Legalism breeds a sense of entitlement that turns us into complainers. —Tullian Tchividjian
Most cults are masterful when it comes to mixing law into grace. And they make it sound so good. They tell you they have the “complete gospel,” that they have the “full gospel,” and that they have “progressive revelation.” The bottom line is the same message:
“Jesus? Yes! But you also need to…” “Grace? Yes! But you also need to…” Yeah, that’s the mantra of grace-destroying heresy. Adding requirements to the Gospel implies that grace is not crucial and Christ’s work is not sufficient. Paul sounds the alarm:
If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! (Galatians 1:9)
But adding requirements to grace and Jesus’ work is rampant within the core of our church communities too, more so than we care to admit! The theology of the misguided becomes our biography anytime we buy into the lie that we can march in a way that improves our position with God. How might we do this?
- Listening to the right music
- Wearing the right clothes to church
- Adopting a certain political agenda
- Serving the poor
- Getting a theological education
- Serving on committees
- Abstaining from alcohol or drugs
- And on, and on, and on…
Don’t get me wrong. All things can be for good, but only if they are an extension of grace and the power of the Holy Spirit living through us. Otherwise, it’s just legalistic works that pollute the power of the Gospel in your life by mixing two things that never belonged together: Law and grace.
Oh Jesus, by the power of Your Spirit in me right now, show me the good things I am doing for the wrong reasons. Show me where I am still trying to earn favor with You by my works rather than dancing in the freedom of Your Spirit and letting Him work through me. Thank You. Amen.