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The Living Waters Podcast

Ep. 101 – Why Legalism is so Destructive

Legalism, in its obsession with obedience to the Law, is often the byproduct of a sincere zeal for God that is lacking in knowledge. Today the guys share and discuss their own experiences, as well as what they have learned about legalism and grace through the years.

Show Notes

In today’s episode, the guys discuss legalism and its destruction. Legalism itself comes in two forms. On one hand are the legalists obsessed with their obedience to the law as a condition for acceptance with God. At the heart of this is the idea that works are a condition for justification. The other kinds of legalists demand that others submit to his own image of what constitutes spirituality and judge those who fail to measure up. It is inevitable that legalism ends up in hypocrisy.

Then, the guys share about their own encounters with legalism. Oftentimes, those who are legalistic are trying to give an outward appearance of piety, holiness and righteousness, but the corruption that is still within ends up coming to the surface in other ways. It is, however, often the byproduct of a sincere zeal for God that is lacking in knowledge. Looking to Christ and His righteousness outs to death any idea that we can gain, earn, prove or pay off the righteousness that has been given to us through Jesus. Legalism comes from a very man-centered way of viewing himself. Legalism forgets about grace and mercy and replaces it with appearance by negating the gospel.

We are so prone to want to demand our own ways and become frustrated when things don’t go according to our own plan. We may often find ourselves in situations where we are demonstrating self absorption, and should recognize that these times should be flipped as an opportunity to demonstrate God’s grace. Next, the guys differentiate between legalism and what isn’t actually considered legalism. Legalism is distorting the gospel by adding conditions to free grace, substituting manmade regulations for the word of God, majoring on the minors and neglecting the more important issues, overconcern with externals while disregarding matters of the heart and regarding with contempt or judgment based on matters of personal conviction. Legalism is not a zeal for the Commandments of Christ, a ministry that teaches others to follow Christ and obedience and having strong personal convictions not required for others. In closing, we are reminded that a part of grace is recognizing that our quality is not based on the output of our performance. When we recognize that the love of God is where our true value lies, we are freed from the need to prove ourselves in life.

We would love to hear from you. How has the podcast encouraged you? Are there any subjects you’d like the guys to cover or questions you’d like them to answer? Email us at and you may hear your feedback and questions quoted on the next episode!

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