Friday, February 11, 2011

Don’t Become Distracted by Legalism

Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.  –Romans 14:16-18 (KJV) 

I have devoted a great amount of time over the years to preaching and teaching about the difference between being under law and being under grace.  As followers of Jesus Christ we are under grace.  That does not mean for a moment that we discard the law and commandments of the Bible, for by them we learn of the holiness of God.  The law clearly shows us our need for a savior, and the one who was able to fulfill the law through His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection, is Jesus Christ. Through Him the law and all its righteous requirements have been fulfilled, and if we are in Christ through faith, then those righteous requirements have been fulfilled in us as well. 

Being under grace, however, does not mean that we are free to simply do whatever we want or to rebel against God without consequence.  The Word of God says in Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”  The grace of God is not a license to sin – not for a moment.  Rather, we are called to live lives of holiness and righteousness before God.  Pursuing such a lifestyle leads to the peace of Christ reigning in our hearts, for we then have the light of Jesus shining from us to a lost and troubled world.  We aren’t perfect, but we are forgiven, and God is not finished with us yet. 

All this talk about grace leads us to another consideration; do not get all hung up on legalistic issues that in the broad scheme of things make no difference and will only distract is from the greater work of sharing the gospel with others.  Will we argue about trivial points of religious preference or practice?  Will we waste time bickering about the clothes we wear or the food we eat?  Shall we be divided over whether the pastor wears a tie or not?  Will we set a dress code in the church that might exclude the poor and needy that possesses no better clothes to wear?  Will we condemn the one who chooses to abstain from meat, but chooses instead to be a vegetarian?  As the Bible reminds us, “…the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” 

Brethren, let us fix our eyes on Jesus and tell a lost world that He is the way to salvation.  Let nothing stand in the way of our Great Commission to go and tell about the love of Christ.   

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