7 Characteristics & Beliefs of Moralists


In Matthew 12:1-21, the Pharisees interaction with Jesus over Sabbath regulations show their moralistic tendencies. Based on their interaction, here are 7 characteristics & beliefs of Moralists.

7 Characteristics & Beliefs of Moralists

(1) Moralists believe they can work their way to God (2; 7).

(2) Moralists believe they are free, but are really in bondage (2; 9-14).

(3) Moralists miss out on the teachings of Jesus and true salvation/rest (11:28-30; 12:18-21).

(4) Moralists are merciless (9-14; 20).

(5) Moralists are selfish (9-14).

(6) Moralists perform because they are forced (2).

(7) Moralists are strongly resistant to change (14).

Question for Reflection

  1. Are you a Moralist?



Post adapted from my most recent sermon: Rest Not Works

6 thoughts on “7 Characteristics & Beliefs of Moralists

      1. Joe G.

        For example, you are talking to someone, and you think, oh this person is a moralist. What is something a moralist typically do and say to show themselves?

        1. Joe,
          Thanks for the clarification.

          Here is an example of moralism: If I were talking to someone about salvation, and I asked them why they obey God’s commandments. If there response was because they need to earn their salvation. Or they need to pay Jesus back for His sacrifice. Or they obey so God will accept them. Those answers would make me think they were a moralist.

          Basically, if someone obeys in order to earn or gain acceptance with God, or to receive salvation, I would say they are a moralist. They don’t understand the gospel. They are trying to work their way to God instead of placing their faith in Jesus’ sacrifice.

          In reality, moralism is more a heart attitude than actions. Both the Christian and Moralist will most likely do the same things. Their motivation for why they do them is different. The Christian obeys for God’s glory, out of Gratitude and love for God. The Moralist obeys to gain something – salvation, health, wealth, etc.

          I hope that answers your question.

          Casey Lewis

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