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Bad Results Of Legalism

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Text: Mark 2:23-28; 3:1-5

Legalism is strict conformity to the letter of the law rather than its spirit. It is also being strict with what the Bible is not strict about. It is also doing what the law requires in order to be saved.

I. Legalism makes a person judgmental – v. 23; 3:2

Legalism makes a person focus on the letter of the law and use it to condemn others without looking first at himself. He becomes a faultfinder.

Jesus’ statement, “Do not judge,” (Matt 7:1-2) is against the kind of hypocritical, judgmental attitude that tears others down in order to build oneself up. It is not a blanket statement against all critical thinking, but a call to be discerning rather than negative.

II. Legalism puts rules above human needs. v. 27; 3:2-4

The Pharisees were so concerned about Jesus’ breaking one of their rules that they did not care about the man’s shriveled hand. What is your attitude toward others? If your convictions don’t allow you to help certain people, your convictions may not be in tune with God’s Word. Don’t allow dogma to blind you to human need.

III. Legalism puts rules above the Lord – v. 27; 3:5

Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath. He is the one who will decide what is allowed and what is not allowed during the Sabbath. Later, we can see in the letter of Paul to Colossians that believers are not required to observe the Sabbath.

Legalism makes a person stubborn. But Jesus wants to show that the Pharisses' petty rules were not equal to God’s law. If he healed the man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, the Pharisees could claim that because Jesus broke their rules, his power was not from God. But Jesus made it clear how ridiculous and petty their rules were. God is a God of people, not rules. The best time to reach out to someone is when he or she needs help.

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