Christian Legalism: Mission Impossible (Part 1)

Grant Swart

It is with daily regularity that I encounter certain fellow Christians, although I suppose in some instances they are merely professing Christians, who practice or promote the errors of legalism. I’m sure that we all do, that is, cross paths with people who endorse and encourage some or other form of legalistic practice everyday. The heresy of legalism is rooted in an erroneous teaching or understanding which continually attempts to place the Christian under some or other system of law and thereby attempts to make salvation, or at the very least a few percentage points of our salvation, dependant on man’s own efforts.

Legalism promotes the belief that one can be saved by keeping, or to the best of one’s ability attempting to keep, God’s commandments. Very often adherence to additional rituals and rules are encouraged by the legalistic system in order to retain salvation. Certain aspects of human life are often considered taboo and are presented as being detrimental to the legalist’s success in ‘achieving’ salvation. Legalists believe that they can, through their own efforts at self-righteousness and legal obedience, impress God sufficiently so as to influence His attitude toward them, and therefore reward them with eternal salvation.

Legalism can be described as a false doctrinal position or worldview within certain Christian circles which emphasizes a system of rules, regulations and expectations through which salvation and spiritual growth can be achieved. In other words, it is a system which is in direct opposition to biblical Grace, which explains why the protagonists of and adherents to legalism, always fail to reach a position of assurance in their faith and in their relationships with God. When you speak to the legalist, you always realize how they cling to lingering doubts regarding their salvific position,  as they never can be sure whether they have actually been ‘good’ or ‘obedient’ enough or whether they have performed up to a standard in their lives which God would find acceptably righteous.

Tragically, an additional result of legalism within churches or fellowships, is that very often those who do not strictly conform to the same legalistic prescriptions or traditions as the rest of the group, are simply isolated from that fellowship by the legalistic members. Common examples of this are found among those who hold to the belief that to be regarded as saved, one must by necessity not be a smoker, not make use of alcohol, not partake in dancing, not practice any form of gambling or betting, not read secular books, not watch secular movies or television, not listen to or play secular music and not break any moral laws.

Legalists often cite various forms of modern or secular music as being of particular spiritual danger. It is almost as if they are implying that modern or secular music itself, comprised of a combination of sound waves, by its very nature can transfer demonic attributes and needs to be avoided in an attempt to protect their salvation. The very same legalists usually compare modern forms of music to older styles, which they are convinced are somehow safer and more acceptable to God. In their wild attempts to add to God’s commandments and to the Gospel of grace, these legalists forget that the old music was once also modern and popular and that many of the composers of old music were equally as lost souls as are many of the modern artists. This same argument is made for and against worship music, and why legalistically traditional ancient hymns are somehow spiritually superior, how the message just somehow seems more honourable, but this is all a subject for another post.

I’ve heard the same unfounded warnings and arguments made against the drumming or dancing rituals of pagan cultures; that evil spirits can be delivered straight into the psyche of the legalist simply by their participation as an observer to these “sessions”. If that were possible, it naturally poses the question as to how weak the saving spirit is that these legalists perceive as supposedly having sealed their faith in the first place? How could it possibly be the same Holy Spirit spoken of as sealing the believer in Ephesians 1:13 and Ephesians 4:30, who would so easily be forced out of the believer to make space for the new pagan evil spirit proceeding from a drum beat? I doubt whether it could be that same blessed and omnipotent Holy Spirit. I know the God of the true Christian is all-powerful and will not allow Himself to be tossed out from His own.

The list of perceived restrictions on the believer seems to be endless and what makes it even more ludicrous is that, as cultural and social changes slowly take place and the world undergoes technological advancements and grows in diversity, the list gets added to on a daily basis. The truth is that avoiding all these things is no guarantee of spirituality. Legalism is simply an attempt to hide sin from others behind a curtain of false righteousness and implied holiness.

The apostle Paul gives us clear warning against these forms of legalism:  Colossians 2:20-23 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch’! These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. Legalists might have the appearance of being righteous and even spiritual, but they fail in all their attempts, simply because their legalism is aimed at improving outward (external) performance instead of affecting inward change.

