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In Christian circles, define Legalism.

The big debate today seems to be grace vs. legalism in Christian what is legalism? Where does go from being moral laws, ethical, or legalsim?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 4:11 PM on Oct. 15, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Answers (11)
  • legalism is when people set up a bunch of rules, instead of walking in grace. We can't be justified by following rules, but by faith. Legalism does not equal holiness, because we can follow rules and have our hearts far from God. We need to focus on our hearts by abiding in Christ and loving Him, then we will produce the fruit of holiness as a result of that.

    The pharisees were legalistic, but their hearts were far from God. God is what makes us holy, not man made rules.

    Answer by Cinnamon-mom at 4:18 PM on Oct. 15, 2009

  • Legalism is when people take what God says to the EXTREME! And makes it damnation issue. God means what he says, but sometimes not how we think. Like take the whole sabbath issues. God says though shalt not do any work on the sabbath day, nor anyone in your gates any family or even your animals. So that was taken literally, and affected peoples lives. So that's why Jesus went out of his way to show us how to live and how God's nature truly is. God doesn't want to dictate our lives. It's also when man makes up rules and says they are from God, and makes it so you're damned if you don't follow it.

    Answer by rhanford at 4:42 PM on Oct. 15, 2009

  • There are certain people who say that you can't wear makeup, women must wear long dresses, you need to grow your hair really long and put it in a bun, you cannot have tattooes, you cannot have hair color. No nail polish.

    These are all examples

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:52 PM on Oct. 15, 2009

  • AMEN Anon!!!!!!!!!!

    Answer by rhanford at 6:16 PM on Oct. 15, 2009

  • Legalism is when you focus on the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law. When you are so consumed with pointing out how others are doing it wrong that you forget to love each other and experience Gods grace.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:52 PM on Oct. 15, 2009

  • I agree that legalism is more concerned with following the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law.

    Answer by eringobrough at 8:52 PM on Oct. 15, 2009

  • Amen erin! But I wonder where the line is, I wasn't taught grace so I don't know to much bout how it works lol.

    Answer by rhanford at 2:17 AM on Oct. 16, 2009


    PTM (plain truth ministries) is a really good christian site i heard about here that deals entirely with the legalism vs grace issue for christians. please check it out, they have a great free e-mail newsletter you can sign up for too thats so helpful and informative.


    Answer by Anonymous at 9:25 AM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • There are various examples in the Bible, the Pharisees are a perfect example or legalism and Jesus is the perfect example of grace.  

    I agree with the letter of the law and the spirit of the law.  I believe the line is when we focus on others and their wrong doings.


    Answer by Anonymous at 3:01 PM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • These are all good answers, but what about when grace people become legalistic?? By that I mean, if I choose to wear a dress and no makeup...they define me as legalistic, but in reality I wear dresses and no makeup to honor my husabnd. I know that my salvation has nothing to do with my works or how I dress, but I do believe there is merit in being obedient and coming under my husband's me people take grace as a right to pick and choose what they want to accept of the Bible and then toss out what they don'wt like or understand. Is it not equally legalistic for people to judge from their point of grace based on someone else's appearence? Why not take the time to ask someone what they think and believe? Why they practice what they practice?

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:21 PM on Oct. 16, 2009

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