it. QUESTION? Ask yourself; do the words of the TORAH actually save a person? If mankind could follow the LAW, then Christ would not have had to shed blood for my sin or yours; would He?

There is scripture telling those of us who read it that there were three people mentioned in Ezekiel 14:14. The Bible says that Noah, Daniel, and Job were righteous enough that they could have delivered only themselves. (Scripture below) Two others Elijah 2 Kings 2:9-14 and Enoch Genesis 5:21-24 never died a death that other mortals have had to do. God RAPTURED them, that is, they were ‘caught up’ to the heavens and now dwell there. These are the exceptions that are pointed out in scripture that were justified with God, based on their exceptional Faith. QUESTION? Neither my name nor yours is included on this short list, right?

Here is the deal, if you take the TORAH as a guide for the American who has or will one day put their ‘trust’ in Christ Jesus as their Lord & Savior; then, what is the benefit other than knowing it was the Master GUIDE. Also we know that we do not measure up to Gods Commands; therefore didn’t we need someone to take our sin ravished mind, soul, body, and cleanse it? QUESTION? How much of the LAW is actually needed for the Salvation of sinners here in America? Jesus fulfilled the LAW as written in Matthew 5:17 so is that not one reason to put your ‘trust’ in him?

Remember the story in Acts when the Apostle Paul was on a mission trip. There were some Pharisees stirring up the pot, so to speak. They were being Legalist about circumcision and dividing the crowd. Paul went to Jerusalem to get a ruling from the Leaders. Scripture, Acts 15:19-31, was the result of what the Antioch Christians were asked to focus on; so what do we focus on? The earthly brother of Jesus, James, was the Leader in Jerusalem and made the judgement on what the Gentile Christians guide was to be. 1. These gentile believers did not have to be circumcised. 2. They were not to eat meat that was offered to idols then sold in the butcher shop. 3. Avoid sexual immorality. 4. Avoid eating blood (the biblical teaching that life is in the blood) or eating meat of a strangled animal. 5. The tithe was never given to the Gentiles. The carnal church of Corinth was given the following guide in 2 Corinthians 9:6-12. It is for the followers who attended the church. Be as generous as possible but what you give; give it cheerfully; not grudgingly.

So, if we were to think Legalistic, could we say that these 5, along with the ‘Great Commission’ and the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ are our minimum requirements for today’s Christian? I asked myself that question; so what do you think? This is not a question to the unsaved but to the one who has repented and put their trust in Christ for their atonement. God ask us for ‘love’ not live by legalism.

What is the ‘Great Commission’ that Christ left to the 1st generation Disciples? It is a command!! Matthew 28:16-20 is the text. First of all; he is God the Son and has ALL Authority in heaven and on earth. Verses 19-20 was the command and it is still the command. It says GO…. What was some of the things Jesus taught? Read Matthew, chapters 5, 6, and 7. It is called ‘the Sermon on the Mount’ and covers the majority of what all Christians need to know as we journey through life. Our body as well as the Church body has many PARTS which make it work; so church member, do one thing as a part of the body, but do it the best that you can. Remember that what we do; we do unto the Lord; not for an ATTABOY; if that’s what you want; it’s not unto the Lord.

As I read Matthew 7:26-27 it pretty much summed up the message from the Lord. Each person has a choice to make; where do you lay life’s foundation? Is it on solid foundation or is it in the secular things of the world which represents the sand?

Think about this QUESTION. Should we be concerned with the excellence of Love spoken in the verses of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 or Legalistic thoughts that often hinder the cause of Christ?                                  Selah..


Lev. 19:26. NASB      26 You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying. [A Question – Does a rare steak fall into this category? That’s not my call.]

Lev. 19:28.               28 You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.  [QUESTIONWhat do you think of the people who have a tattoo? Just a question?]

Lev. 20:10.               10 ‘If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.  [Is the American legal system to tolerant on this issue along with abortion?]

Numbers 8:23-2623 Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “This is what applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall enter to perform service in the work of the tent of meeting. 25 But at the age of fifty years they shall retire from service in the work and not work anymore. 26 They may, however, assist their brothers in the tent of meeting, to keep an obligation, but they themselves shall do no work. Thus you shall deal with the Levites concerning their obligations.” [For all the preacher boys who like to preach on the tithe; should they retire at 50 and get a job? What is the context?]

Ezek. 14:14.            14 even though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves,” declares the Lord God.

2 Kings 2:9-14.       When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” 10 He said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” 11 As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven12 Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw Elijah no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. 13 He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and returned and stood by the bank of the Jordan. 14 He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters and said, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha crossed over. [RAPTURED so-to-speak.]

Genesis 5:21-24.    21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. 22 Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him

Matthew 5:17.        17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. [Moral LAW of LOVE supersedes everything. “Love God & Love others.”]

Acts 15:19-31.                     19 Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. 21 For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.” 22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas—Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren, 23 and they sent this letter by them, “The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings. 24 “Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls, 25 it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 “Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: 29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.” 30 So when they were sent away, they went down to Antioch; and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter31 When they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement.

2 Cor. 9:6-12.                      Now this I sayhe who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifullyEach one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giverAnd God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written, “He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.” 10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; 11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. [Legalist – A preacher teaching the tithe is not Grace.]

Matthew 28:16-20.            16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Math. 7:26-27.        26 Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” [Solid=Gods way; Sand=Secular way.]

1 Cor. 13:13.                        13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

A Legalist – Someone who tries to pass off scripture the way they want someone else to render it. They often take the words out of context; you can’t take a few verses and use them to get your point across. Remember, when the original scripture was written there were no Chapters or verses; you read the whole document. [Love is the new covenant – Love God & your neighbor.]

Jesus is God the Son; he is the one who created all things; he is the only begotten Son. Did Jesus just Oooze out of God the Father who is SPIRIT? Another mystery we won’t solve…



Legalism, comes from ‘the do LIST’; do this, do that, established from the Mosaic covenant. Not bad, but mankind could not meet the high standard. Forgiveness was provided to the ‘Sons of Israel’ through the shedding of blood; it was temporary; once a year at PASSOVER time.

Hebrews 8:13. Reads that the OLD Covenant is obsolete; Legalism is obsolete; Shall and Shall-not’s are obsolete; Exodus 21, 22, 23 have been replaced; the NEW covenant of God’s amazing Grace thru Faith in Christ supersedes the OLD covenant; that is, IF you are a New Testament believing Christian. LOVE is the moral LAW in both the OLD and the NEW. Another thing, giving Generously & Cheerfully supersedes the Tithe. 2 Cor. 9:6-7. It is like you get a Return on your Investment, ETERNALLY; if the Christian can think in those terms, although it should not be our attitude.

So, what we do is unto the Lord; from our heart; it is not what others try to influence our minds with. If you are a New Covenant Christian; you have the Holy Spirit dwelling within; that is who you listen to. The Holy Spirit is also the one who authored the words of the New Covenant. Jesus is the crossover point from the Old to the New.