There are many forms of legalism in modern evangelical churches and we must shun every form. Jesus warned us of the leaven of the Pharisees and we must take care that it does not raise its ugly head in our churches. It will be constantly seeking to undermine our gospel.
Christians are burdened by all sorts of things that steal away the joy of the gospel. Here are some examples:
- that keeping the Sabbath Day or Lord’s Day Holy must be held
- that tithing must be done
- that to partake of alcohol is sinful
- that we must attend church no matter what
- that we must sign up to serve in the church or be counted lazy and unspiritual
- that to partake of the Lord’s Table in a “unworthy manner” could result in God’s judgment upon themselves
Pastors burden the people of God by these and other “laws” and requirements and the list goes on and on.
What is a good thing or a legitimate concern is made by the legalist into a bad thing.
In response to the points above consider the following brief replies:
- The idea of resting is a blessing from God but only a legalist actually thinks that he or she has actually kept the Lord’s Day holy by abstaining and doing certain things on a day! See this page on this site [Former Sabbatarian]
- While giving to the Lord is always a good thing and the Lord loves a cheerful giver, there is no commandment placed upon New Testament Saints that we must give at least 10%
- Drunkenness is a sin, but partaking of alcohol is not a sin, plain and simple
- While we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the norm there must always be liberty to not attend without censure – one may benefit more from having a time to sleep or to go on a holiday!
- While ‘whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies‘ it must initiated and sustained by the one doing the serving of their own free will
- Partaking of the Lord’s Table is never a matter of our own worthiness but the Lord’s worthiness – anathema on those who teach this form of legalism! The test of examining ourselves was never intended to be a question about how faithful or sinful we are as Christians, but that we were not abusing the actual practice as addressed in the context of the text in question [1 Corinthians 11:23-34].
Here is a good summary verse:
Colossians 2:16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day