Why Grace Works and Legalism Doesn’t

A British naturalist who calm animals for zoos, Gerald Durrell, tells how he captured a amount of African birds and baby mammals. He kept them in cages for several weeks. At one point, due to political turmoil, he could not consign the animals to Britain and was affected to chargeless them.

He opened their cages to absolution them. To his surprise, some banned to leave. They had become adequate there, nourished and cloistral from predators. He resorted to acclaim prodding them out with a stick. The moment he stopped, they went aback in their cage.

Durrell was answerable to abort their cages to anticipate the animals from staying. They had absent their aftertaste for freedom.

So it is with some Christians. They adopt the defended borders of rules, alone to absence out on a apple of adventure.

Every man harbors a Pharisee in his heart, empiric the radio preacher. Debris of bribery abide as continued as we live, and generally accomplish legalism.

Legalism is the accepting we get appropriateness by afterward rules.

Like the Galatians, some accept we are justified by accepting but all-powerful by law. Paul protests,

Are you so foolish? Afterwards alpha with the Spirit, are you now aggravating to attain your ambition by animal effort? Galatians 3:30

The added day I capital something. I anticipation to myself, I’ve been acceptable lately. God will apparently accordance me what I ask. A moment later, I accomplished I had collapsed into a cerebral trap. Legalism assumes God rewards me for my own righteousness. You old Pharisee!, I thought. You advise adroitness and again accept God ability absolve you on the area of your own goodness.

Why do we backsliding into such snares?

A attenuate drive for self-validation remains. Our old attributes is ego-centered. This feeds appropriate into legalism. Man feels the appetite to supplement Gods law. We advance new rules afar from those God gave. Urging others to accede lends an apparition of authenticity.

The legalism misses the point: Self is the problem.

Attempting appropriateness by rules alone strengthens our autonomy. This in about-face leads to added sin.

Are rules bad?

No. However, rules can never aftermath righteousness. The Ten Commandments are accurate to this day.

  • We sin by breaking them
  • Nevertheless, they are blank to accomplish us righteous.

Legalism does not put the brakes on our animal nature.

The affidavit is in the way legalists amusement chargeless people.

Grace succeeds in our sanctifying advance because it is based on a relationship with Christ. He is not alone acceptable but aswell indispensable.

  • He is not a supplement to our righteousness.
  • He is our righteousness

Some abhorrence abandon in adroitness may advance to a apathy of the all-powerful law. The adverse is true. We acquisition ourselves afterward Christ added closely, who is consistently in accordance with the all-powerful law.

Here’s the biblical pattern:

For the adroitness of God that brings conservancy has appeared to all men. Titus 2:11

  • First, adroitness brings salvation. We do not accompany it to ourselves. What then? Does adroitness say, I started you on the appropriate path. The blow is up to you.?

It teaches us to say no to anger and animal passions, and to reside self-controlled, cocked and godly lives in this present age, verse 12

  • Once adroitness brings salvation, it charcoal to teaches us godly living. Any who betoken that adroitness equals abandon to sin, are calling bender by the amiss name.
  • When we abound in grace, we become added chargeless and beneath libertine.
  • Grace allows us to appetite in our accepting with God, as against to the administrative simple achievability of a approaching acceptance.

Legalists accept they accept all-powerful authority

The legalist is assertive he is continuing durably on the ascendancy of the all-powerful law. Instead, he has one bottom on the law and the added on the debris of his own base nature. This is glace ground. Neither bottom is buried on the accepted appropriateness of Christ. The sins of pride, self-righteousness and judgmentalism accept a foothold.

Laws consistently aftermath added laws, not added righteousness.

They accumulate like bacilli in a petri dish. This is why Jewish Rabbis, not agreeable with Old Testament law, wrote the Talmud, a set of volumes accretion the law to the admeasurement of an encyclopedia.

Legalists brainstorm they are mature

Freedom is an cryptic concept, catchy to define. Where does abandon end and authorization begin? Laws are accurate while attempt are ethereal. Accouchement crave rules due to their abortive faculties. As they mature, they accept the principles.

Paul alluded to this,

Therefore the law was our babysitter to accompany us to Christ, that we ability be justified by faith. But afterwards accepting has come, we are no best beneath a tutor. Galatians 3:24, 25

We can abide accouchement led by a babysitter if we choose. Or we may be free, complete adults acting on principle.

Accept him whose accepting is weak, after casual acumen on arguable matters. Romans 14:1

The legalist is a airy weakling. Like a harbinger man propped up by sticks, so the legalist backdrop himself up by petty rules. Admitting he thinks he is strong, he is traveling nowhere.

Rules are like axle for architecture a wall. Once the bank is congenital and can angle on its own, the axle is no best needed.

Legalists accept accurateness is holy

Since you died with Christ to the basal attempt of this world, why, as admitting you still belonged to it, do you abide to its rules:”Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on animal commands and teachings. Such regulations absolutely accept an actualization of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their apocryphal abasement and their acrid analysis of the body, but they abridgement any amount in abstinent animal indulgence. Colossians 2:20

Religious accurateness usually makes things worse. Paul had been a austere Pharisee, so he knew the legalist mindset. Being added austere equals added sin. Why? Because the power of sin is the law. It is the accessory on which the animal attributes depends in adjustment to plan at abounding capacity.

God’s risk

You, my brothers, were alleged to be free. But do not use your abandon to allow the amiss nature; rather, serve one addition in love. Galatians 5:13

Live as chargeless men, but do not use your abandon as a camouflage for evil; reside as agents of God. 1 Peter 2:16

Free from what? From rule-based righteousness. Humanly speaking, God takes the accident that we ability corruption our abandon to allow the flesh. If this were not so, these warnings would not be in scripture. The warnings are affidavit of how just chargeless we are.

Should we abhorrence we ability corruption grace? That’s like a doctor saying, I’m giving you a decree but be accurate because it ability accomplish you overlook you are sick. This is absolutely what the decree is advised to do.

A acquaintance said, If you are not adequate your freedom, again you charge to allocution to the Lord because you accept a problem.

If the Pharisee in our hearts has his way, he will bind us and that is no fun. Worse, he will use us to bind others.

As continued as we are in the flesh, we will be at war with him. Do not let him win.