The Problem With Legalism

I used to love to dance. I guess I still do but my dancing often consists of wagging my foot when I’m listening to music. 🙂
I remember when I was a kid, I had gone to the skating rink with some kids from church. We were riding with the Preacher. As we were driving home, for some reason, the conversation turned to dancing. I remember the Preacher saying, “Baptists don’t believe in dancing.”
I remember thinking, “Dadgummit, I need to be a Methodist or something..”
Well, I broke the rules I reckon because I danced a lot in High School and God still called me into the ministry. So, maybe dancing ain’t too bad. 🙂
But why did Southern Baptists believe it was wrong to dance? I don’t know. I’m shaking my head as I type this because I would think there were more important issues to deal with other dancing.
But why was dancing wrong? Yeah, I know, dancing can get vulgar… I understand. But not all dancing is like that. No, the issue runs deeper.
The issue is legalism and there’s been a lot of it in the church. Legalism has a set of rules and, you must adhere to the rules. If you don’t, you’re in trouble or, so we thought.
I will be honest with you… I detest legalism. I believe in grace. Why do I detest it? Well, who makes the rules that we think we must obey? And how is that list formed? It’s formed based on what the person making the list thinks is right or wrong. It’s formed based on their interpretation of the Bible. So, when you are into legalism, you are living by a set of rules some other human has set for you.
I know we must have some rules… I get that… And the purpose of those rules is to help us live Holy lives. I understand that. But holiness is not based on legalism.
And how is that list formed? It’s formed based on what that Minister thinks is right and wrong.
Legalism is a set of rules… “Don’t do that… don’t do this,” etc… But our faith shouldn’t be based on keeping a set of rules. We love Jesus because of what Jesus has done for us.
Paul said, “Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (II Cor. 3:17).
We live for Jesus not because we want to mentally check off a list of “do’s and don’ts”, but because we love Jesus. Today, live for Christ because we love Him not because we are following the “rules.”

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