Improve your sermon prep with our brand new study tools! Learn all about them here.
Sermons

Summary: Philippians - Manual of Joy The Bondage of Legalism and Freedom of True Righteousness

  Study Tools

Philippians - Manual of Joy

The Bondage of Legalism and

Freedom of True Righteousness

Philipians 3:1-11

David Taylor

Legalism is as deadly as it is dangerous. It brings about spiritual bondage and frustration in the Christian life, it hampers the inner transformation that God intends; and it robs us of both joy and the pleasure of intimacy with Christ. Every one of us . . . is prone to legalism.

Main idea – Put no confidence in the flesh, meaning my goodness or effort or ability gains God’s favor or earns a right standing before God.

Legalism is the tendency to regard as divine law things, which God has neither required nor forbidden in Scripture and the corresponding tendency to look with suspicion on others for their failure or refusal to conform to these things. Legalism in all its forms revolves around salvation and/or sanctification.

1. The Dangers of Legalism (1-2; 5-6)

Paul is harsh because these people are dangerous, peddling a false gospel (Gal. 1:6-10). The root mentality in legalism is putting confidence in the flesh, which is the belief that my goodness or my effort inclines God toward me. We saw that this was Paul’s own mentality before Christ (v. 5-6). The root of all forms of legalism, whether it revolves around salvation or sanctification is unbelief.

 Signs of Legalism  Signs of Grace

o Judgmental picking o Desire to help

o Dishonesty o Vulnerability

o Interpersonal distance o Interpersonal closeness

o External righteousness, conformity o Inner transformation, real change

o Underlying depression o Freedom, thanksgiving

o Drudgery o Rejoicing

o Emphasis on tradition, rules o Emphasis on word

o Death o Life

o Pride o Humility

o Focus on my efforts o Focus on the power of Christ

o Sees God as taskmaster o Sees God as Father

2. Gods Alternative to Legalism (vs. 3-4; 7-8)

Paul is saying that genuine followers of Christ have had their hearts circumcised, have the Spirit dwelling in them working to transform our lives, and put their hope in Christ for salvation (Col 2:11-15). The path to true righteousness is faith in Christ, nothing else. Now notice verses seven and eight. Verse seven starts with a negative particle to emphasize a contrast but then verse eight strengthens the contrast even more with three particles that could be translated, ‘but; on the contrary; also’ to show a strong contrast between putting confidence in the flesh and putting confidence in Christ. Whatever profited Paul prior to Christ he now sees as a detriment), in fact all confidence in the flesh presently is a detriment because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ. He not only rejects everything about his past life that hinders his relationship with Christ but rejects everything in the present that hinders his relationship with Christ. In other words, does this help me gain Christ? He is talking about ridding himself of everything that is a liability spiritually and exchanged that for Christ. He considers putting all confidence in the flesh as dung in order that he may gain Christ (1:21). His greatest desire is to gain Christ, to experience him personally and intimately.


Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion