In my last post, I looked at Paul’s teaching on legalism in his letter to the Roman church. It’s actually what separates all other religions and Christianity.
Think about it. In the book of Acts, the early church had no phones, radio, New Testament Scripture, or anything like the resources and knowledge we have today. Yet they walked in the power of God that’s unrivaled in our modern generation.
As I thought about it, I also realized that my grandparents couldn’t read and had no formal education to speak of. Yet there was an incredible manifestation of the power of God in their lives – what happened?
There are some sneaky ways that legalism creeps into our lives. We have to be careful not to fall victim to them.
Here’s where we ended in my last post.
Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.
This verse is very clear. God saved me apart from the law, when I trusted the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through this finished work I was made alive apart from the law.
Then the commandment came, which the Scripture says is the power of sin (I Corinthians 15:56). When this happens, death begins its work in me.
Let me explain how God used this truth to minister to me. One day, as I was driving, praying, and meditating upon the Word, the Holy Spirit started to speak to me. I had been going through a rough time financially.
I had done everything that I knew to do. I had stood on all I’d been taught about prayers and confessions. I’ve always been a tither. I always remind the Lord what His Word says and that I’m standing on His promises.
At this point in my life I clearly heard God speak to my heart and ask me, “What are you basing your expectation on?” Immediately my thoughts turned to the Scripture. I’m basing my hope in the Word that tells me to tithe.
If I’ll tithe, then You will rebuke the devourer and open the windows of Heaven. I give special offerings when You lead me to, so that I’ll receive the blessings of the seed of faith.
The Lord then asked me a question that floored me. He said, “So you’re basing your expectation upon the law?” I was speechless. I had no response to this.
On the inside I felt like defending and justifying my actions. But deep down I knew that the Lord had hit upon the very root of the problem, even though at that point I had no clue how to get out of it.
I came to the realization that I had placed myself under the commandment. Trying, in your own power, to fulfill the requirements of the promises is a form of legalism. I had to learn how to walk in the Lord’s freedom.
That’s why it’s important to understand how Christ set us free from the law, sin, and death.
Question: Are there Scriptural promises that you find yourself legalistic about?
© 2021 Nick Zaccardi