Legalism

Icyspark

Active member
Legalism. What is it? Give me your definition and a hypothetical example of something you'd consider legalism. I'm looking to garner a consensus, so please feel free to agree with someone else's definition/example, or provide your own.

Thanks!
 

SDAchristian

Well-known member
Prologue:
AV Mt 22:35-40 Then one of them, [which was] a lawyer, asked [him a question], tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which [is] the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

AV Ro 6:12-13 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God.
Legalism. What is it? Give me your definition and a hypothetical example of something you'd consider legalism. I'm looking to garner a consensus, so please feel free to agree with someone else's definition/example, or provide your own.
"Give me your definition", When doing works/actions, from the authority of GOD and/or from the authority of man, dictates works/actions that supersedes actions from GOD's Love and/or from GOD's Truth and/or from man's love.

"a hypothetical example of something you'd consider legalism":
AV Mk 7:6-7 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with [their] lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.

Source of authority leading to legalism is "teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men" supersedes actions of "they worship me" for Love to GOD, and GOD's Truth in commandments.

Legalism in Prophecy:
Works/actions in Sunday Laws, and the Sunday Law Death decree, as the authority of man, supersedes actions from GOD's "my holy day".

Yours in Christ, Michael
 
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Icyspark

Active member
Prologue:
AV Mt 22:35-40 Then one of them, [which was] a lawyer, asked [him a question], tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which [is] the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

AV Ro 6:12-13 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God.

"Give me your definition", When doing works/actions, from the authority of GOD and/or from the authority of man, dictates works/actions that supersedes actions from GOD's Love and/or from GOD's Truth and/or from man's love.

"a hypothetical example of something you'd consider legalism":
AV Mk 7:6-7 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with [their] lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.

Source of authority leading to legalism is "teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men" supersedes actions of "they worship me" for Love to GOD, and GOD's Truth in commandments.

Legalism in Prophecy:
Works/actions in Sunday Laws, and the Sunday Law Death decree, as the authority of man, supersedes actions from GOD's "my holy day".

Yours in Christ, Michael


Hi SDAchristian,

Thank you!
 

pythons

Active member
Following the letter of the law for the sake of following the letter of the law.

By doing so one could (and often does) violate a more important commandment by observing a lessor one.
 

SDAchristian

Well-known member
Prologue:
AV Mk 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.

How important is GOD's ranking of precedence and/or GOD's point of view in this discussion ???
Following the letter of the law for the sake of following the letter of the law.
By doing so one could (and often does) violate a more important commandment by observing a lessor one.
AV Jn 15:20-16:1 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. 23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But [this cometh to pass], that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. 26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. 1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.

How do you create an order of precedence to determine a "more important"/"greater" to a lower "commandment"/law ???

Yours in Christ, Michael
 

ontheBeam

Member
Legalism = having either the real truth or what one believes is the truth then using it in a forceful way without regarding how it might hurt or harm others or even themselves.

Example:
"One who has been educated for about five years in Battle Creek was asked to lead in prayer before Sister White should speak to the people. But as I beheld him standing upright upon his feet while his lips were about to open in prayer to God, my soul was stirred within me to give him an open rebuke. Calling him by name, I said, “Get down upon your knees.” This is the proper position always...." {Pr 207.1}
 

SDAchristian

Well-known member
Legalism = having either the real truth or what one believes is the truth then using it in a forceful way without regarding how it might hurt or harm others or even themselves.
Example:
"One who has been educated for about five years in Battle Creek was asked to lead in prayer before Sister White should speak to the people. But as I beheld him standing upright upon his feet while his lips were about to open in prayer to God, my soul was stirred within me to give him an open rebuke. Calling him by name, I said, “Get down upon your knees.” This is the proper position always...." {Pr 207.1}
So why is it done for the Pope ???

Is it also legalism ???

Yours in Christ, Michael
 

Icyspark

Active member
Legalism = having either the real truth or what one believes is the truth then using it in a forceful way without regarding how it might hurt or harm others or even themselves.

Example:
"One who has been educated for about five years in Battle Creek was asked to lead in prayer before Sister White should speak to the people. But as I beheld him standing upright upon his feet while his lips were about to open in prayer to God, my soul was stirred within me to give him an open rebuke. Calling him by name, I said, “Get down upon your knees.” This is the proper position always...." {Pr 207.1}

Hi ontheBeam,

Thank you!
 

ontheBeam

Member
So why is it done for the Pope ???

Is it also legalism ???

