Legalism - Worse than Adultery
By John Weaver
January 1, 2019
The word “Legalism” is defined as, “Excessive adherence to a law or formula.”
Stressing obedience apart from faith produces legalism. In John 8, we read about how a group of Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus with a plan to trap Him. They told him they caught the woman in the act of committing adultery and that, according to Moses’ commandments, she should be stoned. Then, they asked Jesus what He would say about the topic.
The first thing I would like to point out about Jesus’ response is that he did not condone adultery; He told the woman to not do it anymore. It is important to notice, however, that he focused on what he considered to be the greater sin of the situation: the legalistic, accusing attitude that the Pharisees had. Jesus knew first hand where that sin of accusation came from. He knew Satan, and He knew that he was the one behind the accusations.
Jesus was faced with two sins: one was adultery, and the other was religious figures accusing a brother, or in this case, a sister.
To the one, Jesus clearly said that he didn’t condemn her. To the other, Jesus clearly said that He held them accountable. There is no doubt that Jesus considered the Pharisees’ judgment to be the greater sin; He put them on the spot and revealed their own wicked hearts to them.
Legalism puts all kinds of demands on people. Demands that they themselves don’t keep, yet expect others to toe the line. Legalism will always judge others. And expect more, always more law. Can you imagine how it feels to a kind, loving, merciful Jesus to be so misrepresented to the people. No wonder he was so harsh with the Pharisees. They taught the people law and Jesus was grace.
I along with many of you grew up in a legalistic culture. Hearing and seeing condemnation all the time.. The slightest deviation from the rule, or law brought instant disapproval, yet we heard very little about Jesus who came to.. as we read in Romans ; Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to them that believe.
Christ is our righteousness. He took away our sins, he gives up power to become sons of God, he gives us the power to live above sin, and then he clothed us with his righteousness .
Wow! What a package! Let us lay down our stones. Stones are best used to build bridges. Not to throw at each other. Stones will never take away sin. Only believing in Jesus can accomplish that miracle. When he cried out from the cross, IT IS FINISHED.. it really was finished.
I do not condemn those that condemned me for leaving after being enlightened to Gods mercy and grace. ( always grace to live above, not indulge in sin). I have a burden on my heart that my people everywhere can see, understand, and accept the gift of salvation that Jesus suffered to give to all who believe in him.
As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.
—John Weavercomments powered by Disqus« Back to Articles