Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The consistent record of the Bible is that legalists despise the message of grace. The most religious people of Jesus’ time were the Pharisees. It was this ultra-conservative troupe of zealots who could not, and would not, allow the king of human self righteousness to be dethroned.There are two turns of phrase there that I find wonderful.
"...despise the message of grace." What a wonderful litmus test! Grace should make us a bit uncomfortable. When we receive it we should feel unworthy. When we hear it, it should test our self-righteousness. When we dispense it, it should be slightly beyond what we think we are capable of. And if we find ourselves despising it in any of those settings, it is time for a careful self-examination.
"...not allow the king of human self righteousness to be dethroned." This I love because it so wonderfully expresses what grace is really about. If we find ourselves having to undergo the self-examination I recommend in the above paragraph, this is what we are looking for. Who is on the throne?
I prattle on here a great deal about better lives - changed lives. Discipline is a part of achieving that, but it is so easy for discipline to sink into legalism. The line is very thin. A transformed person and a legalist will behave, on the surface, very much alike. The difference is in who is on the throne of their lives, which is expressed not in what they do, but in how they do it.
Are you uncomfortable with grace - good. Do you dislike it, take a close look at yourself.