I pose the following questions to the Christians. Non-believers are free to join but please keep it civil.
What is the difference between Law and Legalism?
What is the difference between Law and Grace?
What is the difference between Legalism and Grace?
Which one saves?
And let's not get into any great, page long, theological explanations, though a verse or two to support your position might be helpful.
Well, I'll try. The law is God's word. It is the standard to which we are all measured. Legalism deals with anything that is legal--having to do with the law, being part of the law, within the law, etc. Grace is God's free gift, that we did not earn, that we don't deserve. I would associate legalism with being within the law, and having legal right. At the end of the day, Grace alone saves. But we must keep to the law.
Isn't that a total contradiction?
Grace was manifest because we can't keep the law.
Personally, I think we are only expected to keep one law, and that is LOVE.
To those stuck within the law, grace becomes most relevant.
But to those beyond the law, both law and accompanying grace is made redundant.
The law of love, is above all.
Although used in different ways throughout the bible, generally in these conversations law refers to the old testament law, which acts as a schoolmaster, further exposing our need of salvation.
Legalism is the belief we can earn or somehow maintain that salvation through keeping the law, even though we are clearly told no man is saved this way. Being guilty of transgessing any part of the law is the same as falling short of it all. No amount of right behavior going forward can erase the wrong.
Grace is the free, unmerited forgiveness afforded by Christ's atonement for our sins. This free gift, available to all, is the only provision for salvation.
False gospels intermingle grace, faith, law and works, undermining what Christ has earned and offered in favor of man arrogantly thinking he can pay his own way. Doing so in whole or in part is to reject the gift of salvation, or as I've heard it put, tell God "I've got this".
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