Legalism

It is so easy to get trapped in the pit of legalism.  Laws are how society works, right?  You don’t do these certain things, and you don’t get punished.  Everything’s good.  You pay your taxes, your debt to society.  You may even do a little community service, some charity work to let everyone know how much you care.  You may be a little shocked to read this, but according to the Bible, all that is worthless in gaining our salvation.  What’s that?  Well, what about the ten commandments?  What about all those “thou shalt not’s” and paying tithe money?  None of those things can bring us any closer to salvation.

As humans, I think it’s easy to be very task-oriented.  We need a schedule, a daily planner.  We need at least a B+ in that class.  We need to spent x amount of time with our children to be a “good father.”  If we just work hard, expect that raise in three months.  You know what?  Give two hundred strangers each a new car, and you’ll be the most respected person in the nation.  Go lock yourself up in a monastery on the top of a mountain, and you’ll be the holiest guy ever.  That’s just how the world works.  It’s all politics: please people, and you win.  But that’s not how God works.

You see, God knows that we can never do enough good things to make up for even one act of rebellion.  He is the sovereign Lord of creation.  We deserve death, so why should He even care how much “good” we do?  He still knows what you do in secret, in your heart.  It is only by His grace that we are saved from death.  It was His choice to show us mercy, and I don’t know about you, but I sure am grateful for that.  Of course, we still shouldn’t sin.  The Biblical law is still there to give us some guidelines, but our righteousness is nothing compared to His holiness.  We can’t make ourselves holy; God is the only one who can.

Trusting in His grace: that’s our only hope for perfection.  Only the blood of Jesus has the power to completely wash away sin.  Our faith, however small and insignificant it may seem, will shine brightest when placed in the ultimate source of light, the Lord God.  The Bible says it best:

“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” -Galations 2:21

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