In addition to the full color prophecy chart poster, Paul is co-author of Breaking the Bondage of Legalism.
A limited number of copies are in print and available here. This volume concludes with additional “Steps to Freedom” that relate to this theme. To order a copy, contact this ministry.
Audio messages online: sermon.net channel here
Summary: The Essence of Legalism
by Paul Travis
It is accepting any belief or conviction that favor with God can be earned.
It is adherence to any law or standard in order to attain, gain, or maintain God’s acceptance.
ACCEPTANCE BEFORE GOD IS BASED ON GOD’S GRACE, CHRIST’S SHED BLOOD AND FAITH ACTIVATED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT; Anything added to this formula is legalism.
“The Just Shall Live By Faith” (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38)
Grace does not lower the standard of holiness — it raises it; and it enables us to measure up in Christ.
Legalism results in life lived by the energy of the flesh. Grace enables us to live by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The flesh exalts behavior, while the Spirit provides God’s gracious enablement.
Legalism emphasizes external behavior, not internal devotion (Rom. 10:3-4).
The legalist says: “Blessings results from my performance.” The real Christian says: “I serve Him because I have already been accepted by His great love.”
Legalism gives the glory to us. Grace gives the glory to God (I Cor. 1:27-31).
Legalism is not just wrapped up in obeying laws, but having an independent attitude, saying: “I can do it myself.”
Legalism magnifies the ability of the clay, rather than the providence and care of the potter.
OUR ACCEPTANCE BEFORE GOD CANNOT BE EARNED: IT HAS BEEN PURCHASED BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.
LEGALISM IS A SLAP IN GOD’S FACE
Legalism says that God’s grace can forgive me of my sin, but it cannot make me totally acceptable before God (Gal. 3:3, 5:4-7. 6:14-15).
The life of grace is one of trusting Him.
- It is not laboring …………………..It’s yielding to Him
- It is not rushing ……………………It’s resting in Him
- It is not worrying ………………….It’s trusting in Him
- It is not slaving ……………………..It’s serving Him
The true Christian is led by the Spirit – not driven by the flesh. John 1:14-17 declares that,”The law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
TRAITS OF LEGALISM
Performance, Measuring up, Selfishness, Rules, Control, Critical, Rigid, Achieving Standards, Perfectionism , Domination, Isolationism, Drivenness, Nit-picking, Demanding, Earning, Self-glory, Self-centeredness, Critiquing, Close-minded, Dogmatic, Unchangeable, Being Right, Fault-finding, Narrow-minded, Inflexible, Strict, Exacting, Intolerance, Laws
THE SYMPTOMS OF LEGALISM
Drivenness, Self-righteousness, Condemnation, Self-glory, Control, Independence, Judgmentalism
Life lived by the flesh
Responsibility rests on on behavior
Being driven by the flesh
Worldly sorrow that leads to regret
Life lived by the Spirit
Responsibility rests on
Trusting in the Lord
Being led by Holy Spirit
Godly sorrow that leads to repentance
You are a sinner because you often sin
You get your identity from what you’ve done
You get your identity from what people say
Your behavior tells you what to believe about yourself
You are a Saint – one declared righteous
You get your identity from what God has done.
You get your identity from what God says about you
Your belief about yourself determines your behavior
BALANCING OBEDIENCE IN LIFE UNDER GRACE
LOOSENESS: We are not free from doing God’s will
LEGALISM: But free from the bondage of the law
LIBERTY: We have liberty in allowing Christ to fulfill His will through us (Rom. 8:2-4, Phil. 2:12-13).
Individuals and churches that love but need to embrace more truth
They love freedom and forgiveness but neglect Bible study and morals.
Strong on grace but weak on truth
These gracious believers need to strongly stand for the truth
Grace prevents self-righteousness and legalism
Individuals and churches that guard the truth, but have little grace and compassion for others
They critique others concerning the truth, but are not gracious.
Quick to judge, but slow to forgive
These strong believers need to be graciously led by the Spirit
Truth prevents moral indifference and looseness
Grace is not about lowering God’s standards, it’s about surrendering to Christ and allowing Him to meet them.
We need to express the joy of the Lord rather than just talk about behavior and all the “do’s” and “don’ts.”
God’s standards of holiness are not lowered under grace; they are raised. (Matt. 5:20-22; Gal. 5:4
Grace does not make believers less holy; it enables them to be more holy.
Grace never causes believers to despise and avoid truth; it causes them to adore and practice truth.
Grace does not lower the bar; it enables us jump over the bar. Grace provides the Holy Spirit’s fulfillment (Rom; 8:2-4).
Biblical grace causes us to have great respect for Biblical truth.
GOD’S GRACE … never encourages us to live loosely, or in sin. It strengthens us to say truth and “No” to sin.