We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Friday, January 20, 2017

Legalism — A Heart Issue

Legalism is a way of covering hypocrisy, because it creates external rules that can be kept regardless of the state of the heart—at least in the eyes of others.  It allows people to look good outwardly even when their hearts are rotten.  But legalism also causes hypocrisy, because people learn to keep the external rules without being changed internally.  And they also learn to live a life of deceit, in which the way they look to others is more important than how they look to God.

Dave Swavely, Who Are You To Judge?, pg.96-97


Anonymous said...

These type of people in the church are insidious. The pastors and elders (if they aren't themselves legalists) usually think these folk are the epitome of Christian perfection, because they behave "just so". Young folks can be taught this game, too! They learn to "behave" perfectly and voila, get instant accolades and approval from parents and leadership alike.

Meanwhile, ordinary saints, who don't bother with veneers - and hence display the unvarnished full spectrum of their life, for better or for worse - are not accepted, because they aren't always behaving perfectly.

Experience can be a painful, painful teacher. Do I sound like someone who has witnessed this much? ;-)


Glenn E. Chatfield said...


Yes you do, but we also witnessed too much!

Anonymous said...

That's because you and Jill subscribe to the "we don't bother with veneers" category, no? ;-) Tsk, tsk.


Anonymous said...

One final thought... about children who are taught the legalism game. I have seen both ends of the spectrum in this matter. I have indeed met smug youth, who seem to know the game and know how to play it. But I have also seen children who can't seem to be as "perfect" as is expected of them, and I have watched them either struggle with frustration and anger, or descend into discouragement or despair.

Legalism does so much damage, because it never touches the heart. It is only grace that moves the heart.