31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
God’s Word tells us that there are many things that slow the forward progress of the believer. Of course, everyone immediately thinks of “sin” which of course would be correct. BUT there is one self-imposed land mine that we often place in our own lives that trip us up – it is found in one word – LEGALISM!
Legalism has encumbered and burdened so many believers in their spiritual walk as a result of placing unnecessary RESTRICTIONS AND/OR REQUIREMENTS upon ones life with the false hope that it is a sign of holiness, righteousness, and worse, these works will lead to salvation.
Hebrews 12:1 NKJV
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Legalism stands in close relationship with Hypocrisy. In fact, some say “hypocrisy” is a natural by-product of being a legalistic person – because no one can ever live up to the unattainable human standard, thus they continue to act ‘holy,’ and are not.
1. Legalism = “Performing good deeds in order to gain righteousness”
This attitude is not only adopted by self but imposed on others!
2. Hypocrisy = “Acting different than who you really are”
Taken from the 1st Century Greek word (hoo-POCK-crit-tase) which was used of an “actor” in a theater; as they would commonly wear masks.
Isaiah 29:13 NLT
And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.”
Grace That Sets Us Free
“No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. ”
1. Rules Over Righteousness
“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”
2. Reputation Over Humility
Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.
3. Popularity Over Truth
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them.”
4. Hypocrisy Over Obedience
45 Then one of the lawyers answered and said to Him, “Teacher, by saying these things You reproach us also.” 46 And He said, “Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.”
5. Attacking Others Over Being Agents of Grace
Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.
6. Having Focus On Themselves Over Focusing On Him
“Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”
Don’t Hate Truth
53 And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, 54 lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him.
God Will Deal with Hypocrisy
1b …”Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.”
God Will Protect the Faithful
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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