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.
So, what can we do?
6. We need to learn how to read the Bible through the lens of the Abrahamic promise instead of the Mosaic Torah. Paul’s most complex section, chps 3-4, is taken up with learning how to read the Bible all over again. What does he say?
* He says we need to remember that we were empowered at the beginning, not by Torah works but by faith: 3:1-5.
* He says God.justifies.all.by.faith: Gal 3:6-14.
* He says the Law came after the promise and didn’t undo the promise: Gal 3:15-25.
* He says the ground is level at the foot of the cross: we are all children of God: Gal 3:26-4:7.
* He says there is a theologizing way of seeing Hagar and Sarah as symbols of slavery and freedom (4:21-31).
This is how to read the Bible. It makes all the difference in the world.
7. We need to listen to the logic of grace: grace needs nothing added. Gal 5:1-6.
8. We need to follow the Spirit: the Spirit can guide us through love. Gal 5:16-26.
9. We need to care for others with pastoral compassion: Gal 6:1-10.