A Note about Legalism

Posted on May 1, 2015 by


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For those of you from a more legalistic background or who tend to be overly sensitive to false guilt – I believe we have freedom in Christ to wear or not wear makeup and to determine how we dress and how we do our hair and whether we wear jewelry or not – these are gray areas. We are always tempted in our flesh to lean toward legalism or toward worldliness rather than being Spirit-filled and Spirit-led.

  • Legalism dishonors God and puts the emphasis on our “works” rather than God’s grace – as if we have to earn God’s love. It drives us to do things out of fear, shame, or guilt.
  • Worldliness dishonors God and puts the emphasis on friendship with the world rather than friendship with God and promotes disobedience to and rebellion against God – driving us to trample on the holy, sacred blood of Christ and to treat the precious things of God as cheap. Worldliness drives us to enjoy sin at the expense of Christ.

Some churches try to make strict rules about external things – but these are areas that the Bible doesn’t speak much about. makeup is mentioned 3 times in passing. But there is no command about not wearing makeup. There are commands about modesty, humility, not dressing like men (in the Old Testament), and against vanity, pride, putting faith in money rather than God, and dressing extravagantly. But these external things are matters of personal conviction. I don’t ever want anyone to feel forced by anyone else – including myself – into a specific decision.

These are topics about which we can each pray and seek to honor God in the way we believe is best. There are biblical principles that cannot change – things God clearly labels as sin. But there are gray areas and areas of preference that are an individual thing. (We will talk more about this Monday.)

I don’t ever want to create angst for one of my sisters when I explore a topic or create false guilt or make women think they have to follow a bunch of rules.

The posts I shared this week are just about how I occasionally ask God to help me examine my motives about various things. Makeup is a small issue. People will have different convictions here – and that is totally okay.
My goal is for us to do what we do out of freedom, faith, love for God, love for self, and love for others – not from a sinful motive, guilt, fear, or shame. If you are feeling a lot of guilt or shame about issues like makeup or external things, let’s talk about that!

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