Legalism has done more damage to the Bride of Christ than any sin ever has. Christianity is not a set of rules.
“Oh, but God can’t tolerate the presence of sin!”
No, quite the opposite… as our brother Steve McVey pointed out recently, it is sin that cannot tolerate the presence of God.
When you are “in Christ”, in a two-way relationship with the triune Godhead – a privilege bought for you by Jesus, sin simply becomes less and less important to you over time. It is love, grace and mercy that overtake your soul. This becomes who you are, and what overflows out of you onto the world around you, and everyone in it. This is The Way of the 1st Century church.
When you believe Christianity is a set of rules, and it’s your personal job to define and enforce them, you are overcome with the spirit of legalism. Condemnation spews from your mouth like venom… which is the exact opposite of the spirit of Christ.
In fact, the Pharisees (think of the most judgmental, spiritually dead, narrow-minded person you’ve ever met, multiply that by 20, and seat them in a position of ultimate spiritual power, and you’ve got yourself a Pharisee) were the only people Jesus ever really had a problem with while He was on this earth. Here’s what He said to them:
“You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” ~ Jesus, in Matthew 12:34
Make a loving, two-way relationship with God your focus today. Bathe in the fact that you are loved by your Creator. Not an earthly kind of love, but an eternal, mind-blowing love. Soon – very soon – you will become so full of love, grace and mercy, it will spill out of you onto everyone else around you. You won’t be able to help it – it will become who you are.
Welcome to the Body of Christ.