In addition, the words of the apostle John remind us how to deal with legalism before we embark on some self improvement program, some success motivated outcome based plan, or try to combine Christianity with a materialistically successful way of life:  John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ and also in Romans 14:10 You, then, why do you judge your brother?, Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat 

While all Christians should will for their faith to increase, those who have given their lives to Christ realize that the success does not come through our own human efforts. We always fail. Faith is from God, a gift freely given, not earned or deserved. From 1 Corinthians 4:7 we understand the following: “For who sees anything different in you? (What makes you better than anyone else?) What do you have that you did not receive (from God)? If then you received it (everything you have), why do you boast as if you did not receive it (and rather earned it yourself)? ”

Christians are instructed to learn from God’s Word, to learn about His justice, His love, His will and His plan (Titus 1:13-14). We should wait upon the Lord to reveal Himself to us and bring change in us according to His will. Matthew 7:7-8 assures us that those who seek God will find Him. Is there more that we can do for ourselves through legalism and adherence to man’s commands, that Almighty God cannot do for us? As God changes us, we will do what is pleasing to Him by way of the Holy Spirit who guides us. Colossians 2:6-8  Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Emphasis my own.)

God will use trials to test our faith 1 Peter 1:6-7  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Therefore, God Himself will test us through trials and temptations: how can we expect legalism of any kind to stand against God?Mission impossible. Christians hold to the hope of success over sin by His grace, through the blood of His Son, for there is absolutely nothing we can do ourselves to impress God. Contrary to the message preached by legalists and churches of a more Arminian persuasion, and contrary to the works-based gospel of the Roman Catholic church, we cannot manipulate God’s will by our good deeds (legalism).

I received a request from a dear fellow believer to write a post regarding the balance of not being legalistic but still honouring God. I think the question is not so much a matter of balancing legalism while still honouring God or of how much legalism we can retain. Rather, the question should be as to how much legalism we need to get rid of in order to honour God. The answer to that question is “All of it! Every single shred!”. By us retaining any legalism whatsoever, we dishonour God.

God hates all forms of self-imposed legalism, even our best efforts at doing good:  Isaiah 64:6  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Romans 3:20 tells us: Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 

It is clear that no legalistic practice can honour Him or bring Him glory. The law brought death and bondage to sin and therefore it was the one thing which Jesus condemned in the strongest possible language when He addressed the Pharisees. Their self-righteous legalistic messages and reliance on the law, their sacrifices and traditions which they assumed would impress God and sufficiently pay for sinful practices, is what moved Jesus to refer to legalists as a brood (generation) of vipers (Matthew 23:28-33).

In Christian Legalism: Mission Impossible (Part2) I will post an article by Don Koenig on the same subject. It is certainly worth a read. From his article I borrow these words: “Unless you are in leadership in a legalistic church and have great influence to change things, find a new church that understands about the Law of Faith and gives Christians the freedom in Christ that Jesus gives. Leave the legalistic Christian pastors alone to teach legalistic Christians who love their exclusive club of bondage. The scriptures are clear man is saved by believing that Jesus is God’s Savior plus nothing.”

Here follow a few quick statements about legalism:

# Legalism attempts to base salvation on the performance of good works or on the strict observance of rules and regulations

# Legalism imposes rules on self and others that are not based on clear biblical teachings

# Legalism or asceticism is that which leads the believer away from absolute reliance upon Christ toward a self-confidence based on his ability to do or to abstain from certain things not specifically commended or prohibited in Scripture

# The legalist believes his works earn or keep his salvation, while the child of God understands that he is living the way he does because they are saved

# Legalism is both a highly contagious and deadly disease which can go undetected and show no fatal symptoms for a long period of time

# If someone realized they were bound by legalism they would surely put an end to it.

# It is easier for a sinner to realize that he is a sinner, than for a legalist to realize that he is a legalist.

# The difference between the legalist and someone who possesses true righteousness is the motive of the heart.

# The apostle Paul warned about an ascetic legalism that was attacking the first-century church in Colossians 2:18-23.

Colossians 2:

18  Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,

19  and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

20  If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations–

21  “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”

22  (referring to things that all perish as they are used)–according to human precepts and teachings?

