Shedding the Shackles of Legalism

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Study Introduction

The contrast between the old nature and the new couldn\'t be more stark as we finish up our study in Paul\'s letter to the Galatians. The question we all have to face is: where is our treasure, in this legalistic age, or in God\'s kingdom?

There are two seemingly automatic reactions to seeing sin in the life of someone else. One is to avoid them. The other is to judge. In Galatians 6 we begin to see a third alternative. It\'s harder, but much more loving and effective.

What is God like? Is your opinion of God based on an aloof, disconnected, or angry vengeful powerful being who is stern and judgmental? What would He be like if you ran into Him on the street? It might surprise you, but God is a lot like Galatians5:22-26.

The human mind is self-rationalizing and self-deceptive. Without a guide, we have no idea what is right and good. God\'s Word offers that guide but it\'s more than just reading a guidebook and determining to do better. We need to come to grips with the brokenness in us and God\'s offer of healing on a very deep level.

Being human we are born with certain default settings that drive us to think in certain ways. When we become a Christian a war starts between a new nature seeking to establish a beachhead and take over and the old regime that wants to stay in control.

More times than we would probably like to admit, we slip into legalism. It can happen when God takes too long to answer a prayer, or answers in a way we don\'t expect. We take over the reigns, and it\'s a mistake!

Are you happy with the family you grew up with? Chances are you aren\'t and that even now your vision of family is tainted. But what if you could have the perfect family and perfect relationships? Believe it or not, it is possible, with a family you have been invited to join.

If we\'re not supposed to follow the law to please God, then what is its purpose? Do we ignore it altogether? Paul wants the Galatians to understand the two main purposes of the law.

What do you rely on for how you behave? That might seem like a simple question but who and what influences you can mean the difference between relying on your own abilities or falling on the grace of Jesus. The answer is simple: die!

Without attention and energy, we humans will default back to our flesh pleasing ways even after coming to Jesus. That\'s where the lie of legalism is so pervasive. Paul begins his battle against legalism by contrasting human achievement with grace.