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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.
When Calvin wasn't trying to get more people burned at the Stake, he also created theologically backwards ideas like : YOU have no choice about your Salvation....God chose you, and that settles that.
So, lets look at this one point of his 5 point "salvation theory" system.... and then compare it to the Grace of GOD, which is OSAS.
Now, to believe this, you have to pretend that Free Will, is not in fact, real.
And here is the thing....
God is JUST....which means, regarding heaven and hell, and people going there....He would not be JUST, if He denied you the freewill to end up in >either place<.
Heaven is a choice. Hell is a choice.. A person, who is breathing, while still an unbeliever.. makes the choice to trust Christ or reject Christ, (Hebrews Ch 4 and 10, Unsaved Hebrews) and GOD accepts their choice now and in eternity, and they get to experience the fruit of their choice, just as soon as they DIE.
A Person who ends up in Hell, chose to go there. A person who ends up in Heaven, chose to go there.
Jesus is THE WAY.... John 14:6 And if you receive Him as the WAY, you go to heaven, and if you reject Him as the ONLY Way, you go to Hell, and then later, the Lake of Fire.
And this is not a myth.
Its a FACT and this is a situation that every person reading this and everyone in the entire world, living-breathing... or yet to be born, is going to have to face, unless they die as a baby or a very very young child.
Think of it like this. Lets say, as some heretics teach, that God decides you are one of the unlucky ones who is born to go to hell.
That God chose you, to go to hell.
How can that be JUST ? How could that be right? How could it possibly be that...."God is Love", if He is choosing some for the lake fo fire, just because they were born, and they have no part in the decision.
That's the theology of judging God as evil, and its theological insanity to do it, and to teach it... but it is taught and it is believed.
There are actually people on this Forum, and on all Christian Forums, that have been taught that some people are born to go to hell, and that God chooses them to go.
I know the scriptures they twist to try to prove this Satanic theology, and i won't be quoting them here.
So that theology is demonic, but, what is worse is that this doctrine is absolutely creating the Idea of God, as way beyond the evil of Hitler...... and in fact, its painting God as black as the Devil's heart, but worse, Because, its people pretending they are CHRISTIANS who are vilifying God this way.
So, a JUST God, would never behave like this, and in fact....... Father God is a completely Just God.
GOD, the Father of Jesus, is so Just, that He allowed the killing of a Sinless Son, to allow for the recreation of the SINNER, into the SINLESS. This is how salvation actually works.
God takes the sinlessness of Christ and exchanges it for our Sin, and we end up as righteous as Christ, and Jesus ends up as "became sin" on the Cross and DIES FOR OUR SIN.
Reader, the Cross is a SWAP.....Its where God's righteous Son gives us His Righteousness, and He takes all our sin....our entire lifetime of it, and dies for it ALL.
And being saved, works exactly the same...regarding God's Justice.. God does not choose some for Heaven, as that is actually the same as choosing some for hell. Its the same thing.
That is not how "freewill", "justification by faith", and "Christ in you the hope of Glory". works.
God is not going to tell you....in John 3:16 that he'll accept "whosoever", and in another verse. "ALL that believe on Jesus, shall be saved", or "as MANY as will believe"...... God is not going to offer Salvation to any and all, worldwide and universe deep, then choose some for Hell.
Yet, there are preachers that preach this message, and their Church is full of people that shout "AMEN" when he speaks about God choosing some for the Lake of Fire.
And some of these people, are on this Forum.
Salvation is a Free gift. We dont earn it, and God does not force it on anyone, nor does He take it away after we are born again.
A born again person, is IN CHRIST....and Christ "in you = hope of HEAVEN, (glory)"".
So, when you are dead, you will end up wherever Christ is, and that wont be Hell or the Lake of Fire.
The Born again are in Him and He is IN Us, """SEALED unto the day of redemption""", and so, we have to end up where Jesus ends up, as we are IN HIM......IN HIM.....IN HIM.
We go where He goes, where He IS, after we die, or are Raptured.
Final Answer, is...Salvation is not a temporary situation. This is why The one who SAVES, and KEEPS YOU SAVED, said from the Cross that .. Philippians 1:6. "IT (Salvation) is FINISHED".
We dont finish it., we dont keep ourselves saved.
Christ said "it is FINISHED"""< and when we are saved, born again, our salvation is FINISHED.
So, once again, remember that OSAS, only means that Salvation is God saving you, through Faith, when you believe on Christ, and then you become born again, and this can never cease to be your ETERNAL reality, because God Himself has saved you with the Blood of Jesus, and this HOLY Blood's power to redeem, redeems you for all eternity. "IT IS FINISHED". = SALVATION.
The Blood that was shed on the Cross is GOD's BLOOD, and that is why it has the Power to keep you saved, and not just start your salvation.
That is OSAS.
ITs that simple.
And no one who simply believes and accepts by FAITH the finished work of JESUS ON the Cross, who would explain it as OSAS...... has ever taught or will ever teach, that because we are always kept saved by God's grace, (BLOOD OF JESUS).. then we can then sin all we like and enjoy it. And you hear this on Forums like this one....These liars lying about OSAS, using the term "license to sin"....
Its a lie, (reader).... Reader.....don't believe it.
You've noticed that in the last 10 days, i've just basically written a BOOK about Legalism and Legalist here on this Forum, within many Threads, and never have I or would i ever say or teach that ... because the Blood of Jesus saved you and keeps you saved...that you can go out and live in sin and enjoy it.
Paul said if you do this, and you won't stop, you will die. Romans 8:13
So that is the end result of living in sin, after you are saved.
