How quickly we drift from this essential message! We begin basing our relationship with God on our performance. We want to substitute our works — our Bible reading, our church attendance, our church participation — for Christ’s finished work. We easily fall into the subtle but serious trap of legalism, because every one of us has a legalist lurking within. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, here is how I like to define legalism: Legalism is seeking to achieve forgiveness from God, justification before God, and acceptance by God, through our obedience to God.