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Page 363

In legalism, the Word, judgment, and Spirit of God tend to be replaced by the word, judgment, and spirit of man. Observe this truth in the following scriptural example.

    Read the scriptural account of the healing of the man who had suffered from an infirmity for thirty-eight years.

    Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed and walk..

    And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the Sabbath.

    The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the Sabbath Day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.

    He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.

    Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?

    And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed Himself away, a multitude being in that place.

    Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

    The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.

    And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath Day.

    - John 5:8-16

    According to the four fruits of legalism listed in the chart on the previous page, contrast the following in this example.

      1. The emphasis on outward matters by the Jews with that of inward concerns by Christ

      2. The importance placed upon the technicalities of the law by the Jews with that of the spirit of the law by Jesus

      3. The human traditions and teachings in the Jews' view with God's law and principles in Christ's view

      4. The harsh, judgmental spirit of the Jews with the loving, discretional spirit of Jesus

Legalism tends to kill the spirit of the law. In one word, God's law requires love -love to God and our fellow man. God's law is love and its obedience is to be from a spirit of love. Legalism tends to add numerous outward, man-made regulations and restrictions to God's, making obedience a heavy burden (if not a realistic impossibility) even for the true believer. The legalistic Jews, for example, had added more than two hundred rules regarding Sabbath observance to God's law. This caused Jesus to condemn them,

How does legalism place man above God? Whose "word" is the "Bible" to a legalist?


Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,

This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me.

But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

- Matthew 15:7-9


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