The Verse that Cured My Legalist Christian Beliefs

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For many years, my in-ness or out-ness varied moment by moment…even second by second based on how well I performed the Legalist dance.

That is until I ran into this verse and it got me all tied up in knots…

“If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:6-7

I didn’t know how to make sense of this one…my belief was that I was “in” until I messed up and then I was “out”. Then I repented and got back “in” again.

Here was my big question on this passage (and maybe you have the same question), “How can I be walking in the light when I need the blood of Jesus to purify my from all sin?” I am either in the light or in sin…so I thought…but this passage has me in the light and continuously cleansed!

Then it hit me…the thought that made it all make sense – the only reason I am walking in the light is because the blood of Jesus purifies me of my sin!

It wasn’t that I am or was denying the reality of my sin (1 John 1 speaks on that directly). It was that the blood of Jesus is more efficacious than my sin! I had it the other way around.


Game changer…legalism over!

The dance was done…the in and out cycle was broken. It wasn’t that I became a universalist…it was that I realized the place of grace and that my in/out was based on the work of Jesus and that I needed that work every single day. It wasn’t that I was in God’s good graces one moment and out the next, it was that He kept me in by the work of Christ even thought I sinned!


Thank you God for this amazing gift!

I hope this helps you if you are wrestling with legalism today and struggle with this same problem in your life.

3 Responses

  1. And here i always thought the text was speaking about those who purposely walked in darkness while claiming to be “light walkers.”
    Thise who habitually did works of darkness, but said it was okay, because the body was nothing. As long as our minds were pure, we could do it all. Those calling the deeds of darkness “light.” And thereby denying the sacrifice made by God.

  2. One of my eye openers came later in that same book. 5:13 where he says, “I write these things to you so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.”
    Eternal life had to be based on Jesus for me to know that I have it.
    I grew up with an insufficient Jesus. He was not enough. Those days are gone. There is nothing now for me to add. None of my sins were ever fixed through acapella music or prayers or church attendance or communion. To add anything to Christ work through the cross is to say that He is not enough.

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