Lets define "legalism" as defined by Paul, as Webster is not using the NT as context.
"Legalism" is Galatians 1:8 ""there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let them be accursed. """"
Notice that Legalism, taught or preached, "perverts" the Gospel. It subverts the Blood Atonement. It actually attacks the Cross, by denying Jesus full credit do for saving you and keeping you saved. It offends God, and that is why he curses the person and the message.
Legalism, is the teaching that "faith + works" is what saves you and keeps you saved. And this "gospel" is a perversion of the truth. Its actually a denial of the Lord's words..spoken from the Cross = "it is Finished"....meaning The Blood Atonement.....Salvation.
Let me explain it more clearly....
This verse is referring to a person (Legalist) who is preaching a gospel that is a blend of Jesus, the Cross, and their Works. (commandment keeping, enduring to the end, holding onto their faith.....etc, etc, etc.)
Legalism, a Legalist, will give lip service, = a false presentation of the Gospel.
And the way they always do it, is by adding 10 commandment keeping, and lifestyle, as a PART of the Blood Atonement.
In other words, the Legalist, who is usually not actually born again, but is very apt at speaking "christianese", and uses bible verses, and goes to different Christian fourms to annoy and create chaos......will always defend the LAW and 10 Commandments as "necessary" to be saved, instead of giving FULL CREDIT DUE, to the One who died on the Cross, who HIMSELF is Grace and Salvation.
Here is how you spot a lying legalist on a Christian forum.
Its so easy.
THis is how they "sound".
"Yes, i know that Christ is the savior......BUT".
"yes, i know that Jesus saves......BUT"
See that "but"? That is the sign of the Legalist.
They can never EVER agree that Jesus and the Blood of Christ is all that God accepts to save you and keep you saved.
They can't agree with this, because they do not believe it.
A Legalist, will always, add WORKS, 10 commandments", TO THE CROSS, and then they will all add LIFESTYLE, as well.., as this is how they are "working out their own salvation".
The gospel of the legalist, is "faith + works".
The Gospel of God is "The Cross".
See their problem?
Its a BIG One.
A legalist sounds like this when they teach or preach....>."""now we know that Jesus saves, but, you ALSO have to ..........1. 2. ....3. 4.. 40.....do all this""
See all that?
THAT IS Galatians 1:8
THat is "cursed of GOD" theology and PERSON, because it is adding to the Cross, self righteous works, and this denies The Lord His full credit due, for Salvation.
This offends God, who is Jesus on the Cross, and that is why there is a literal CURSE on anyone who teaches or preaches that ... "The Cross + Works, commandments, lifestyle" is the Gospel.....is Salvation.
How do YOU discover if you have fallen from Grace, and you are become a legalist. ??
You just answer this simple question.
Q.) Do you believe that Jesus Christ keeps you saved?
I didnt ask you if He saved you.
I asked you if you believe that He KEEPS You saved?
A Legalist is not being honest if they say yes, because a legalist believes that enduring to the end, keeping your faith, living a holy life, keeping the law and the 10 commandments, is what is keeping THEM saved., so that is why they preach this cursed of God gospel to others.
So, be careful reader, as a legalist has deceived themselves, so, that is what they will also offer you.
Jesus is the Holy Spirit.
God is Jesus, "God was manifested in the Flesh" = Jesus 1 Timothy 3:16
"God is A Spirit" is the verse, vs some phony bibles that say "God is Spirit", .. so, check yours.....becasue "A" Spirit, is a specific TYPE....Its a HOLY One...."Holy Spirit". See, there is an UNHOLY Spirit, the spirit of "anti=Christ", and then there a "A" Spirit, (God is A Spirit), that designates for you the literal and clear distinction between Holy and unholy....so, if your bible says...."God is Spirit"< John 4:24 then get yourself a real bible that says.. "God is A Spirit". Very important. And also check and see if your bible says..."GOD was manifested in the Flesh" in 1 Timothy 3:26, as if it says, "He" instead of "God", then get rid of this bible, as its flawed, and not literally accurate. A flawed bible creates a flawed Christian. Thats a fact.
The Holy Spirit is the "comforter" and Jesus is the "Prince of Peace". The Holy Spirit gives you comfort, and this is the "God kind".
Jesus said, "My peace , (MY SPECIFIC TYPE OF PEACE), This is the Holy Spirit)... The peace I give is NOT as the (spirit of the world) gives,".. John 14: 27.... because Christ's peace IS the Holy Spirit, The Comforter... which is a heavenly peace. THIS Spirit, is God's, and it is the One that "fills you", and it is the one that "indwells you" only if you are born again, as this is the reason you are born again, and this is why the NT says that "if you don't have the Spirit of God, ( Holy Spirit indwelling you) then you are none of God's", you are not born again, and you are not saved. Romans 8:9
The Peace of God is not "happiness" , its a deep wellness in the soul. Its a comfort that is deeper then feelings. Its supernatural. This is the peace of God, Himself, that comes to live in a person the INSTANT they "Believe on the Lord and you SHALL BE SAVED",= right then.....and this is why many cry and cry when this happens, because this peace heals broken hearts. This peace heals wounded souls. This indwelling of the peace of God, which IS the Love of God, fills the emptiness, and this peace replaces addiction, lust, greed, envy, pride, hate, with self control.... and fills the human heart with contentment. AS ALL THIS is the indwelling fruit of the Holy Spirit. ( Jesus the Vine into us the Branches) Its the "God Effect" that comes to live inside a born again Person. Its the "Kingdom of God" that enters you as you enter INTO it. Colossians 1:13 = BORN AGAIN
A mystery is something that has not been uncovered or revealed.
