Legalists try to do two things: 1) play god and 2) compete with God. Matthew 15:1-9 is a clear example of Jesus dealing with legalistic Pharisees. They had their toga wrapped up in a bunch around “the traditions of the elders,” while Jesus emphasized the Word of God. Then we saw eight principles from Galatians how legalists foist themselves on grace-oriented believers. Paul called a spade a spade and named names. Legalists think they are trying to do something good, but they 1) play god and 2) compete with God. Please review those principles below, because it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves with others.
· He mixes human effort with grace Gal. 1:6-9; 2:14; 6:13
· He bullies others spiritually Gal. 2:1-3; 4:29
· He secretively spies out liberty Gal. 2:4
· He wants to look good before others Gal. 2:11-16
· He is in bondage to rules Gal. 4:8-10, 25
· He is antagonistic to believers living grace Gal. 4:16; 5:10,12; 6:17
· His motivation is for personal attention Gal. 4:17; 6:13
· He is critical and judgmental Gal. 5:15
We like what “we do” and if someone else doesn’t do “it,” we have a tendency to judge them through comparison. Paul exhorts us to quit comparing ourselves with others (2 Cor. 10:12) and hence through self-righteousness, we can easily become legalistic.
I encouraged you to use the PAUSE method of approaching difficult relationships gained from the “Resolving Everyday Conflict” Peacemaker Series. Here it is again:
P – Prepare for the difficult conversation
A – Affirm relationships – the person and the problem situation
U – Understand interests – What motivates him/her
S – Search for creative solutions
E – Evaluate options objectively and reasonably
We approach Memorial Day weekend with joy to hear Dave Westin on Sunday as our newest supported missionary, but also heaviness as we remember our fallen heroes who paid the ultimate price. All of our service men and women gave some; some gave all. I thank God for the blood that was shed on battlegrounds all over the world, so that I might have freedom to share the gospel to open hearts. This is a three day weekend, not just to have an extra day for fun, but an extra day to consider, reflect and ultimately give thanks to God for the price that Jesus paid on the battleground called Golgotha. His blood was shed for you.