The Galatians were not a city, but a people group that occupied the central part of current day Turkey.
They were converts to Christianity through the apostle Paul. Paul continued on his missionary journey and upon his departure some people came in and began to teach that you are saved through Jesus, but then you still needed to follow the Mosaic Law.
In Galatians 3:1-3 Paul asks them, “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”
In Galatians 4:8-9 he asks “how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?”
Finally in Galatians 4:20-21he says “I am perplexed about you! Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says?”
What is legalism?
Legalism is the act of following rules for an individual’s self worth and/ or salvation and placing those same standards on others for their self worth and/ or salvation.
The advantage of legalism.
You don’t need wisdom.
You don’t need a relationship with God.
You don’t need to ask God for help or for direction.
Two problems with living by the Law.
We are all sinners and are going to mess up.
We have external obedience without a changed heart.
Living by rules and principles is not a bad thing, but they cannot make you a better person.
There is an alternative to legalism.
License is the mindset that I am free to do anything that I want because I am saved by grace and not the law.
THIS IS A FAITH WITHOUT WORKS
Romans 6:15 – Shall we sin because we are not under the Law?
Galatians 5:13 – Do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature.
The key question is –
Do these things that I am doing indulge in my sinful nature?
Am I feeding the flesh and justifying my actions?
Jude 4 “They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality. “
Jesus looks at the heart while the law looks at the action.
A right heart brings about right action.
A right action does not necessarily bring about a right heart.
So – Legalism is asking what do I have to do?
But – A Right Heart is asking what can I do that will honor God?
Legalism is worrying about how good I am.
A Right Heart is admitting how bad I am.
Legalism is comparing yourself with others…
A Right Heart is comparing yourself to God!
Legalism is saying I never sinned that bad.
A Right Heart is saying I have sinned badly against God and others.
Legalism is all about saving yourself.
A Right Heart is saying “Help me God”.
Legalism is saying how bad that person is…
A Right Heart is saying “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”!
Legalism is saying, “Why do those people deserve my help?”
A Right Heart is saying I do not deserve the help God gave me!
Two primary questions to ask about any action you are about to take.
1. Are my actions hurting my relationship with God and others?
2. Is my action feeding the desires of my flesh?
Notice: Sadly the audio is of such poor quality that I cannot post it “as is”. You can request an audio CD if you like – it was an awesome message! If it can be fixed… I’ll post it! 🙂