There are some preachers that are fairly well known who preach some sort of legalism. Sure, they don’t call it that because legalism is a sort of “dirty word” in Christianity these days (rightly so, in my humble opinion)– yet that’s what it is. It’s not hard to pull verses out of context [or not look at them in the framework of the entire Bible] and make a case for legalism. The problem is it appears to invalidate the finished work of Christ on the cross for us and is in complete disagreement with scripture to make a case that works, along with a saving faith in Christ, are necessary for salvation. Rather than simply sitting at my keyboard, rendering my opinion on the screen, I’m going to offer some Bible verses to back up what I am saying:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. -Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB) This is perhaps the most famous verse often quoted in support of faith in God’s loving grace as the only method of our salvation. It blows a whole in any theory that requires one to do certain things (often under the auspices of some particular religious denomination) to be saved.
At least one well-known preacher I am aware of teaches that, if you are a Christian, in general you do not sin any more– and, if you do, you have somehow “fallen” into it and didn’t do it deliberately. While that statement alone does not indicate a works type of salvation, much of his preaching hints at that. Sadly, such teaching could serve to be a tool of the evil one by rendering believers ineffective if they adopt a “what’s the use?” attitude. Let’s hope they don’t. The blood of Christ forgives our sins past, present and future– if we ask Him.
For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. -Romans 7:15-20 (NASB)