Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Legalism Defined

Legalism: Any attempt to rely on self-effort to either attain or maintain our justification before God "After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?" Gal.3:3. A Definition of Legalism: 1. Using the Mosaic covenant as though it is the covenant between you and God. 2. Attempting to be justified by one's own works. 3. Attempting to be sanctified by one's own works. 4. Suggesting that our worth or worthlessness, our self-esteem and self-satisfaction or lack thereof, rest on our own works. 5. Any attempt to please God judicially, or any supposition that our sin as believers has resulted in his judicial displeasure. [Any post-salvation attempt to maintain our judicial standing before God through good works, covenant faithfulness, merit etc..] 6. Teaching that we conform ourselves to our judicial standing in Christ (righteous and perfect) by our own works. 7. Attempting to attain godliness by a systematic change of behavior. 8. Obedience that does not spring from a renewed heart (a.) As of an unbeliever who has no renewed heart (b.) As of a believer who has a renewed heart but whose righteous behavior does not spring therefrom. 9. Any supposition that externally righteous acts have any value on their own, even as conduct that prepares the way for either (a.) A renewed heart (preparationism as regards justification), (b.) The softening or further renewing of an already renewed heart (preparationism as regards sanctification. Note Romans 12:2-Transformation occurs through the renewing of the mind), or (c.) Any other work of the Spirit. 10. Suggesting that faith is irrelevant in the accomplishment of some (or all) good works. 11. Trying to be justified by works that are created and inspired by the Holy Spirit. 12. Attempting to gain assurance of salvation solely or primarily on the basis of the sign of outward works. Bill Baldwin

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