Some of you may have heard the term legalism or that someone is being legalistic. There are several definitions to what legalism is and here are just a few. “Legalism: Strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious moral code.” “Legalists are people who add personal preference to accepted doctrinal teaching, accept these additions as having equal weight with doctrinal teaching, and apply these additions in the judging of others.” “Legalism is the reduction of life to mere technicalities. It substitutes code for conscience, ritual for worship, rectitude for holiness, morality for purity.” Legalistic mindsets are truly human nature and should be expected with those who are ruled by the mind and are citizens of this earth. However, true Christians are free from the bonds of this type of thinking unless they continue to practice as the world does. The way of this world is to establish norms and based on these norms they live their lives. These norms or traditions dictate the: who, what, when, where, why, and how they live their lives in this world. Yet, we who are born again into Christ no longer are citizens of this world! However, those who default to the many traditions and manmade doctrines that establish legalistic “Christian Religion” practices do not live by faith and the guidance of the Spirit, but instead live just as the world lives. No wonder there are so many divisions that have been created by mankind and all in the name of Christ. This is heresy!
Paul wrote to the believers in Galatia, “I am amazed how quickly you are deserting the One who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is not even a gospel. Evidently some people are troubling you and trying to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be under a curse! As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you embraced, let him be under a curse! Am I now seeking the approval of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. For I certify to you, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not according to man. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:6-12). The true Christian is no longer a citizen of this world, but now a citizen of heaven! “So from now on we regard no one according to the flesh. Although we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:16-17). Why do we continue to try to act as the world acts arguing about foolish worldly manmade traditions followed by the so-called “local church?” Because we choose to live by flesh and sight and not by Spirit and faith. Foolishness! Those who blindly follow these manmade traditions and doctrines should wonder if they ever truly have become a new creation at all.
“By this we can be sure that we have come to know Him: if we keep His commandments. If anyone says, “I know Him,” but does not keep His commandments, he is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone keeps His word, the love of God has been truly perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him: Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked. Beloved, I am not writing you a new commandment, but an old one, which you have had from the beginning. This commandment is the message you have heard. Then again, I am also writing you a new commandment, which is true in Him and also in you. For the darkness is fading and the true light is already shining. If anyone claims to be in the light but hates his brother, he is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no cause of stumbling in him. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness. He does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:3-11).
The scriptures clearly tell us, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not from the Father but from the world. The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God remains forever. (1 John 2:15-17). This is how the new creation, the citizen of heaven, must live! And why do we trust man to teach us through deceitful traditions and doctrines? These teachings will only cause division and pull us away from the very commandments Jesus told us to follow. “You, however, have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I have not written to you because you lack knowledge of the truth, but because you have it, and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar, if it is not the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well. As for you, let what you have heard from the beginning remain in you. If it does, you will also remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He Himself made to us: eternal life. I have written these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. And as for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But just as His true and genuine anointing teaches you about all things, so remain in Him as you have been taught. And now, little children, remain in Him, so that when He appears, we may be confident and unashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you also know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. (1 John 2:20-29).
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