The liberal’s slanderous race card has finally been declined like a maxed-out credit card. But Christians still have to contend with Evangelicalism and big Eva pulling their three favorite misused cards. And they are, you’re a 1) legalist, 2) self-righteous, and/or 3) holier than thou.
There is nothing good about me except the goodness of God and the righteousness of Christ.
But by God’s grace, the elect will be Holy because He is Holy (1 Pet 1:16). And they will exhibit the Lord’s righteousness because Christ imputed His righteousness to them (2 Cor 5:21). They will be imitators of God because of Christ (Eph 5:1-2), or as the Latin phrase said “Imitatio Christi.” Though we fall short. Obeying His Gospel (2 Thess 1:7-9), and keeping His Commandments (Jn 14:21; 15:10), is not legalism. Below is an accurate definition of what legalism is and is not.
“Legalism is not a strict and conscientious life of obedience to the commands of Scripture. Legalism is not pressing Biblical duty upon a person. To expound the Word of God and then apply that word to the hearts and consciences of the people of God is not browbeating and it is not legalism.
Legalism, basically speaking, has three prongs to it. First, it is the mentality of a works righteousness – that is, the idea of my good works earn my salvation or secure my salvation before God. Second, and this is closely related, it is enforcing into practice regulations which God has fulfilled in Christ. This was part and parcel of the Galatian heresy – dietary laws, circumcision, feast days, and sacrifices were added to the work of Christ to ensure that one was truly saved. Third, legalism is when those in authority preach their own traditions in place of the Word of God. In Matthew 15:9, Jesus calls this, “teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
Source: A New Exposition of the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 (Ventura) Page 386
Besides Christ, one of my mentors at large is the Apostle Paul. As Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).
As Octavius Winslow said,
“There is no single practical truth in the Word of God on which the Spirit is more emphatic than the example which Christ has set for his followers to imitate. The church needed a perfect pattern, a flawless model. It wanted a living embodiment of those precepts of the gospel so strictly enjoined upon every believer, and God has graciously set before us our true model.”
Remember, though a Christian is still a sinner, he is also a saint, hence sinner & saint; aka simul Iustus et peccator.