23  These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. 


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25 thoughts on “Christian Legalism: Mission Impossible (Part 1)

  1. It is like anything…it can go to extremes. However, I have to say that I don’t completely agree with some of the statements. I have taught my children to be careful what they watch in movies, tv and listen too…not because I want to control them, or afraid of demons or to be legalistic, but because it is of the world and often teaches in complete opposition to the word of God…which leads to sin…which brings separation from God. But, I also teach them that it is God and God alone who saves them….no rituals, no works, no self-righteousness of their own will make the way. I hope you don’t mind my comments. Blessings Sis! ♥


  2. Cindy Doucette

    I certainly don’t mind your comments, I welcome them most warmly. Thank you.

    Yes, we can take anything to extremes. But different consequences follow taking different things to extremes. We can take drinking orange juice to extremes and end up with severe acidity or gout. We can take running to extremes and end up with an addiction to endorphins, which is a far more potent addiction than addiction to ordinary morphine.

    Now, in two examples above, both can be done in relative moderation and be harmless, in actual fact they can be good for us. Legalism, on the other hand, cannot be practiced in small doses and still be harmless. As I mentioned in the article, the least bit is deadly for reasons as given by Jesus and the apostles who spoke on this matter.

    Because we are moral and intelligent beings, we have a duty to teach our children to be careful of a million things, like crossing the road and hot stove plates, blasphemous words and telling lies. But we should at the same time explain to them that by avoiding these things (as you have done), they will not become closer to God or salvation.

    When we warn the children to be careful of what they watch in movies and what music they listen to, we should also be careful and discerning enough to tell them at the same time that ALL movies, ALL television and ALL music is of the world, not only those pieces or programs which seem to be harsh or which are immoral or anti-social. It would make no difference to their salvific position before God whether they listen to ‘Christian’ music or The Rolling Stones, or whether they watch The Passion of the Christ or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. What God puts into their ‘hearts’ is what matters and what they do consequent to the conviction of the Holy Spirit is pleases God.

    We cannot be a little saved, we are either saved or we are lost. We cannot avoid listening to, or tell others not to listen to, what we think is spiritually unacceptable music, for example. Listening to any music in this life is a worldly thing and we cannot hide from that reality. That is simply legalism no matter how you approach the point, and legalism is biblically unacceptable.

    Jesus prayed:
    “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one . They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” (John 17:14)

    Jesus Himself has made it clear how we are to look at this life and interact with it. We are to stay “in” the world. We have a holy mission and calling direct from the Lord Himself on what it is He wants us to accomplish and get done for Him before we depart to be with Him for all of eternity. We have to keep all of our priorities straight, and our number one priority should be to want to serve God and accomplish His perfect will for our lives. Christians have to play everything by the Book – and that Book is the Bible!

    Legalism among us believers is always a sensitive issue, because of our very varied interpretations of what constitutes legalism and what does not. It should not be a divisive matter for us, but rather one which can be used to edify and guide in gentleness.


  3. This has to be the most shockingly biblical unsound article ever. To say that anyone who views sin in a serious light as being legalistic is shocking.

    Grant, what theological training do you have?

    And please do not pull the legalistic rope with me.


    • Yours must be the most shockingly confused comment ever. To say that anyone who views sin in serious light does not also regard legalism as a gross error is shocking.

      Frank, what military training do you have?

      You seem quite capable of pulling the legalistic rope yourself. Biblical truth will loosen that noose around your neck.

      I’m quite sure you’re going to hate Part 2 of this article even more. Blessings and grace to you too.


  4. Great article.

    Legalism (i.e., working to attain or maintain God’s favor) should be carefully distinguished from something that I will call “hedges” for lack of a better term. For example, I may have been marvelously saved out of a life of profligacy and alcoholism (I was) and may now possess a painful understanding of just how fragile my own resolve against these sins can be–especially when I am in a weakened condition (i.e., tired, stressed…etc.). Consequently, I may erect personal hedges (e.g., totally avoiding strong drink, and/or pub-like eateries) to help protect me from my own weaknesses. While avoiding these things will not bring me closer to God or salvation, it is still wise to avoid them. For me. I have no biblical grounds to condemn others who may not follow suit.

    Christ’s call for us to live “in the world” while not being “of the world” is something that should keep us so humble, prayerful, and watchful because God’s Word condemns both legalism and lawlessness. May He grant us the grace and wisdom needed to avoid wasting our lives (and ministry) in endless pendulum swings between the two.


