Are you a legalist? The answer may surprise you. I have never met a legalist who believes that they are a legalist. Legalism fosters pride and self-righteousness in a person and therefore it’s hard for a legalist to repent because they believe they are standing for truth. As Believers, we have been set free from sin, but not from ignorance.
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.” - 2 Corinthians 13:5
Here are 8 questions to help you see if your heart is bent toward legalism...
1. Do you keep records of your service to God?
- Example: Older brother in the story of The Prodigal Son. He kept a religious resume and thought the Father owed him because of his service.
2. Is it important to you that other people know how much you do for the Church?
- Legalism wants to be noticed.
3. Do you tithe down to the last penny yet struggle with generosity?
– Legalism is calculated Christianity, it measures everything. The problem isn’t with tithing, it’s once you have paid the tithe, thinking the rest belongs to you.
4. Do you apply the sermons you hear to someone else?
– When you are self-righteous, conviction doesn’t apply to you.
5. Are you “concerned” about people who don’t have the same disciplines that you do?
- Legalists only see black and white and they struggle with grey areas. Example: Drinking alcohol. Scripture doesn’t tell us that we shouldn’t drink, it just tells us not to get drunk.
6. Do you often get into arguments about the Bible?
– A legalist will not let what they perceive to be an error pass them by. Example: The Pharisees condemned Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath.
7. Do you have a hard time forgiving the failures of others?
– Legalists love the idea of penance.
8. Do you use the Scripture to tell God what He can or cannot do?
– God will not violate His word but He will gladly violate your interpretation of it.
Repentance is a gift from God! The purpose of this test is to set people free from the bondage of legalism, not to condemn anyone. If you are struggling with legalism, repent and be set free by turning to Jesus Christ.
*Not all of these questions originated with me but were compiled from a number of different sources on the Internet.