In religious writings today you read a lot of disparaging comments about the so-called “legalistic patternists” among Christians, with even the label being used as a put down, and I am getting tired of it. So, I want to write something in favor of it. “Progressive” minded individuals, discontent with following the authorized instructions of the Lord as revealed in Scripture, are want to put down those who say there is a pattern we are to follow in Scripture, and that God expects man to observe the law of Christ as best he can. In other words, do everything lawful or legally. Let me just go on record in saying that I am unapologetically a religious patternist and legalist.

I Timothy 1:16 says that God is using the manner He saved the apostle Paul as a pattern for all who come after him. In Romans 6:17 we read that baptism involves an obedience to a form of doctrine. Vine’s Greek Dictionary says that the word “form” there comes from the Greek “Tupos” and means a mould or cast, into which a molten material is poured so as to take it’s shape. Therefore, from the very start, a person in becoming a Christian is a patternist through his immersion in water. You better believe the Holy Spirit has outlined in the pages of the Bible a blueprint of godly behavior for the saints, and they are definitely concerned about following this and all other patterns revealed in the Holy Book.

Now, a word about this business of legalistic. I looked it up in the dictionary and it means “adhering strictly to law”. No, I do not believe for a moment that man is saved by being legal on everything. The Bible says that we all fall short of the glory of God, so no one will be saved if we go that route. On the other hand, to downplay the importance of being lawful or legal is to make a grave error. It is sort of like saying that since none of us can be perfectly Christ like, that it is therefore wrong for anyone to try to be. But, Scripture upon Scripture admonishes us to purify ourselves just as He is pure (I John 3) and to put on Christ and grow into the fullness of His image. Sure, we cannot claim to be legal in everything, if by that we mean sinless, but the Holy Spirit through Paul says, all things are to be lawful (I Corinthians 6:12).

If by legalistic it is meant that I try my best to strictly adhere to the law of Christ, then I plead guilty. I am legalistic and make no apology for being so.

By – Whit Sasser
via the Susquehannah Sentinel 8-14-2005

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