Legalism: The Risk of False Binding and Loosing (Mark 7:1-8)
Scripture: Mark 7:1–7:8
The Pharisees were known for their stringent, manmade regulations that they placed around the law of God in order to "fence" people off from breaking the law. These manmade regulations destroyed people's lives by their burdensome requirements, but they also damaged people in an even greater way by promising a false righteousness for the zealous who thought they could live up to them. In Mark 7, Jesus confronts the legalism of the Pharisees by pointing out that they had forsaken God's word for the sake of the tradition of man.
Legalism then is any attempt to morally bind either ourselves or others to what we are not bound morally to do in the scriptures. The only remedy is to insure that we do not exceed what God has commanded in the scriptures by placing requirements upon people that God never did.
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Corinthians 3:17).