The Problem of Legalism

“For by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”

— Galatians 2:16

Some professing Christians think they can keep God’s law and thereby get to heaven. I have often asked such people to name the Ten Commandments, and usually they can name only three at the most.

A legalist is a person who says that we are not saved by grace alone through faith alone, but rather, we are saved by faith plus obedience to the law. This is the doctrine of some of the more traditional churches, the doctrine of most all of your cults, and it is the doctrine of vast numbers of other people who may belong to one or another organization.

But it would add to the grace of God and the finished work of Christ some effort, some works, some doings of ourselves. The Apostle Paul makes it very plain, however, that as soon as we place ourselves under the law as a means, either in whole or in part, to get us into heaven that immediately we become debtors to do the whole law. Salvation is either of grace or it is of law. And it is not a combination of both.

If we choose to put ourselves under law, then if we offend in any point we would, therefore, become guilty and would be culpable and could be punished.

God’s law points us to the need for Christ. While we can’t fulfill it perfectly, after we get saved, it provides some of the standards we strive to live by to show our love for Christ.

Lord Jesus, help me to see clearly that You have saved me purely by Your grace. Now that You have saved me, give me strength for today to walk in obedience to Your commandments, unto good works. Let me in gratitude keep Your law…