A Christian who tries to live a life dedicated to Biblical scripture is accused of legalism in almost every situation. This propensity is a current trend – a trend dedicated to secularizing churches and Christians. I am not unique in this belief, but I am one of the few who believe this modern truth. David McClister once wrote, “…the term “legalist” has been applied simply because someone was emphasizing that we ought to be doing what God says we should do, to the chagrin of someone else.” In other words, if you say we should obey scripture in all situations and another person disagrees, they may consider you a legalist. So, legalism seems to be a matter of perspective. Let’s explore this a little further.
Live A Life Dedicated to Biblical Scripture
Living a life dedicated to obeying Biblical scripture is, in my opinion, an act of worship. If, like me, you believe the Bible is true and accurate in its entirety, obeying it would be logical. Since the Bible has been proven to be correct in all its claims, promises, and prophecies, you can logically conclude that God wants us to live in obedience to His Word. So, obeying God’s Word is a form of worship and a logical act for every Christian. Please don’t misunderstand me. We are saved by grace alone, in Christ alone, by faith alone. But after that, we must be about our Father’s work. In other words, we need to do what God told us to do because even a suggestion by God is a Holy Commandment.
Accusation of Legalism
There are numerous reasons that a person charges another person with legalism. But each reason implies either pride or disobedience. Here’s a shortlist for your edification.
· You are obeying God, and the other person is not, so they call you a legalist.
· You quote scripture that a person doesn’t want to believe because of unrepented sin in their life, so they call you a legalist.
· You volunteer for church projects, and the other person feels no need to assist, so they call you a legalist.
· You are against all abortions, and the other person believes that some abortions are okay, so they call you a legalist.
· You claim to serve Jesus alone as your sovereign Lord but the other person believes you should serve the government first and then the Lord, so they call you a legalist.
· You boldly proclaim the Bible to be the complete counsel of God, but the other person claims that there are new revelations from God, so they call you a legalist.
· You claim that salvation through Jesus is the only way to heaven, but the person you’re talking to believes that there are many paths to heaven, so they call you a legalist.
· You believe that all the events happening in the world today are predicted by scripture, but others think that Christians will build a utopia here on earth before Christ returns, so they call you a legalist.
· You claim that the Bible is the absolute truth, but others believe that truth is in the eye of the beholder, and what’s true for you may not be true for another, so they call you a legalist.
This list could go on and on, so I’ll stop here. Suffice it to say that these reasons people call others legalists are all filled with pride and disobedience. People want to rule their own lives and not submit to the leadership of God. Additionally, people want to fit into the latest worldview versus a Biblical worldview. So, they accuse you of legalism because you strive to obey God in every situation as described in Biblical scripture. Therefore, it’s all about opinion, not the Word of Truth. It’s about personal needs, not God’s desires for us. That’s pride and disobedience.
Live A Life Dedicated to Biblical Scripture – Accused of Legalism Concluding Thoughts
I, myself, will continue to try to obey scripture at all times. I will occasionally fail, but I’ll get back up, dust myself off, and try again. I will not fall into the trap of my needs and desires versus God’s absolute truth and my obedience to that truth. So, if you want to call me a legalist, that’s fine with me. It’s not true because I’m just obeying God as revealed in His Holy Bible, but if you want to accuse me of legalism – so be it!
“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Corinthians 10:5
Remember what is written in John 1 concerning Christ Jesus, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:1-3 So, we should be in complete obedience to the Holy Bible, which is the written Word, and to Christ as the embodiment of the Word.