"For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."(2 Corinthians 11:4)
"another gospel" Legalism is powerful because its at the core of human nature. We see it in Adam's behavior in the garden and there were no churches or religious organizations. You may ask, "How do I know if I'm of a legalistic mindset"? Ask yourself a few questions. (1) Am I constrained by the love of Jesus or am I driven by guilt and fear of breaking the rules? The church you attend, are you adapting to the lifestyle they have taught you or are you growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ? I recall one church that was actually so steeped in legalism that they actually had TV funerals, ceremonies pronouncing death to the evil electronic boxes that had destroyed their lives. After their realization of this ignorance they went out bought BIG TV's and watched EVERYTHING that came on, regardless of its content. If you are in the process of being delivered from the clutches of religion, please be aware that the Bible is your only source of truth. Since Jesus said, "You cannot put new wine into old bottles", you must have a complete mental transformation. "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."(Romans 12:2) If you think that legalism is about TV's, clothing styles, hair styles, then you have no idea the evil that you are dealing with.....
Legalism is a fear based relationship with a denomination, church or religious group. Christianity is a faith based relationship with Jesus Christ!! According to the Apostle Paul there are those in the "ministry" that are preaching "another gospel" that births "another spirit"! It comes down to, are you following man made rules that you assume are in the Bible because someone said they were or are you following God's Word? "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision."(Phillippians 3:2) In this passage Paul refers to legalistic preachers as "dogs" because they devour! The word "concision" means to mutilate ones flesh to try an impress God. Do you have an inner spiritual relationship with God or is it external in nature? "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."(2 Corinthians 3:6)
Spiritual life comes from Jesus, not religious activities.
Scott L. Boatner