Legalism is a ministry killjoy. It destroys the natural joy that comes from serving others in ministry like nothing else I’ve seen. I’ve seen more ministries ruined by legalism than anything else.
What is legalism? Legalism happens when we substitute our rules and rituals for our relationship with Christ. It’s a subtle trap that takes the focus off of what God has done for you and slowly turns it to what you have done for God.
In Philippians 3, Paul tells us flat out that he’s tried legalism. In the process, he points out five different ways he had been a legalist – ways that still haunt many of us today.
Legalism is putting your trust in rituals. Paul says, “I was circumcised eight days after I was born according to the Jewish law.” (Phil. 3:5a) Today, a Christian might say, “I was baptized,” or “I joined the church,” or “I took communion.” All of those are good, but they don’t earn God’s approval.
Legalism is putting your trust in a race. Paul says, “Of the people of Israel, I was of the tribe of Benjamin.” (Phil. 3:5b) I’ve got the royal pedigree here. It’s like…Continue Reading