  5. Edited by Admin (comment deleted) (Frank, we did allow your previous comment , however you insist on being abusive and your comments are not edifying. We do suggest you read our about page before commenting here.)


    • Frank

      Some points to ponder on for you, that you have obviously not read.

      A little info about the comments and articles on this blog:

      1) Should you decide to leave a comment please be kind and loving towards others. If you disagree with the content of an article, feel free to mention your differences from a Biblical perspective, rather than voicing differences based on own opinion or the opinion of questionable preachers.

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      3) We will delete rude and inconsiderate and glaringly obvious anti-Scriptural comments.

      Please read more here :ABOUT PAGE

      We have noticed you are using different false pseudo names and in the future your IP will be blocked, should you not adhere to our comments rules.

      It is very sad to see your spirit of strive and contention and pride. We will be praying for you.


    • Frank

      We have a pretty good idea were you will be doing this your post of yours, it seems are they prepared to put up with your spirit of strive and contention. It is very odd that you are are using various false pseudo names to do various post on different blogs and this one. Is that not the epitomy of dishonesty ?


  6. Dear Mr. Swart,

    While there is much that is true in what you write, permit me to say that I believe it is truth out of balance and mingled with error, or at least the implication of error. There is much I could say, but I will try to focus on the central point.

    Your article would seem to say that there is no necessity for the Christian to act and look differently from the unbelievers around him, or that the Law of God has no place in the life of the believer. But Scripture tells us that we are known by our fruits (Philippians 1:9-11), just as the world is known by its fruits (Matthew 7:16-23). Note well that Jesus says this in relation to those “who practice lawlessness” (verse 23) — the opposite of what is to be true of the Christian. First John 5:3 tells us that the love of God is to keep His commandments, and that this is not a burdensome thing for the true believer in Christ,

    We must also note Romans 12:1-2 — “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

    Paul exhorts us to “not be conformed to this world.” The word “conformed” here is the Greek word schema, which means “an outward appearance that does not reflect inward reality.” The form of the word that’s used here also indicates a relationship with something that is transitory, changeable, or unstable. In other words, we are not to take on a worldly outward appearance that does not agree with the inward spiritual nature that is ours by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. This world is passing away. Our focus should not be on that which will not last. We should not think, talk, and act like the unsaved world. If we are truly believers, acting like the world is a masquerade, a deception — a lie. Our thinking, talking, and actions should reflect our new life in Christ, and the eternal values that characterize it. As Paul writes in Philippians 3, “our citizenship is in heaven.”

    Instead of being “conformed to this world” we are to be “transformed by the renewing of [our] minds.” The word “transformed” here is the Greek word metamorphosis, which means “adopting a change of outward appearance that truly reflects inward reality” — in other words, the opposite of schema, being conformed to this world.

    To what are we to be transformed? Paul tells us in Romans 8:29 that God predestined believers “to be conformed to the image of His Son.” Colossians 3:10 tells us that we “have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.”

    Sincerely in Christ,
    Dr. Paul M. Elliott
    TeachingTheWord Ministries


  7. Dear Dr Elliott

    Your viewpoint is, as always, greatly appreciated and I am humbled by your considerate and valued comment. Furthermore, I am in complete agreement with every paragraph of your comment, except that the article was not intended to imply that the Law of God has no place in the life of the believer, or that the Christian would not look and act differently to the unbeliever. To the contrary, it implies that only the Law of God should have place in the life of the believer, and not the hugely diverse and often contradictory array of cultural prescriptions of changing societies through the ages, which are intended and performed to impress others, soothe the conscience or make men “feel” worthy of God’s consideration or acceptance.

    Please consider these, my further thoughts on the matter, which may clarify the position of my article somewhat.

    Societal values differ greatly in many parts of the Christian’s world. That which is regarded as an acceptable daily norm at a bus shelter in Nigeria is often regarded as grossly sinful in Moscow. Music which our Christian great, great grand-parents would have considered legalistically acceptable, could be considered inappropriate tomorrow by converts in an Amazonian people. A perfect and all-inclusive definition of what constitutes legalism and peripheral conduct in all communities has never been, and can never be defined, outside of Scripture. By following Jesus, Christians will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12). That is not a possibility, it is an immovable fact.

