Legalism vs “Easy Believe-ism”


We Evangelicals can’t be happy unless we are doing something for God, because then and only then will God smile at us and be happy.  I think a lot of it has to do with how much we despise people getting something for nothing, you know, living off the system. So in our Christian life we need to perform for the Master. And if a person isn’t living up to the American Christian standard they are backsliding, or carnal or even worse a “liberal” apostate.

So, what makes a person a Christian? And what keeps God happy with the Christian? Here is an brief list. See if you make the list!

In the “right” denomination
Reading the “right” bible (KJV baby!}
Only singing 500-year-old hymns or praise choruses from the 1970’s (these are acceptable since they are close to 40 years old)
Wearing the right clothes to church and/or “Modest is Hottest” tee shirts
Don’t drink or smoke or use weed.

Those were easy, now the next require a little more thinking…

Belong to the Republican party or even better be a Tea Partier.
Think Capitalism is from God and the God has a special place in His heart for America.
Wear Christian “witness” clothes and leave Christian tracts everywhere.
Read your Bible every day, having “devotions” early in the morning which is best but at least sometime during the day is acceptable.
Posting verses or pithy christian quotes on Facebook, twitter, tumblr and other social networking so everyone is exposed to the “Word”
Believe in a 6 day young earth creation, Noah’s flood, and the end times Tribulation as postulated by Tim Lahaye and others.
Fast on a regular basis.
Believe absolutely in the inerrancy of the Bible.
Attend church services and only volunteer at Christian organizations.
Only read Christian literature.

Well that is enough. How did you score? Are you a “good christian” or are there things that you need to work on, pray about, and confess.

What if I told you that none of those things make you a Christian, and none of those things keep you on God’s good side, or make Him bless you. What if I told you that none of those things make God happier with you!!! Shocking!!!!! It should be, because for years this is what we have been taught, that somehow God’s pleasure with us depends on us. That is a Lie and that lie has destroyed the faith of many people and their understanding of God. Grace and unconditional love has been replaced with our eternal to do list and we are in bondage to it rather than being free to live and to love God and others.

What makes you a Christian? The Cross of Christ and His sacrifice alone! What keep you on God’s good side and in fact causes God to bless you? Jesus Christ alone. God is not impressed with our duty to Him, but He is satisfied with what Jesus has done for us. If this is easy believe-ism then I embrace it, because without Christ I am pathetically without hope, and so are you.

You cannot add anything to the perfect Sacrifice. To do so is to tell God that it wasn’t enough and you have to do more. That my friends is legalism.


10 thoughts on “Legalism vs “Easy Believe-ism”

  1. Amen! and Amen! and wow – one more, amen. Thanks so much for this awesome post — i.e. the truth of the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To God alone be the glory.

  2. I’m not sure why you would declare Easy Believe-ism synonymous with the true gospel and the antithesis of legalism(?). Both legalism and easy believe-ism are dangerous and declare a false gospel.

    Without a doubt, salvation is 100% Christ’s work and we can add absolutely NOTHING to it. That is not the same thing as Easy Believe-ism.

  3. Hey Mark, I loved that very last line of your post so much, I put it on my favorite quotes thing on FB 🙂 Love the post, and I had John read it too. 🙂

  4. Amen, when we add anything to the Gospel we destroy the Good News.
    yet I think in our discussion we need to define the word “believe.” The Gospel of John makes a point to distinguish between two types of beliefs. The Disciples believe after hearing the testimony of John the Baptist and witnessing Jesus’ glory in chapter 2. At the end of chapter 2, people believe in Jesus, but Jesus does not entrust himself to them. Then in chapter 3 Nicodemus believes Jesus is sent from God and a good teacher, but we are left with the feeling Nic just doesn’t get it quite yet. In chapter 4 we have the Samaritan woman who believes and tells others of Christ. The point of John is for us to experience Christ’s glory and truly believe. Now the question is what does that look like?
    It is probably different for all of us. Did the woman at the well stop living with a man who was not her husband? Or did that take time for Christ’s love to work out in her life?
    What changes in a person’s life when they surrender to Christ’s love and grace may not be what we expect. The Holy Spirit is the One who sets the agenda and is at work in their lives. Perhaps they are beginning to show signs of love, peace, joy, patience, etc. in their lives first.

    to go with what I was saying about faith and belief, here is a few minutes of Dr. Joe Dongell on John:
    http://blogs.asburyseminary.edu/asbury-reader/2011/03/14/delving-deeper-into-the-gospel-of-john-with-dr-joe-dongell/

  5. Amen, Leanne. Saving faith (belief) will produce fruit. The fruit doesn’t save but it gives evidence of salvation. Easy believism is merely a head acknowledgement of truth like what the demons have in James 2:19.

    1. Mike, I am in total agreement with Leanne and you, but I want to quote a particular line from Leanne’s comment because it is critical in our understanding of Christian growth.

      “It is probably different for all of us. Did the woman at the well stop living with a man who was not her husband? Or did that take time for Christ’s love to work out in her life?”

      I love this statment because it leave the work of of sanctification to the Holy Spirit, and not another Christian pronouncing whether or not someone is saved because of their “lack” of fruit.

      Yes there is fruit, and the greatest fruit in someone’s life is unconditional love for all people.

      1. Amen, sanctification is God’s work without a doubt. We cannot sanctify others. That said, I still think easy believism is very dangerous as it evidences a lack of love for God.

        Love for others is a great fruit of the spirit that can’t be missing. I do think a greater fruit, or perhaps the first fruit, is a love for God. That is what stands out even more different from what the world has. The world can and does mimic unconditional love for others in its doctrines of tolerance and acceptance (albeit a poor mimic). I think your thoughts on Lady GAGA’s “love” are a case in point. But, you won’t find the world mimicking a true 100% sold out love for Jesus Christ.

  6. it is good to see the eyes opening around us. I pray that christians will leave the work of the Holy Spirit to the Holy Spirit, and learn to be supportive in a youngling’s walk.

  7. Is that where we are to let go and let God? Thank you for the release of guilt from feeling I don’t do enough for Christ or in His Name. If you were a pastor I would come to your church!!! You put everything so succinctly!! Everytime I see another post I know it is inspired and I can’t wait to read it. Thank you for being true to Christ!!!

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