Preaching pure grace makes everything of Jesus and nothing of man. Grace takes control away from us and forces us to live in the place of constant faith. Some men don’t like that. Truth is God never intended us to be in control. Controlling things is His role, not ours.
The book of Galatians exposes the most popular substitute for spiritual living that we have in our churches today…legalism, living under the law. Millions of believers think they are spiritual because of what they do and what they don’t do, or because of the group they belong to or the leader they follow.
The Lord shows us in Galatians how wrong we are…and how right we can be if only we would give up control and let the Holy Spirit be in control. When we give control to the Holy Spirit, there will be freedom not bondage, cooperation not competition, glory to God not praise to man. The world will see true Christianity, and the lost will come to know the Savior living His life in and through His body of believers, and they will be drawn to Him in us. That is the mystery. (Col 1:27)
Legalism leads to some very odd but logical conclusions. Legalism as a means of control, teaches that Jesus gave you a standing with God, but it’s your job to keep it. It further teaches that the gift was free, but it is up to you to hold on to it through performance. Actually, under legalism you would be performing much harder than you would be in any religion because the standard which is Jesus Christ is much higher. And Jesus is the only one who can keep that standard.
If you are a born again believer, you have been given the very nature of Jesus Christ.
(II Peter 1:4). You have been “created in righteousness”. (Eph 4:24) It isn’t up to you to improve yourself, but instead to recognize and appropriate the truth concerning your new identity. For years I believed that we should strive toward becoming more righteous by doing the things I believed were expected of us by God. But the fact is there is nothing we can do to become more righteous. It has all been taken care of by Jesus Christ. Our place is simply to receive His gift and then rest in the reality of His indwelling life.
There is only one who has ever lived the Christian life and there is only one who ever will. His name is Jesus and He will live His life in and through His body of believers by grace through faith, not by our works lest any man boast.
“But don’t we have to do our part?” the legalist will ask. Of course we do. Our part is to trust and obey. It isn’t a passive life style at all. If you think it is, I challenge you to try it. Trusting continues to be one of the most challenging aspects of our faith. It is easier for us to do something, to do anything, than to trust. We’re like Abraham, when he thought going to Haggar made more sense than waiting on God to give him a child.
Or we are like Peter chopping off a soldier’s ear, blind to the big picture. Do something, even if it’s wrong. That fits more comfortably for many. However, that isn’t what we’re called to do. We’re called to trust. We act when, and only when, God says to act. Anything more is wasted efforts that fall under the wood, hay and stubble category.
The Christian life isn’t a test, it is a rest! Rest = spirited directed activity. Jesus died for us to give His life to us to live His life through us. That’s why we’re called the body of Christ. Get it? “It is for freedom that Christ set us free!” Rest in the Way, the Truth and the Life. It doesn’t get any better than that. Glory be to God!
I thank and praise God every day for your prayers and financial support as you partner with Growing in Grace for the glory of God. You’re the best! Thank you for your faithfulness.