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Dictionary of Bible Themes – 8774 legalism
8774 legalism

8774 legalism

The belief that salvation demands or depends upon total obedience to the letter of the law. Examples of legalism include an excessive concern for minute details of the law coupled with a neglect of its funadmental concerns, and a preoccupation with human legal traditions.

Legalism represents a fatal misunderstanding of the purpose of OT law

Ro 9:31-32 See also Ro 3:20; Gal 3:10-11

Legalism is contrary to the gospel

Gal 2:16 See also Mt 23:13,15; Ro 3:20-24; Php 3:8-9

Paul: example of a Jewish legalist

Php 3:4-6 See also Gal 1:14

The ugly effects of legalism

Lack of love Mt 23:23 Legalism actually contradicts the spirit of OT law. See also Hos 6:6; Mic 6:7-8; Mt 23:14 fn; Lk 10:31-32; Jn 7:49

Spiritual pride Lk 18:11-12 See also Mt 6:1-2,5,16; Mt 23:5-7; Lk 16:15; Ro 10:3

Formalism Isa 29:13 See also Mk 7:6

Degeneration into man-made rules Isa 29:13 See also Mk 7:7-8

Hypocrisy Mt 23:27-28 See also 1Sa 15:19-22; Mt 15:3-9 pp Mk 7:9-13; Mt 23:25-26; Jn 7:19

Spiritual blindness Jn 9:16

Warnings against legalism

Mt 16:6 pp Mk 8:15 See also Mt 16:12; Gal 4:10-11; Gal 5:2-4

The burden of legalism

Ac 15:10 See also Ps 130:3; Jas 2:10

The answer to legalism: the grace of Jesus Christ

Ac 15:11 See also Mt 5:17; Gal 3:13; Gal 4:21-31; Eph 2:8-9

See also

5108Paul, life of
5135blindness, spiritual
5381law, letter & spirit
6669grace & salvation
8023faith, necessity

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