Monday, January 12, 2009

Got Legalism?

Our lives in Christ are not about dos and don’ts; they are about being in Christ!

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus Christ is sufficient for salvation and daily life—no added ingredients or rules are needed. In fact, the message of our new Bible study is about that adding anything to God’s Work and Word neuters His Message and Work in our life. The only thing we “put in” to build faith and fruitfulness is our knowledge and growth in Him.

The Colossians were like any church or Christian group that tends to take on its surrounding societal characteristics and customs. We have to be careful that our church’s values and wants can mimic its cultural environment as it did for these Colossians. Thus instead of being a light to darkness or salt, we build a wall of legalism that is also separatism.

Legalism and being bonded to a set of human rules and regulations and thinking we are honoring God’s precepts, when in fact we are disobeying Him.

Legalism even affects our worship. God desires the fruition of our will to truly, sincerely, and lovingly offer up our worship of Him, but when we do it out of obligation or routine or put in our own rules, it becomes meaningless and even repugnant (Matt. 15:9)! Our Worship of Christ must be sacred, heartfelt, and genuine, with never an afterthought, routine, whim, or a series of meaningless rhetoric or ritual. Nor is true worship about seeking our needs, desires, or inserting our presumptions or expectations or procedures or regulations; rather, real worship is respect and reverence for our Lord God, the way He wills and instituted it. True worship is a matter of our hearts, not our will. The will is to be surrendered, and the heart is to be opened and given to Christ. Never forget: He is the Sovereign Lord (Isa. 29:13; Matt. 6:16-18; 15:9; Mark 7:7-8)!

We need to beware of the problem and lure of legalism. We think the gospel of grace is too simple, and perhaps in logic and reason it is. However, thinking we have to add to it is insanity. Legalism substitutes what is great with what is fleeting. It robs what our God has freely given; it replaces our spiritual nourishment and liberty in Christ with junk that is empty and fleeting. It is defrauding as it puts a price tag on the purchase of our soul that Jesus has already paid for. Legalism wants to steal from us and then continue to extort us like a mobster seeking protection money. We are never to live by religious traditions and obligations when we have liberty in Christ. We are not to seek new or exciting teachings when they do not line up to His already stated precepts. Rather, we are to live in His grace and add nothing of ours into it.

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At 10:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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