Legalism definition – Legalism is the obeying of God’s commands in order to obtain salvation, maintain salvation, and/or entitle a person to final glory. Legalists believe that it is their law-keeping that gets and keeps them in favor with God.
Some passages illustrating legalism – 30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness[a] did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
Matt 23:13, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.”
Phil 3:8-11, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith?that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
Antinomianism definition – Antinomianism is the belief that Christians are not to use God’s law – God’s commands – as a rule of life.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Cor 2:2 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:16
Rom. 6:1-2, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”3
From monergism.com, “Legalism is, by definition, adding anything to the finished work of Christ?and trusting in anything other than, or in addition to, Christ and His finished work?for one’s standing before God. Antinomianism is the intentional or unintentional denying or setting aside of God’s law in the life of the believer in the name of grace. The former error downplays the sinfulness of man and the reality of indwelling sin in the life of the believer. The latter error downplays the heinousness of sin and the detrimental nature of sin in the life of the believer. On the surface, it might seem that these two definitions limit the first error merely to the realm of justification and the second merely to the sphere of sanctification; however, it is important for us to remember that both errors inevitably end up affecting each of these previous doctrines.”
So I’m saved – justified…Jesus’s righteousness is imputed onto my account, I realize nothing i can do can make me any more or less holy in God’s sight.
Now I’m in the process of sanctification where I become more like Christ, more holy…less of a sinner than I was when I was initially saved.
Where is that line? How do I tread that line between liberty and legalism? Jesus was a monk in a monastery right? Wait, he provided wine at weddings and hung out with the lowliest of society? Maybe I should be doing that then?
Is finding the line between legalism and antinomianism bigger than listing the actions of Jesus in his adult ministry and trying to emulate them?
How does conscience play a role in all of this? Can an action for one person not be a sin for another? How am I supposed to figure that out? Do I walk around my Christian friends on egg shells until they verbalize to me that I’m not causing them to sin? Why not avoid hanging with Christians at all and just hang with the lowliest of society?
How can Arminians/Calvinists fall into legalistic tendencies?
We can focus on rules vs relationship with God – the saying that it’s about a relationship not rules.
The movement in the modern day church to shun the law and focus on LOVE