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  • Writer's pictureScott Hutchison

Three Steps to Heal from Legalism

Recently, I had the opportunity to preach on the dangers of legalism. It is incredibly easy reading the New Testament, seeing the opponents of our Lord and Savior, and making them villains without ever asking,

“Why is Jesus their enemy? How did they get to this point?”

There is a strong warning against legalism throughout the Gospels. The harshest words of Jesus were reserved for the legalists of his day. We would be wise to pay attention to the dangers of legalism and what follows.

As a bible teaching church, The Oasis Church is ready to give you tools to grow in your faith. Here are three ways you can fight the pull towards legalism. Legalism does not happen overnight, it is a slow drift.

We need to heal! We need to heal from our legalism.

1. Make it a habit to confess your sins to another person often.

James 5:16 says,

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”

In 1 John chapter 1, John commands us to confess our sins and when we do Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It is through regular and persistent confession that we recognize our need for him. Legalism is relying on ourselves to do what only God can do.

2. Recognize and remember, people are made in the image of God and desperately need to know His glory.

Paul says something so fascinating in Ephesians 2… He reminds the church of Ephesus that we were all dead, we were all children of wrath, just like the rest of mankind.

Part of knowing what God has done in my life is seeing and remembering that I was dead, but God made me alive. So how was I made alive? I was made alive by the grace of God, not by anything I did or did not do, so that I have no room for boasting (Ephesians 2:9; 1 Corinthians 1:29).

We as people of God recognize that Satan has blinded the eyes of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4), and therefore the only thing that will open them is the Spirit of God illuminating our hearts and minds (Ephesians 1:18).

Therefore, we are called to preach the Word of God, for only through the Word will people call on the name of Christ and be saved (Romans 10:13).

3. Enjoy God and rejoice in Him.

Paul commands us in Philippians 4:4,

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice.”

Therefore, when we find ourselves being the mopey Eeyores of the world, upset with everyone and everything, this is a reminder that we have neglected our time of rejoicing. The Christians greatest desire is to find great joy in God.

When we find it easier to point out others peoples sins and difficult to see where we are sinning, we have neglected the holiness, the grandeur of who God is. So when we find ourselves saying,

“There is not hope, it is all over, the world has ended.”

We are reminded that Paul did not rely on his circumstances for his joy, but he found his joy in God. So we need to constantly and consistently look to the unchanging, unmovable, unshakeable God and say, “wherever he is, there I will be, and I will be satisfied in Him.”

Let us destroy our legalistic hearts through worship. Let us be a people who are more concerned with the His praise. Ultimately, we are called to praise God in all things, and without praise, it is impossible to please God.

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