My Pastor is currently teaching a series on dysfunctional families and how to put the FUN back in! Yesterday's message highlighted legalism and I wanted to share his thoughts as well as mine.
His definition of legalism is "If you do this, then the outcome will ALWAYS be the same. If the outcome isn't the same, you must have done something wrong. The proposition can't fail, so you must have."
I define legalism as man made rules too. That's basically what it is.
Legalism has to do with fear of punishment. But the Bible says that perfect love casts out fear. So why are we causing people to fear?
Legalism works to a degree because it's controlling & manipulative. However, there is no room for grace from God.
People are bad about taking Scripture and twisting it for their own benefit.
An example of legalism is this: The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6 "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it."
Truth: If you raise your children in church, teach them God's ways, let them know how much God loves them, etc and they choose a different lifestyle, that's THEIR choice. It's not your fault as a parent that they turn from God.
Legalism says you did something wrong if your child turns from God.
That's not cool.
Take a minute to examine your thoughts and patterns, and even your church's thoughts and patterns. Are you living out of legalism or love?