    This condition is not brought about by putting on the terribly heavy yolk of legalistic bondage, it is by the grace of God in the life of the true believer (Mat 11:30). That cannot not make of the true believer a lukewarm Christian, or condone licentiousness. To the contrary, God’s grace is perfect grace working in and convicting the saved believer. It is not normal to see true believers willfully sinning to the left and to the right. If we do, then those we are seeing are not Christians. When the Christian looks back over their regenerate life and observes the lessening tendency toward and frequency of sin in their life, they cannot pat themselves on the back with pride for this achievement as the legalist will do in false hope. No, the Christian will make the same observations and acknowledge how the grace of God had grown in their life to His Glory.

    The Law of God will, by the very nature of the work of the Holy Spirit, supersede the laws of society in the post-regenerate life of the believer. The irrefutable and essential change which does take place in the life of every true believer, in certain instances gradual and in others more remarkable and instant, bears testimony to that fact. As you have aptly stated, “adopting a change of outward appearance that truly reflects inward reality” and not “adopting a change of outward appearance in order to facilitate inward change”.

    Here I borrow again from your wise words, with which, as I have stated, I am in full agreement: “Instead of being “conformed to this world” we are to be “transformed by the renewing of [our] minds.” The intent of my article is to emphasize that adherence to the instruction regarding the renewing of our minds, cannot be brought about by our attempts to conform to legalistic prescripts, but by conforming to the Law of God by leaning only on the granted ability received after our regeneration and by the progressive sanctification by the Holy Spirit.

    Thank you additionally for referring to, and for your explanation regarding: Romans 12:1-2 — “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

    Relevant to these verses, and in concurrence with your exposition on them, the intent of my article is to emphasize exactly these facts; 1) that Paul is pleading with the brethren, (not unbelievers or Pharisaical religionists), 2) specifically with those who would be able (by the mercies of God and not by their own standards), 3) to be transformed by the renewing of their minds (not by conforming to the scrutiny and pronunciations of society, but according to the prompting of the Holy Spirit) that they may, 4) prove to others (those who try to fault the actions and attitudes of the believers) what, 5) the perfect will of God entails by not being conformed to the world (to His Glory).

    Those who hold to the error of Christian legalism, hold to the misguided belief that those who do not “act” according to the worldly prescripts of what a Christian should look like, fall short of the Grace of God. Not being legalistic does not equate to a continuation of sin in the life of the believer. Being legalistic does not equate to the renewing of our mind or present our bodies a living, Holy sacrifice acceptable to God.

    I thank you for reading this. It is not my presumption to refute or argue in any way against what you have gracefully said. I hope this clarifies my position.

    Off the subject, I thought I might take this opportunity to add that I am writing this today from Middelburg, where I will spend the next few hours in my line of work. I know you have a fond historic connection to the town. It is cloudy and warm having been blessed with good rain overnight and the grasslands surrounding the town are lush and bright green, the pans in the flat landscape are all overflowing with muddy red water and waterfowl are everywhere.

    In Christ



  8. I wonder if I might add an observation to the discussion.

    I think the two most important points you made are:

    # The legalist believes his works earn or keep his salvation, while the child of God understands that he is living the way he does because they are saved

    # The difference between the legalist and someone who possesses true righteousness is the motive of the heart.

    I also think that one needs to consider the subtlety of the world, the flesh, and the devil. We are to “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1Th 5:22). There is a constant bombardment of subtle things that open the door for the world, the flesh and the devil and too often our consciences are not particularly sensitive to these. We are so conditioned to the world we live in. Often people are not particularly discerning.

    I very much appreciate warnings about music, dress, TV, books etc. I want to walk close to God, and there are so many things that “seem” harmless that just open a door that I don’t want open.
    These things certainly can be legalistic, which does nothing but harm. On the other hand, these things can be warnings from believers that are more mature in their faith, to help those following after to avoid some of the pitfalls that they’ve had to deal with.

    It is one thing to give warning and another to impose your ideal on someone else. It is also one thing to reject the imposition of “man made laws” and another to refuse to exercise proper caution or heed proper warnings. We are living in “perilous times” and too often discernment seems to have fallen by the way side when it is most needed. It is a very fine line between what is discerned and what is legalism because the heart of the matter is in the heart.