It'll finally cost you your earthly life, but before it does, it'll destroy your life, first.
You'll lose everything except your Salvation, if you live in sin, after you are born again.
You'll lose your witness, your money, your family, your friends, finally your health, and then you'll die.
THATS the result of "living in sin" as a born again believer in Yeshua.
But no... it won't cost you your Salvation, as you don't control that part.
That part is controlled by the one who " FINISHED IT"< on the Cross, and has created a believer as born again.
Born again, this status of a "New creation in Christ", a born again SPIRIT< living inside the corrupt body, is an eternal situation.
Hyper-Religious - Self Righteous- Legalists...... flip out when they are told this, because they believe in themselves to stay saved by works...., and so, that is why they can't allow God the Savior to keep them saved if they are..... "bad".
But that is exactly what He has already done. He has already taken your LIFETIME OF BAD, and sent Jesus to the Cross to pay for it all so that YOU don't have to pay for it, in ETERNITY.
What actually happens to a Legalist, who is saved .... who USE TO BE a Legalist, but has seen the Light of the Cross and now trusts in Christ alone to keep them saved......This person is freed from the impossible burden of trying to keep themselves saved, and they find that this frees them to actually live a more holy life then they were trying to live as a legalist.
As now they are committing to their "be holy as God is holy" lifestyle that God EXPECTS, = = EMPOWERED by God's GRACE, instead of by their FLESH.
Flesh fails, Grace doesn't.
A Legalist, who has come to see the Light of Grace in the Face of Jesus, = the finished blood atonement, finds that living for the Lord becomes empowered by Grace, which allows you more self control then they ever had when they were trying to work to stay saved, and were always failing and confessing, failing and confessing............ always feeling condemned, always feeling guilty.........>.
Grace, OSAS,..... once you come to realize this truth that God who saved you, will KEEP YOU SAVED, HIMSELF. Philippians 1:6. .....then (Grace understood) will empower you to live the Holy Life.
That's the effect of the Grace of God, as its the Power of Christ's Blood having this empowering effect on you, simply because you understand it properly.
Understand....."revelation" "seeing the Light" is not just comprehension of theological data, but it is in fact, LIFE POWER from GOD which empowers you to be what God wants you to be.
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 those who say they are "Christians".
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.
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?
LOVE. Agape` Love. God is LOVE
I wanted to talk to you about the Devil.
Don't hear a lot about Him....... not in church, not on forums.
You'd almost get the idea from the lack of real discussion about this "angel of light", that he's basically a myth.
But i assure you he's not.
He's working behind the scenes and often from the pulpit, in the form of bad theology, 300 doctrinally watered down "new bibles", and of course, 5000 denominations that are all in perpetual disagreement, are certainly not God's design.
See, when the Devil is working, there is always one sure situation, in play.
So, let me show you how He tries to work in your life, and does.
I'll show you his #1 operation, in effect, against you, always.
Its very simple.
He is always trying to get your Focus off of The Lord, and serving HIM< and unto anything else.
That's Job #1 for the Devil.
Because what you focus on, is what you spend your time DOING....and your TIME is your LIFE.
TIME is LIFE.
So, if the Devil can steal or redirect your focus, He is now controlling your time, and once He has your TIME, he runs your LIFE........ Saint.
So, Let me give you an idea.
AS Compared to the time you spend on this forum, or that you spend Texting....
How much TIME do you spend doing this, vs, studying the word, praying, praising God, witnessing, helping others, or teaching a new believer about GRACE... Hebrews 13:9 ???
TIme is LIFE, Saint, and you have to guard it, so that you can use it wisely, for God.
Guarding your heart, is guarding your Time.
And how should you use your Time wisely for God?
You answer this question(s)..... is how to find out.
Does God have all of you?
Does God have everything you have?
Are you giving Him your VERY BEST?
And you say......."well, im not a preacher, or a teacher, etc, etc, etc.
Ok......but what you can do.....is more then you believe, so, does God have all that?
Does He have all of you?
That's the question.
Does God have......ALL.......OF........YOU ????????????
Ask it inside your own heart, as you dont need to post it here, as that is not the point....is it?
This is between you and God., as this is what matters.
Just YOU and HIM.
Ok, now, i will give you something to think about, that if you will discipline yourself to consider every day, it will have the effect of helping you focus your LIFE....towards God.
So, here is the thought.
You are going to die., and then this happens.. >"absent from the Body and Present with the Lord".
That is going to happen to you, if you are born again.
Count on it....Believe it, as you are headed there, and it could be anytime, as all of us are exactly one heartbeat removed from that Meeting.
Listen......in your local Newspaper, you have an Obituary Page.
And on it today, are the names of people, who, i promise you.... 1 day ago, never thought they would be found dead in it today.
Saint, Hebrews 9:27 is not just a possibility.
Its a FACT.
Now, if you will , everyday of your life, just for a moment, consider that you are going to meet Jesus, and He is going to speak with you about something.
Its this...."What have you done in MY BODY.. .with the TRUTH YOU WERE GIVEN, and that Truth is ME"........John 14:6....."I am THE TRUTH".
Saint, .... Jesus is going to gently and lovingly ask every Believer, when we meet Him... what we did with our lives, <>for Him<>, (everyday) after we became Born Again.
This is going to happen to each of us. And so.... if you will spend a few moments at the beginning of every day you live, from now on, till you are also found in that OBIT Page... you will begin to realize areas in your life where the Devil is robbing you of your TIME focus , that is actually constantly stealing your life AWAY FROM your Lord and your God.