“And by that will we have been sanctified
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Last week we looked at “Legalism or Grace”?
We want to continue along that theme with our thoughts today.
Rigid adherence to a list of do’s and don’ts appeals to our pride and self-sufficiency by fostering the myth that if we work hard enough we can earn God’s favor. That’s fear based thinking, but we need to remember what God has called us to as His children.
“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1:7
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18
Legalism is fear that God isn’t big enough to forgive your sins, that unless you do the right thing in the right way at the right time-and do it perfectly-you’re in trouble. Jon Walker writes: “That’s a lie with the smell of hell all over it! When we fear making mistakes we become timid, and limit ourselves from living abundantly. We let…analysis permeate our decisions as we lead quiet, desperate, anti-faith lives, afraid to move with the bold confidence that grace gives us to walk in uncertainty… unafraid of rejection.”
Speaking against works-based religion, Martin Luther said, “Be a sinner and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger…rejoice in Christ…the victor over sin.”
No, Luther wasn’t excusing sin! He was restoring grace to its rightful place, affirming that nothing can separate us from God’s love (See Ro 8:38-39). He wasn’t downgrading the law, He was upgrading grace. Grace means communicating with God and allowing Him to communicate to us through His word.
The truth is, “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” Hebrews 9:24
He freed us to have a relationship with Him without fear of sin separating us.
That’s something we can put our faith in and count on.