Yours in Christ, Michael
Hi Mike, it seems like you post without giving much thought to what you are posting. You have to defend the church no matter the circumstance. The point was not that kneeling is legalistic. The point was using kneeling in a legalistic way. It should have been the person's prerogative to pray in any position that one chooses. Does God hear our prayers only when we are kneeling?

Lets do a few what ifs. What if I am in an airplane and it is about to crash, Does God not hear my prayer if the if I am sitting buckled to the seat? What if I am lying in my death bed and I am praying for God to keep my family taken care. Will He reject my prayer because I am not kneeling? What if I am old and cannot get up off the floor, will God reject my prayer if I stand or sit?
 

Kade Rystalmane

Well-known member
Legalism is usually negative in connotation. It is law without love and mercy.

Matthew 18:23-35 - "23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
"

In both cases, the king and the servant, they were legally within their rights to cast the debtor into prison. The king had mercy on the servant, however whereas the servant did not have mercy on his fellow-servant. The servant was being "legalistic", applying the law without love or mercy.

I also agree with those who have posted about the doctrines of men in opposition of God's Word. The Pharisees were legalistic in that they made void the law of Moses with their tradition. E.g. Corban (Mark 7:5-13). Jesus called them on this multiple times.

In Truth and Love.
 

SDAchristian

Well-known member
Prologue:
AV Dn 3:6 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

AV Ps 95:6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

I understand a lot. And I understand what is coming. What about you ???

AV Jsh 24:15-16 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. 16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;

The Mark of the Beast is about who's authority we will "serve" and worship, the Beast's or GOD's, and both is not the answer.
Hi Mike, it seems like you post without giving much thought to what you are posting. You have to defend the church no matter the circumstance. The point was not that kneeling is legalistic. The point was using kneeling in a legalistic way. It should have been the person's prerogative to pray in any position that one chooses. Does God hear our prayers only when we are kneeling?
AV Ro 14:11 For it is written, [As] I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

You had the opportunity to discern the objection.

Kneeling is an act of worship !!! What you say can be an act of worship.

So are you personally, going to bow or kneel before the current Pope ???

"You have to defend the church no matter the circumstance.", Had you said "GOD", this would have been true.
Lets do a few what ifs. What if I am in an airplane and it is about to crash, Does God not hear my prayer if the if I am sitting buckled to the seat? What if I am lying in my death bed and I am praying for God to keep my family taken care. Will He reject my prayer because I am not kneeling? What if I am old and cannot get up off the floor, will God reject my prayer if I stand or sit?
AV Jer 17:9-10 The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the LORD search the heart, [I} try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, [and] according to the fruit of his doings.

Who is being legalistic now ??? True legalism is a "heart" condition.

Yours in Christ, Michael
 

Icyspark

Active member
Legalism is usually negative in connotation. It is law without love and mercy.

Matthew 18:23-35 - "23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
"

In both cases, the king and the servant, they were legally within their rights to cast the debtor into prison. The king had mercy on the servant, however whereas the servant did not have mercy on his fellow-servant. The servant was being "legalistic", applying the law without love or mercy.

I also agree with those who have posted about the doctrines of men in opposition of God's Word. The Pharisees were legalistic in that they made void the law of Moses with their tradition. E.g. Corban (Mark 7:5-13). Jesus called them on this multiple times.

In Truth and Love.

Hi Kade Rystalmane,

Thank you!
 

Wrenage

Member
The term legalism gets bandied about in a couple of different ways.

The first is a synonym for trying to earn salvation by works. For example, if you don't have a plastic Jesus on the dashboard of your car, you can't be saved.

The second way it gets used is by trying to motivate a Christian to do good works via the law rather than the gospel. For example, you shouldn't have sex outside marriage because of the sixth (or seventh, depending on your numbering system) commandment instead of saying something like, after all Jesus has done for you, how can you, out of the grateful spirit within you, not want to do what is pleasing to God in regards to sex?

(Note: this is not to say the law has no application in such things. The law is used to bring people to repentence when sinning. Like if a couple is having sex outside marriage, then the law is brought into play to show them their sin. Otherwise, the gospel should be the motivation for such things.)

The third way is a judgmental attitude. It generally takes the form of labeling something that is neither forbidden or commanded by scripture as sin. For example, saying drinking is sin is legalism. Drunkenness is sin. Having a drink is not a sin. Saying all dancing is sin is legalism. Saying reading Harry Potter is sin is legalism. All those things could be done in a sinful way...or they could be done in a spiritually neutral way. They are matters of Christian liberty.

