The Detour of Legalism
“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).
Do you find yourself constantly troubled by your sin? Have you created lines in the sand, rules that you feel you must follow to be “good enough”? When we strive to earn God’s acceptance, we are depriving ourselves of the freedom and contentment that Christ has won for us. We are depriving ourselves of the true Gospel of grace, shackling ourselves with legalism and elevating our rules to the same importance as God’s commandments—whether our rules involve moralistic guidelines, worship etiquette, or additional conditions to salvation.
No matter how well-intentioned our man-made rules may be, they are inferior to God’s commandments. When we follow our faulty human thinking instead of God’s perfect ways, we will find ourselves headed for discontentment.
We can never live up to our own harsh standards. We fail every time, and when we do, we lose another piece of our joy. Only God’s grace gives us the peace of salvation—not God’s grace plus our church attendance or our charitable activities or our social status, family, or friends.
Jesus did it all on the cross. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Has a legalistic mindset shifted your focus from God’s grace to man-made rituals and rules?
Prayer: Father, I realize how easy it is for me to fall into the trap of legalism. Thank You for Your grace. Help me to be on guard against legalism in my life, allowing You to sanctify me from the inside out instead of trying to change myself from the outside in. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.