The Trinity is really not a mystery, as this is a misapplied definition that someone once used who didn't understand it, or didnt want to believe it, and it has sort of hung around Christendom, seemingly forever.
Now then......The Bible lays out the reality of God's existence, generally, as 3 distinct aspects, yet as One individual whole....
So, here we go.... Lets take a look :
First......Think of yourself......are you a spirit , a soul, and a body?......... How many is that?......Well, you are Tri-part being. You are 3 in One.
Have you ever noticed the sun in the sky? The Sun: is Heat, Light, and Actinic rays. (ultraviolet, etc). That is 3 parts of the same ONE..... So, is that a mystery?
The reason most Christians think of these type things as mysteries, is because we live in the natural world, we exit in the natural realm, and so, what we don't see with our eyes, = "mystery". "seeing is believing".
So, God is 3. But He is One. ... Like this :
Christ said that He is "In the Father", John 10:30
Thomas kneeled before Christ and said...>"my Lord and my GOD",..... and Jesus didn't correct Him. John 20:28
Christ said......."touch me not, i have not yet ascended to my Father and yours"........ John 20:17
The reason the Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus is .....1.) Envy. 2.) Legalism: Religious Spirit, and because Jesus said......"Before Abraham was...... I AM"....and this is Jesus referring to Himself "pre incarnate", as in Genesis 1, when He was not yet "God manifested as a man, in the FLESH". John 8:58 1 Timothy 3:16
So, we see that Jesus is talking about Himself (referring to Himself as God), before He was later come down from heaven as " God manifested in the FLesh"....... John 8:58 and 1 Timothy 3:16
Ok then, i wrote a simple and quick "Trinity" study recently that i'll now post for you to use if you feel like studying all this, that im posting for yuo
Here is the rest....
1.) John 1:10.. If you read it, you'll read that Jesus was in and literally placed His feet on the World HE created.
2. ) Colossians 1:6 says that through JESUS, and by Jesus, all things were created.
3.) 1 Timothy 3:16 says that "God" was manifested, (was made flesh and walked among us as a Man) ""
4. ) John 20:28 says that Thomas the Apostle, upon first seeing Jesus after He rose from the dead , said... "My Lord AND MY GOD"....
JESUS is the "word made flesh".
God made all that you see, by speaking words. "Let there BE...... light, nature, creation, all of it"....>"Let there BE" is like saying, let there BECOME..... God spoke it, and it (creation) appeared.
Genesis 1. In the beginning was the Word and the Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was/is God.
So, there you have Jesus as the Word before He was sent here to die, being worshipped as God after He was sent here.
That is God the Father, and Jesus as the Word made flesh = 2
Then add the Holy Spirit, the comforter...... = 1
2 +1 = 3
Three are "One", as Jesus says. "I and my Father are ONE"..... yet, they are each, one of themselves.
Gospel : Paul teaching = "preaching of the Cross". "we preach Christ Crucified"..."Jesus sent me not to baptize but to preach the Gospel".."faith comes by hearing this".....
So, all that, if believed by an unbeliever resolves an eternal issue......
What is the issue?
What is God's purpose for coming to earth to die as Jesus The Christ on a Cross?
What is He doing?...What is He alone solving, that all our 10 commandment keeping and holy lifestyle can never solve, which is WHY HE had to solve it? ?
And right here is what is so often misunderstood, or not taught correctly, and this is why so many people who mean well, and love Jesus, or would like to love him, do not understand <>WHAT IS<> the actual reason that God came here to die.
So what is that reason?
The reason, is that keeping the law, the 10 commandments, and doing good works, confessing sin, and living as holy as we can, could not make us acceptable to God..
And here is the "catch 22".... It also can't AFTER you are saved.
And right here is where "Legalism vs Grace" becomes the touchstone of constant fighting on forums, and everywhere else that it can show up where believers WILL clash.
(Apparently this clash became such a long standing fight and fury on this forum that members here are barred from posting- fighting about it.)
It is a fact and statement of the CROSS that the law and the 10 Commandments can't make you righteous, they can only show you that you are unrighteous., as that is the actual purpose of the Law, as well as outlining what God expects regarding our basic moral conduct & behavior, once we are born again.
So, how can it be that half the body of Christ is trying to keep all this, all these works, and they believe that this is "keeping them saved".
Whereas the other half of the body of Christ is trusting in Jesus to keep them saved.
So, do you see the line in the sand?
