“…an old disciple, with whom we should lodge.” (Acts 21:16 b)
“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3)
“Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of man? (Colossians 2:20-22)
One of the great enemies of grace is legalism. Legalism is a type of control that quenches the Spirit’s liberty. The liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. We are to stand steadfastly therein. The only boundaries that Christ has set for the believer is to stay within the boundaries of one’s love for Christ. Augustine said, “Love God and do as you please.” Because you see, if one loves Christ one will gladly keep His words and charges. This is grace. John, in his first epistle says it well, “His law is not grievous to us.”
However, the old legalist does not see things as clearly. The old legalist relies on the “thou shalt nots” of man’s traditions and made up standards. The old legalist does not trust the Holy Spirit to fulfill His sovereign office. The old legalist must needs keep control.
The old legalist focuses on the outward standards, like apparel, entertainment, hair styles, and Bible versions. He calls it worldliness. However, the sad irony is that the old legalist is all worldly because that is always his focus.
Legalism started in the garden when Eve added the, “Touch not” to God’s warning concerning the tree of knowledge.
The old legalist can usually be identified by his pride and his King James Bible. They tend to be strong on the headship of the husband, and getting others to believe or think like they do. The old legalist is very judgmental of other denominations. He is also BIG on SERVICE. We have heard of one who said, “if there is no work in Heaven, well then….I don’t want to go.” Beloved, that is prideful ignorance of grace.
The old legalist serves…serves..serves because he must. The Christ-ian under grace serves because he loves to …as did his Master.
The old legalist may have been in church for years and years but he has not come to the truth of grace. What is sad is if the ability to “serve” was taken away from him there would not be much. He has not learned to “Be still and know that I am God.”
The old legalist is not an independent thinker… he is told what to think but not how to think. The legalist really is a sad case for he is a caricature of the Christ-ian.