    Legalism is a tough subject and a serious problem so I do want to thank you for tackling such an unruly topic. My concern is just that in the process of pointing out and defining the problem, we need to make sure that we don’t swing too far in the direction of license. There are things that look like legalism on the surface and may in fact be legalistic in some which in others is actually “presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service and avoiding being conformed to this world: that we might be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (from Rom 12:1,2)

    God bless,



    Romans 8:21
    The text which heads this page speaks of both bondage and liberty, “the bondage of corruption and the glorious liberty of the children of God”. “The bondage of corruption” is that bondage into which sin has brought us. It is the bondage of nature, the bondage which makes us all miserable slaves and prisoners. This bondage of corruption is the forerunner of the everlasting torments of hell’s bondage. Unless God intervenes, it will bring us and our children into eternal misery at last. All who live in the dungeon of sensuality and corruption, as the willing bond slaves of sin, dragged from place to place by the chains of envy, malice, anger, and wrath shall spend eternity in the darkness and corruption of hell under the wrath of God, unless the Son of God makes them free. “The bondage of corruption” holds multitudes in abject servitude to fashion, style, and social approval. It makes us all, by nature, slaves to our own corrupt passions; and that man who is a slave to his own passions is a slave to the worst possible despot. Physical slavery is the most immoral, debasing abuse of humanity imaginable. However, this “bondage of corruption” is indescribably worse. This is the bondage not of our bodies, but of our hearts, our minds, our souls! This satanic “bondage of corruption” manifest itself in many ways. We see it in the bondage of men to sin, to a craving for acceptance with and the approval of others, to the law of God, and to the traditions and customs of human religion.
    The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God came into this world to deliver God’s elect from “the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God”. He came to set the captive free, to open the doors of the prison which held his people in captivity, to break the oppressive chains and shackles which held us captives to sin and Satan. Christ is the great liberator of men’s souls. He came to set his people free.
    Salvation is the deliverance of chosen, redeemed sinners by the grace and power of God “into the glorious liberty of the children of God”. I want you who believe to know and enjoy “the glorious liberty of the children of God”. I realize that this is a very controversial subject. But it is controversial only because of the prevailing errors of ascetic, legal religion which have become so universally accepted that all men call liberty licentiousness and bondage godliness. All human religion is bondage, operates upon principles of bondage, and seeks to keep people in bondage. I want every child of God to know that since Christ has made us free, it is our privilege and responsibility both to stand fast in the liberty of his grace, refusing to be brought again under the yoke of legal bondage, and to use the liberty he has given us for the glory of his name and the good of his people. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” We must not allow those who constantly spy out our liberty in Christ to bring us into bondage. Those pretentiously righteous men, those promoters of religious bondage, are really promoters of corruption. “If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” Let no man, therefore, put you under the law.


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  11. Some fresh air at last! So much preaching with so much legalism implicit. Just thank you for this good article. I have something I´m trying to start. I´m looking for the roots of Christian music legalism in the last decades. I heard that it started before the Christian music explosion. I´m looking, I was looking for that, and I found this site. It might be troublesome but I ask you to pray for this if it is the will of God to dig into this. As I said before, it´s a good article. Good bless you!


    • Rodolfo

      Thank you for commenting. The more you dig around this subject, the more you will encounter people who, since history began, have tried to impose their own unique set of man-centered rules and regulations onto others. Jesus had to deal with Pharasaical legalists right from the beginning of His ministry. The Pharasees back then, and more modern legalists today, find it imperative to bring all men and deeds back under the law in order to be saved, to remain saved or to honour God. Most of them do this, not because it is Biblical, but because by doing so, they can feel more righteous and justified in their false beliefs and think they can impress God by their careful choices.

      Men have a natural tendency to want to do something extra of themselves, to have some role to play in making themselves seem more righteous, and to speak out as they do against things like music styles which they themselves dislike and think, therefore, that they are also unacceptable to God. These religious idiots are simply trying to add yet another commandment to those in the Bible, while men cannot even keep the ones that are there to start with.