Its this " What is keeping you SAVED"....that is the minefield of theological confusion.
THATS the fight.
Legalism vs Grace.
Its happening on every forum like this one, and its the reason for 5000 denominations that don't agree, and 300 bibles that don't agree.
This issue started with Paul and his preaching of "justification by Faith" >alone, and he wrote the letter to the Galatians that talks about it, and explains it.
2000 yrs later, this issue of Legalism vs Grace is still a fist fight between "Christians".
Here on this forum, apparently they outlawed the battle.
Isn't it interesting to realize that if the 10 commandments, or lawkeeping, or living holy, could save you or keep you saved, if that were the truth, then Jesus could have stayed in Heaven and saved Himself some PAIN.....
But ita not the case.
Now im not certain what you have been taught, but i teach that you "present your body a living sacrifice" and you to "live holy as God is holy", not to save yourself or keep yourself saved, but because this is what you should do, and what God expects, .. because you ARE saved.
The Legalist would argue that .."no, you do it to stay saved", and if you don't then you're not.
I wonder, reader, what you believe.
However, keep it to yourself, as this is between you and God, tho make sure you get it right, as if you get it wrong and you are teaching it, then Galatians 1:8 has become quite a literal issue for you.
So, leaving all that now, lets just look at the problem that God had to come here and solve for us, as to look at this, is to understand the reason for Salvation which is to understand Salvation.
Our problem we had, before we were saved, is only one thing, one issue only. And God Himself had to solve it, because we can't.
We are born, and we get older, and we don't have any righteousness.
And so, God can't accept us, because we are UNRIGHTEOUS.
This is "lost", "unsaved"....hellbound = we don't have any RIGHTEOUSNESS< as all of ours, are "filthy rags".
So, in steps SALVATION... Down from Heaven God as The Christ arrives... The Cross has been raised.... As God bleeding out on the "tree" has come down from Heaven to give us HIS righteousness so that He can accept us, based on THAT.......and for no other reason will He accept you, or me.
God, literally became a man, and died on a Cross, to GIVE US "the righteousness of Christ". (God's very own righteousness).
And that is what salvation actually is....Its God coming to earth to give us His righteousness so that HE can accept us, as by giving us His very righteousness, this makes us acceptable to God.
Welcome to Salvation.
Salvation is only.... "what makes you acceptable to God"....and that is one thing, its GOD'S Righteousness, becoming ours.
A born again person, has literally BECOME "the righteousness of Christ", and Christ is GOD.
To say that God's Grace is amazing, is really the least of what it is...
How can you describe the wonder of God, dying to give you His righteousness in place of your unrighteousness, as a free Gift?
Is there a word that can even claim to honor this spiritual transaction enough?
God is LOVE.
The bible says that Jesus bore our sin on the Cross, so then, who are we to not believe it. ?
After all, if we are born again, then we have now become "the righteousness of Christ", and Jesus "became (our) sin". 2nd Corinthians 5:21, and what is also amazing, is that its God His Father that "made" this all happen.
Here is a pretzel.....God is Jesus on the Cross, sending Himself down from Heaven, to Die as a Man.
In John 1:10, Jesus was "standing on the earth HE CREATED", = "God said, LET THERE BE", in Genesis....... and this is JESUS now standing on it, and soon He was going to be hanging between the earth and sky that HE Created with.... words....and Jesus is the WORD ..... made flesh.
On the Cross, Jesus is not just dying for sin, He literally became sin.
I'll show you somehting else that is pretty interesting, as maybe you've not thought this or been shown it before...
You all know this verse......
"we are not UNDER the Law but we are UNDER Grace".
In other words, the reason for the Law....is that the law shows us our sinfulness, as this is the purpose of it, which then leads us to the One who dies for them on the Cross, gives us His Righteousness......you know, (Salvation).
But notice this.... our NT says that the LAW was abolished, being NAILED to the Cross.
Now this does not mean the law and the 10 C's are no longer behavioral lifestyle guides regarding our Christian Discipleship, sure...but what it means is that because Jesus fulfilled the law in our place, the law now has no authority to judge us as sinners.
Remember, God's law does this, not Jesus, not God.
This is why Jesus never JUDGED any one, He always said. "sins are forgiven", "go thy way"...etc..... as that is why HE CAME, whereas the Law can not do this, it can only judge you to be a sinner, based on ITSELF as it reveals God's morally righteous moral code.
So, Jesus abolished the law (took away its power to judge us as sinners), which is why Romans 4:8 has to be understood fully or Salvation can't be completely accepted or understood as it is meant to be, in both cases.
So, there is Jesus, dying on the cross, and where is the Law that is abolished and NAILED to the Cross with him??
Its above his HEAD.
He is UNDER THE LAW, on the Cross, DYING.
And we are NOT UNDER IT< because He died under it for us.
"You are not UNDER the Law but under GRACE , <. see that? = Because Jesus is UNDER IT, on the Cross. He took away its power to JUDGE a born again believer.
His death FINISHED not only our Eternal Redemption, but it also forever eliminated the Law's Legal right to judge us as SINNERS.