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This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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The Patternists: Am I a Legalist?

patternist-2.pngThe term “legalist” is commonly used by religious people today. It is not a biblical term, so we have to define it either by Webster, or by common usage.

The term is defined as follows by Webster: “an advocate or adherent of moral legalism.” So, to know what a legalist is, we need the definition of legalism. Again, Webster supplies: “strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral code.”

Still, to get a full understanding of what a legalist is, perhaps we can gain insight by examining any antonyms (words that mean the opposite). Interestingly, a search of antonyms at the website: supplied only one word as an antonym to legalist. It is “antinomian”. Webster defines the term: “one who holds that under the gospel dispensation of grace the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation.”

It is peculiar that people are given to such extremes. How is it that an acknowledgement of salvation by grace through faith necessitates (in the mind of so many today) a belief that obedience to God’s will is not required?

I believe the following inspired word from Hebrews 5:8-9, “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”

I also believe what Paul said by inspiration of the Spirit about Christ’s second coming. That He would come, “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

Does that make me a legalist? If so, I confess I am, as I cast my lot with the Holy Spirit!

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