Have you ever wondered why that Christian who does not pray, read the Bible or serve as much as you gets all the favour?
When you read the title of this article, do you think that this topic is for others?
If you said yes to either of the questions above, you may be a legalist!
What is Legalism?
Legalism is esteeming the law above grace. It places its confidence in own works, rather than the finished work of Christ. It focuses on practice rather than the person of Jesus. It looks to religious activity rather than in God Himself.
It’s like thinking because you go to church all your life, you will be saved. That is putting your confidence in actions, in outward appearances, not inward heart transformations.
Traits of a Legalist
A legalist constantly compares themselves with others. Legalists will think better of themselves when they pray more or know their Bible more, or serve more. It’s like the Pharisees saying, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.” Luke 18:11-12
A legalist will check to see they are getting their fair share of rewards for the work they have done. They believe the amount of blessings they, and others get from God should be correspondent to the level of obedience. A classic example is the prodigal son’s brother (Luke 15:11-32) who expected to get more from the father because of his greater obedience.
They put on the heavy yoke of man, the yoke of religion unto themselves and others. Consequently, they lack joy.
No wonder Jesus was adamantly against legalism! He called the Pharisees “a brood of vipers” (Matthew 12:34).
Doesn’t sound like you? Think again. Legalism is so well disguised, it’s rampant in church today. Jesus does not want you to be a bond to religious slavery. Take the quiz below.