Be free from legalism

March 17, 2017
…we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand… -ROMANS 5:2
A lot of us are struggling under legalism even though we speak of living by grace. We’re trying hard to keep the rules, assuming that God will reward our good behavior and (hopefully) overlook our mistakes. I’ve been a dedicated rule-keeper myself. My mom and dad taught me some basic rules, and most of them were excellent—right over the plate. But they’re not biblical, and they have nothing to do with my standing before God. They taught me everyone needs a solid eight hours of sleep each night. When you get up in the morning, you brush your teeth. And do the same before going to bed. Before you eat a meal, you wash your hands. Period. And when you pray, you must close your eyes. Once a visiting pastor spoke in our small church, and when he prayed, he did not close his eyes. (I peeked.) I decided that either he was a phony, or that this particular “eyes-closed” rule might not be of the iron-clad variety. 

Too often we define Christianity by a list of arbitrary do’s and don’ts, reducing a relationship with God through Jesus Christ to an exercise in rule-keeping. But God cannot be put into a box. He’s much, much bigger than that. And His grace is super-abundant. Make no mistake. We stand right before God not on the basis of our ability to keep an exhaustive list of rules, but on the rock-solid reality of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. When we place our faith in Him, His grace “covers” us, and His righteousness becomes our own.