Legalism - Futility In Action (1)

  • Legalism as defined in the dictionary is “strict and literal adherence to the law”. So many are locked in the bondage of religion and legalism. Thinking they must perform in order to be good enough, holy enough, righteous enough for God to accept them.

    This teaching comes on the heels of my last post entitled “Is There Enough Grace”? How appropriate God would download this revelation to me to share at this time. Put on your spiritual seat belts and switch your thinking from worldly to heavenly thinking and see things the way God sees them.

    I used to tell the inmates at the prison we would minister in to do a prophetic act. Reach up and grab ahold of that imaginary switch right next to your left ear and turn it 180 degrees. That would shut off your old stinking thinking mind and turn on the renewed mind to receive the truth of what God said. It also gets you out of the religious church mindset and into the supernatural heavenly mindset.

    Romans 8:11 says we have the same Spirit in us that raised Jesus from the dead. If that’s true, then why do we think we need to follow a set of Old Testament laws or a bunch of rules and directives that are man made, or self made, in order to please God or gain more righteousness. Especially in view of the truth that we have the same Spirit which caused Jesus to perfectly please the Father.

    Religion and legalism will tell you that you must perform in order to receive anything from God. Performance based Christianity or Religion puts you in the status of guilt or reward. If you live up to the rules, standards, or the strict traditions established by man, you’ll feel pride and look for your reward. However, if you fail to live up to them, you’ll feel guilty and set yourself ready for punishment.

    When you feel good about doing what you perceive to be great things for God, you will fall into a position of waiting for your reward that God cannot give. You see, God cannot give you things or do things that He has not promised. You cannot hold God to promises He has not made. God can never give to us as a reward that which is already ours through inheritance, as a result of being heirs.

    The law cannot and never will be able to accomplish the change necessary to right the fallen nature of sinful man. Romans 8:3 says “The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins”.

    So we see that the law could not and cannot do what God intended. That is why He sent His own Son. To declare an end to sin’s control over us. Look at verse 4 in this chapter 8. “He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.”

    Do you see this? It’s amazing truth and freedom. Just look at it. The law of Moses was UNABLE to save us because of our weak sinful nature. So God sent His son to end sin’s control over us. He did this to fully satisfy the just requirements of the law for us. He knew our sinful nature would always be hostile to Him. That’s why He had Paul write verses 7 and 8. Here they are.

    Also, we could never keep the law and God knew this. Romans 8:7 says “For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will”. But don’t stop there, look what verse 8 says. “That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.”

    What’s the point here? You can’t keep the law. Jesus satisfied that requirement for us. Follow after the Spirit and accept the victory Jesus won for you. Forget about the old sinful nature and walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.

    Religion and legalism drive you to living life protecting your relationships with the rules or the law. That positions you in an old covenant era. Living under the law requires us to live protecting our relationship with the law. Life in the SPIRIT requires us to learn to live free protecting our relationship with the spirit. Our relationship is not with the law or rules, but with the spirit.

    The law is very good at exposing the nature of fallen man. There’s nothing wrong with the law, it’s just that man can’t keep it and never will. We just saw that in Romans 8:7. Also, even though the law is holy and the commandment holy, just and good (Romans 7:12) it does not have the power to make us holy, just, and good.

    Notice that the law in itself was not weak. It was weak in its results because it needed the cooperation of sinful flesh. The law was very good at exposing our condition, but it could not and never will be able to heal it.

    Galatians 3:21,22 lays out the purpose for the law:

    21 Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it.

    22 But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.

    It’s clear that the law included that all men were under the dominion of sin. It established that none of us was capable of fellowship with God. So God first established that we “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This totally removes man’s right to have any certainty of becoming right with God through performance, rule-keeping, or religion. It destroys man’s proud determination to self righteousness.

    This God does before presenting His great mercy of His ridiculous, radical, inexhaustible grace. Reverting to living by rules and regulations is an insult to grace and the goodness of God. Once again legalism demands strict and literal adherence to the law. The law was just our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24). It was a good Tutor that showed us our need for mercy. Mercy because we were guilty.


    You see the law did not and could not produce sons. What it did do is produce criminals. I’m not saying it changed man, but instead exposed and proved man to be a criminal since we could not keep the law.

    Why would God do that? Why would He establish a set of righteous requirements that reveal His nature, knowing that we would never be able to live up to the perfection those laws demanded? The answer is so that we would be prepared to receive the grace which God would bring in Jesus Christ.

    The law shows us so clearly how destitute, helpless, and diseased we truly were to the point we totally realize the gravity of our situation. We are absolutely at the end of any of our human strength to be righteous in our own selves. That sets the way for the release and acceptance of the wonderful free gift of grace in our lives. We are totally prepared to grasp onto this lifeline of healing from sin called grace.

    Romans 3:20-22 says it this way.

    20 “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” 21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

    Verse 20 confirms what I said in the paragraph just above it. The law cannot make us right with God. Performance based Christianity cannot make us righteous or acceptable to God. Keeping the rules cannot make you right with God. When will the “Christian” community get ahold of this truth.

    Let me drop in a quote right here. It’s something God spoke to me when I was asking Him the question I just asked about the Christian community getting this truth about grace. He said “It’s easier for a sinner to get saved than it is for a saved person to get set free”.

    Wow. I’m finding that statement to be very true. I have always said I would rather speak to a lost person about the grace of God then I would an intellectual religiously indoctrinated person who thinks they must perform to please God. It’s easier to speak with a person who knows nothing about religion in any way shape or form, than it is to speak to someone who has been improperly taught about what the Truth of scripture says. Those Christians who believe it’s through performance and achievement have minds like concrete. Thoroughly mixed up and firmly set. It’s harder to re-teach someone Truth than it is to teach someone Truth initially. People have a hard time giving up their wrong believing in favor of the Truth.

    Here’s another Word God gave me regarding the difficulty people have giving up their wrong opinions about what the Truth really says regarding God’s grace. He said to me – “A deeper truth can stand before someone and do no good. It takes a revelation of that truth to bring it to freedom”.

    This goes right along with a statement by Bill Johnson. “Revelation reveals inheritance. Faith explores the territory”. You see, it’s no longer about sin, it's all about sonship and being an heir with Christ Jesus.

    Part 2 will continue to shed great light on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, and will further destroy the futility in legalism. Grace and Peace.


1 comment
  • Crystal Roeden
    Crystal Roeden I have read and re-read the law and the rewards had to do with long life for ISRAEL and living peacefully in their land so that the land would prosper for them. Salvation was never promised as a fruit of following the law. A yearly sacrifice was used...  more
    July 14, 2020 - Report