At the end of the day legalism blurs the line between law and gospel and focuses on the law as the motivation of a Christian's life instead of the gospel. It makes a Christian look to Moses rather than Christ as the reason to get up in the morning.
 

Icyspark

Active member
The term legalism gets bandied about in a couple of different ways.

The first is a synonym for trying to earn salvation by works. For example, if you don't have a plastic Jesus on the dashboard of your car, you can't be saved.

The second way it gets used is by trying to motivate a Christian to do good works via the law rather than the gospel. For example, you shouldn't have sex outside marriage because of the sixth (or seventh, depending on your numbering system) commandment instead of saying something like, after all Jesus has done for you, how can you, out of the grateful spirit within you, not want to do what is pleasing to God in regards to sex?

(Note: this is not to say the law has no application in such things. The law is used to bring people to repentence when sinning. Like if a couple is having sex outside marriage, then the law is brought into play to show them their sin. Otherwise, the gospel should be the motivation for such things.)

The third way is a judgmental attitude. It generally takes the form of labeling something that is neither forbidden or commanded by scripture as sin. For example, saying drinking is sin is legalism. Drunkenness is sin. Having a drink is not a sin. Saying all dancing is sin is legalism. Saying reading Harry Potter is sin is legalism. All those things could be done in a sinful way...or they could be done in a spiritually neutral way. They are matters of Christian liberty.

At the end of the day legalism blurs the line between law and gospel and focuses on the law as the motivation of a Christian's life instead of the gospel. It makes a Christian look to Moses rather than Christ as the reason to get up in the morning.

Hi Wrenage,

Thank you!
 

SDAchristian

Well-known member
The term legalism gets bandied about in a couple of different ways.
...
The third way is a judgmental attitude. It generally takes the form of labeling something that is neither forbidden or commanded by scripture as sin. For example, saying drinking is sin is legalism. Drunkenness is sin. Having a drink is not a sin. Saying all dancing is sin is legalism. Saying reading Harry Potter is sin is legalism. All those things could be done in a sinful way...or they could be done in a spiritually neutral way. They are matters of Christian liberty.
Given SDA history with the Mark of the Beast as a Sunday Law, in your opinion, would this qualify as legalism with breaking a Sunday Law ???

In your opinion, Is breaking sabbath a scripture sin, needing atonement by Jesus' blood ???

Yours in Christ, Michael
 

Wrenage

Member
Given SDA history with the Mark of the Beast as a Sunday Law, in your opinion, would this qualify as legalism with breaking a Sunday Law ???

In your opinion, Is breaking sabbath a scripture sin, needing atonement by Jesus' blood ???

Yours in Christ, Michael

If a Sunday Law was enacted, yes, I reckon that would be compatible with my third definition of legalism — taking something that is neither forbidden or commanded by scripture and making it a law. There is no command to go to church on Sunday. Christians are free to go to church on whatever day they want. Personally, I wish all church services were held Wednesday evening, but my church doesn't have the manpower to offer a weekly Wednesday service, so I'm out of luck.

No Jewish sabbath-breaking for the New Testament Christian exists, just like no atonement is needed for not circumcising a boy on the eighth day. Those things have passed. But I'm sure you've heard all of that a million times before.

Nevertheless, God tells us not to forsake assembling together in Hebrews 10, so habitiual church skipping would require atonement, whether church is skipped on Sunday, Saturday or Wednesday evening. A believer would generally want to go to church to have their faith strengthened through the word and worship...unless there are extenuating circumstances while they can't attend. Maybe they have health problems. Maybe they live in a place where they have no good to church to go to. Maybe they have a doctrinal disagreement and chose not to attend for conscience sake, etc.
 

SDAchristian

Well-known member
Prologue:
AV Ro 3:3-4 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? 4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
AV Ja 4:11-12 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of [his] brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
No Jewish sabbath-breaking for the New Testament Christian exists, just like no atonement is needed for not circumcising a boy on the eighth day. Those things have passed. But I'm sure you've heard all of that a million times before.
AV Isa 58:13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words:

It's your testimony against GOD's.

Ask me, how I know who is lying then ???

Yours in Christ, Michael
 

Wrenage

Member
Prologue:
AV Ro 3:3-4 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? 4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
AV Ja 4:11-12 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of [his] brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

AV Isa 58:13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words:

It's your testimony against GOD's.

Ask me, how I know who is lying then ???

Yours in Christ, Michael

You simply can't let a sabbath comment pass, can you? :)
 

SDAchristian

Well-known member
You simply can't let a sabbath comment pass, can you? :)
AV Lk 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

Jesus did not pass it up either.

Yours in Christ, Michael
 
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