Colossians 2 20-23

Legalism, one of our best dressed but most dangerous sins. It is one of the two paths to
hell, one is antinomianism/law breaking; the other is legalism. Our relationship with law is a
very uneasy one. As human beings we are born in Adam, we are born into a covenant of
works. Adam was put under probation and under law, by obeying the law of God He could
have won for Himself and the human race the right of access to the tree of life and God’s
Sabbath Rest. Instead He condemned instead of saving us, and we were cast out of the
garden and into sin. As human beings we all still have the law of God written on our hearts,
this means we know what the right thing is to do; but because of Adam’s failure there is this
this drive in all of us to work for our salvation woven into the desire to pursue the good.
The law of God which represents God’s righteousness is on the one hand the proper path
that defines the good and we know we ought to pursue it, this unfortunately is undermined
by our sinful hearts who seek to throw off God’s authority and live by our own authority;
and yet on the other hand law becomes a terrible yolk that we afflict ourselves and others
with. The law is something like nuclear fusion, something that we can use for great good
and great evil. Legalism is our misuse of this law. Legalism is especially a pet sin for the
religious. Legalism is able to dress up and look like false religion. It always wins when the
contest is between sin and a man-made set of rules seeking to honor God and find
salvation. It is the wrong way of doing the right thing. Jesus confronted and exposed
legalism in the Pharisees and so should we. Legalism is the devil’s and fallen man’s anti-
gospel. It is one of the greatest killers as something that is good and given by God is used
by man to separate people from God. Today I would like to shine a light on our hearts to
see where this poison lies within us. Every person here today has an inner Pharisee, we are
all judges who consider others sins greater than our own, who have opinions about how
people need to be good by doing what we think the right thing is. We have all wrestled with
bound consciences, feelings of condemnation, and added laws to God’s laws. More
insidiously some of us may even have a twisted version of the gospel.