February 7

Written by Bill Grandi on February 7th, 2022

Legalism is ugly. I could stop right there and be done. I repeat: legalism is ugly.

As a recovered legalism addict, I can honestly say those words. Legalism requires that one “toe the line” or else. In my case, it was not a conformity to clothes or a certain look. Mine was actually two-pronged.

One prong was actions. A real follower of Jesus did not drink or smoke.  Social drinking was out. My justification was I Cor. 8. My justification for not smoking was that my body was the temple of the Holy Spirit.  (Never mind that I loved pitch-ins,  lunch buffets, and BBQs). While I still do neither, I’ve come to realize that each person must answer for him or herself. I am not the Judge the last time I checked my Bible. In the case of drinking, I finally realized the Bible condemns drunkenness but an occasional drink will not condemn anyone.

The other prong was more problematic. It came in the form of doctrine. Not the essentials-who God the Father is; who Jesus the Son is, etc.  It was actually on secondary issues-baptism, the frequency of the Lord’s Supper, and their part in salvation. Only when I stared it straight in the eye at one church I pastored did I come to see how damaging it was. ‘Nuff said on that though for now.

Paul deals with legalism in Colossians 2: 16-23. Salvation had been hijacked, the joy in salvation had been deterred by some of the “elite” in the Colossian church with their legalistic “Do Nots.” And, of course, with the “Do Nots” we have the opposing “Do’s.”  But have you ever noticed how that list is always shorter?

Paul put it well in verse 20 basically saying that if we died to sin why in the world are we submitting to a bunch of rules like “Do not handle, taste, or touch.” He ends it well (not that he needs my okay) by saying that those things are bogus, fakery, and have nothing to do with Jesus.

Develop your relationship with Jesus. Don’t get caught up in garbage that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme of salvation.

“Father, help me to see what is real and what is fake. Help me to see the law kills but the Spirit gives life.”


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Legalism is definitely a trap and a dead end, Bill. We are to love Jesus and submit to His commandments, not what others say.