Remember again what legalism is:
Legalism is any practice or belief that is added to the gospel that compromises the sufficiency of Christ as Savior and jeopardizes the adequacy of the Spirit in moral guidance.
Legalism then is the charge against you or me, often sensed at the deepest level, that we are not accepted by God in Christ and indwellt by the Holy Spirit.
What role do the “authorities” play in legalism’s power?
And Paul’s letter to the Galatians gives us some powerful strategies to ward off the false charge of legalism:
4. We need to remind ourselves, perhaps more often than we care to think of, that the authorities are not God. Paul’s entire first and second chapter are at some level taken up with this very point: the authorities for Paul were not those who made the final call.
Not humans (1:12), not churches (1:17-24), not the Jerusalem leaders (2:1-10) and not even Peter himself (2:11-14)… none of these is God, none of these calls the final shot.
Legalism is often foisted upon us by religious groups; Paul wants his readers to know that it is God who sets free.
5. Center again on the gospel’s central benefit: we are put to rights (justified) by Christ, by faith, and not through the works of the law. This is the point of Paul in his toe-to-toe with Peter in Gal 2:15-21. Justification comes by faith in Christ and it does not come by doing the Torah. God knocked down the barrier between the two groups of people, Jews and Gentiles, when he justified us through Christ.
I’ll get to #s 6-9 on Friday.