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"Legalism" has become the all-purpose evangelical retort to any mention of holiness, obedience, or good works. It's a potent scare-word, and legitimately so. I don't want to be a legalist. I hate legalism. I hate every expression of legalism. Legalism, as defined in Galatians 5:1, is the error of abandoning our liberty in Christ in order to take on a yoke of legal bondage. To the legalist, good works are necessary to earn God's favor.
I have no sympathy with those who believe the person with the weakest conscience (or the Bible college with the strictest rules) should get to define holiness for everyone. I'm quite happy to let Scripture set the parameters of sanctification. And where Scripture is silent, I think we should be, too. The principles of Romans 14 are sufficient to cover questions that Scripture doesn't answer either expressly or by giving us clear principles that may be deduced by good and necessary consequence.
So I deplore every hint of legalism, and I want to make that clear...