I'm a Former Legalist. And so Are You.


We are all former legalists... Rom 5 says "the whole world is shut up under the law."

I've been seeing something happening lately that I'd like to talk about.

Mainly, I'm noticing that as some people find freedom and life in the grace of God, they become very cynical and mean to the 'legalists' or 'religionists'. I'm noticing such people almost boasting how they cannot stand such people or their teaching. That they cannot even bear to listen to such teaching, that they would rather not go to church at all rather than sit under such teaching.

Isn't that amazing, when religious and legalistic is exactly what we used to be before finding the New Covenant? Why are we not going back into the legalistic cesspool we came out of to rescue those who are still stuck in there?

Though I understand the zeal, I do not understand the lack of compassion. Jesus, though rejected by the legalistic world never stopped presenting Himself to them, and no Pharisee was ever afraid to go into His presence. How are we going to win the legalistic world if we do not spend time with them?

 We should be so secure in our position, that we can sit under any teaching without it "making us sick." We must remember that many of these dear people who are legalists, do in fact name Jesus as their Lord and Savior, making them our brothers and sisters in Christ. They may be misguided. They may be no small source of discomfort for those of us who are free.

We should be so free that we can sit under their teaching and not have it ruin our day. Paul said, "I become all things to all men that I may win some." The grace of God was never intended to make us isolate and insulate ourselves from the world of religious men and women. That is what the Jews did and in doing so they failed to reach the world with the light that they had been given.

We who secure in our true identity and grounded in our freedom should be able to live in the camp of the religious without their dogma and behavior causing us unrest.

Now that, my friend, is true freedom.

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Who's Going to Love the Legalist?

We know this glorious love and grace of God ONLY because we received it from His gracious hand

We know this glorious love and grace of God ONLY because we received it from His gracious hand

I try to not rant, however...

There is a great verse in Corinthians. It asks the question,
"What do you have that you did not receive?"

The answer, of course, is nothing!
Which prompts the next question...
"Then why do you glory as if you did not receive?"

What a very appropriate verse for the grace community... ALL OF US!!!

We know this glorious love and grace of God ONLY because we received it from His gracious hand. Why then, do we act so arrogantly and with such great judgment against others who do not know grace, especially religious people?
I hear things like "Religious people make me sick." "I get nauseous just listening to legalists"...

My friends, were we not one of them before? How many of us called ourselves and others - SINNERS before we understood that we are saints!? How many of us judged others and condemned others when we lived under law ourselves? Now that we have come to know grace, judgment and condemnation should no longer be on our lips - only the life and love that is available from God. After all, we only know what we know because we received it by grace... but allow me to meddle for a moment...

I have another question. Are we not free enough to sit under a legalist or religionist without it effecting us? If sitting under a legalist or a religionist makes us nauseous, maybe we are not as free as we think we are?

Oh, and another question... Who is going to win the religionist and the legalist if we don't have the love to associate with them? The only way to have an impact is if we have contact!

I have been through legalism wars in the church. They are not fun and they can grieve your soul. But we have the Spirit of God in us Who always ministers life to us even when others are ministering death to us. Is that not true?

Funny, but years ago I taught through Galatians, which instructs the church to pursue church discipline and remove legalists who persecute the free. One of my elders informed me after the messages that we were too lenient with the persecuting legalists and should have moved sooner (in a war which took 7 years by the way)...

I laughed and reminded him that if we had done so, he would not be here.  He was one of the legalists who had his eyes opened to grace as we patiently loved him in his bondage FOR MANY YEARS!!!

We have an awesome responsibility because we have received grace, to live out grace with others…. Even those who do not know grace!

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We are NOT against Law!

Let's have a "Greek" lesson today, a very necessary "Greek" lesson!

If you walk in or teach the economy of grace in any way, shape, or form, that we are no longer under law but under grace, you are very likely to be labeled or even attacked as being "antinomian". That is a compound word from the Greek language - "anti" meaning against and "nomos" meaning the law. So these people are saying that we are "against the law."

To be quite "FRANK" with you, that makes me bristle. I am not against the law. I love the law, as every true Christian does. Why? Because as Romans teaches us, through the law we gained the knowledge of sin and began searching for a way of forgiveness. Through the law, as II Cor teaches, we experienced death and condemnation and recognized our need of a Savior. And then, as Galatians teaches us, the law literally "drove us to our Savior." So please, dear one, do not label me with an accusation that is thoroughly NOT my heart! I love the law... so no, I am definitely NOT antinomian.

But then again, I guess I am antinomian. WHAT? Please understand that "anti" not only means against, but it can also mean instead of. Am I against the law? Absolutely not, I love the law. But am I instead of the law? Absolutely - I would much rather have the living Christ in me, empowering me with His own life than an external code that I have to try and emulate!

Most people are using the term antinomian and don't really understand the full meaning of the word. Now, you do... which means you can really mess with them. When they call you antinomian, you can tell them, "Well, yes I am, but then again, I am not!" Then, you can proclaim the glory of the New Covenant to them.... that we are certainly NOT against the law, but we are for sure instead of it! We have something far greater - the Living Christ experienced and expressed through our very lives! Wow!