      They have completely lost track of that which Jesus fulfilled long ago, which was to die to put an end to the law, by fulfilling all laws perfectly and sufficiently. Jesus regarded people who live such lives “legalists”, a brood of vipers and white-washed tombs. Outside of Jesus Christ, not any single kind of music will even be heard or considered by God, no matter whether it is styled according to first century or twenty first century, vocal or instrumental, classic or rock. They think that God must by necessity be glorified by a certain type of music which they themselves want set aside as worship music. These people are will-worshippers, and they do things according to their will, trying to impose it on God, Christianity and the world.

      God looks to our hearts to see whether Jesus Christ is in there to justify and sanctify us with His Perfect righteousness. God does not look upon or hear any person who is not made completely righteous and utterly sinless by the Blood of His Son, He cannot look upon something which is not pure and Perfectly holy, He is a Holy God. Choice between different styles of music has as little to do with righteousness, as does the choice between a chicken burger or a pepperoni pizza for lunch.

      Please inform me of your investigations into this topic and send through your findings, I will find them most interesting.

      Grace to you!


  12. I don’t know to many church people these days who are in danger of this legalism that you define and are discussing here ! I would definitely say that this generation of professing christians is more and I say way more danger of worldliness and not being separated from the world ! I do believe that we can go to unscriptural extremes in some areas ! but when it comes to worldly music and 90 percent of movies it should not have place in a true christians life !at least a mature christians life! there tons of scripture to show why this is so! and plus somebody that is filled with Holy Spirit of god should not even want to listen and dance to that kind of worldly music and watch what the world watches !what some of these modern christians and leaders are calling legalism is really not !but the true fruits and marks of gods people who have been transformed and called out of the world and its habits and ways and its entertainments and carnal pleasures ! 2 Corinthians 5:17 if any man be in christ he is a new creature :old things are passed away and all things have become new.2 corinthians 6:14-18 wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate ,saith the lord and touch not the unclean thing:and I will receive you ,and will be a father unto you ,and you will be my sons and daughters says the lord.and James 4;4 Know you not that the friendship with the world is enmity with god?whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of god!1 Corinthians 10:31 whether therefore you eat or drink or whatsoever you do ! do all to the glory of god. Ephesians 5:18-19 and be not drunk with wine wherein is excess :but be filled with the spirit.speaking to yourselves in hymns and songs and spiritual songs .singing and making melody in your heart unto the psalm 101:3 it says I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes .finally brethren whatsoever things are true whatsoever things are honest ,whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are Lovely ,whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue ,and if there be any praise ,think on theses things.1 Thessalonians 5:22 abstain from all appearance of evil.and 1 Peter 1:15-16 but as he which has called you holy ,so be you holy in all manner of your conduct and manner of life .because it is written ;be you holy as he is holy.and Galatians 5:24 but they that are christ have crucified the flesh with its affections and Lust.and James 4:17 therefore to him that knowers to do good ,and doeth it not, to him it is sin.and in Galatians 5:19-20 .and look very good to this word revellings most christians will not bother much looking sincerely a definition of the words in the Bible! the word means in part boisterous merrymaking or noisy festivity with dancing .and they which do things shall not inherit the kingdom of god !the church of today is more afraid of holiness and separation from this world then they are of worldliness and sin ! if I am going to free I want to be free from my sin and this world ! and if I am going to be in bondage ! then I am going to be in bondage to Jesus and his will ! whatever happened to self denial and mortification and taking up ones cross ? whatever happened to obedience to gods word !and to true holiness and sanctification in the christian church? there is a bunch of more scriptures to confirm gods standard of separation from the secular and this world all in gods holy words! this response was not to attack anyone on this website are those on this website ! I am truly sharing what I have learned through gods word ! I am not setting my self up as judge over any other christian ! seek gods face and give your self to prayer and the reading of gods word and see if what I have said is to far off!


    • Thank you for commenting, Ronnie. Just about all of the points you make are covered in my articles (Parts 1, 2 and 3), where you will see how and why we may disagree or agree. The crux of the matter is how we understand that we are saved and how that salvation is assured. If by our own deeds / feelings / thoughts, such salvation is hopeless. If by the Grace of God in the Blood of Christ, such salvation is eternal and unbreakable.


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