When it comes to living out your faith, given the option of being too liberal or too legalistic, which would you choose?
The question came up this week as I was reading a post from Trevin Wax. Trevin writes regularly for the Gospel Coalition and he’s one of the guys I read pretty regularly. As he addressed the very real concerns we should have about doctrinal drift in our churches, he made the point that “slippery slopes go more than one way.”
So you know the correct answer to the question, right? If not, Charles Spurgeon can help you. “Of two evils,” he said, “choose neither.”
As much as any of us might try to perfectly walk the path between license and legalism, the reality is that we are all predisposed to lean in one direction or the other. Depending on our temperament and out background, we are all likely to see one approach as more preferable or God-honoring than the other.
Those who grew up in a conservative, legalistic environment and who are prone to challenge authority and press back on rules will likely find it a lot easier to relax and skate over on “grace” side of the pond. Those who have watched people shipwreck their lives by ignoring what the Bible says about holiness or godly living are much more likely to take pride in the fact that they stay far away from sin, thinking that God is much more pleased by their high moral standards than He is with the people who have a beer with their hot dog or who come to church in a tee shirt.
Some of this is probably generational. In my experience, older folks lean toward legalism. Younger folks refuse to get hung up by rules and respond to sin in their own lives or in the lives of others by pointing to God’s grace.
Here’s what we have to understand and embrace. Legalism is just as much an offense before God as license. Self-righteousness is as sinful as libertine living. When the Galatians lapsed into legalism, the Apostle Paul identified their practice “another gospel” and called them out. He even confronted the Apostle Peter for adding any kind of human effort or good works to the finished work of Christ on our behalf. Jesus’ most scathing rebukes were aimed at the self-righteous, legalistic Pharisees.
It may be easy for you to read passages like 1 Corinthians 6 or Galatians 5 where the Bible catalogues “the deeds of the flesh” and pat yourself on the back because you’re not given to these kinds of flagrant sins – sins that make a mockery of the holiness and righteousness of God. But Jesus tells us that as we see these sins on clear display in the lives of others, we need to pause and check for logs in our own eyes (Matthew 7:3-5). Pride, legalism and self-righteousness are just as much an offense to God as anger, murder and adultery.
Read that last sentence again. Do you believe that’s true? If not, read Matthew 23. Jesus had a lot to say to the proud, legalistic, self-righteous spiritual leaders of His day.
Jesus Himself was full of grace and truth (John 1:14). You’re probably prone to lean more in one of those two directions. Believing the gospel helps us recognize our tendencies, and calls us to hate our sin – whether it manifests in us as legalism or as license.
….AT REDEEMER IS GOING TO BE A VERY SPECIAL WEEKEND OF WORSHIP AND CELEBRATION.
On Friday night, April 15 at 7:00 pm, we’ll meet for our Good Friday service.
|On Saturday, we’ll have a Resurrection Rally, featuring an Easter egg hunt. Kids will have a chance to learn the story of Easter in a fun and creative way.|
|Of course on Easter morning, we’ll gather to celebrate the best news ever – Jesus is alive!|
Here are some ways you can start now preparing for Easter weekend.
All three events – the Friday night service, the Saturday Resurrection Rally and our Sunday service provide you with a perfect opportunity to invite someone you know to join you at church. Start praying now for opportunities to reach out to friends or co-workers and bring them with you. With that goal in mind, we’ve printed about 500 invitation cards with information about all three events. I’d love for each person or family to pick up ten of these cards on Sunday at church and think and pray about who to share one with. You may want to put them out in your place of business, in the break room, or find a way to share them with people who live on your street.
Let’s make this Easter weekend the best Easter weekend ever at Redeemer.
If you’d like to help us with the egg hunt that will be part of our Resurrection Rally, bring whatever plastic eggs you have and add them to the collection you see in the lobby at church. Or buy a new bag of plastic eggs and donate them to the effort.
RCCKIDS CONNECT – Thursdays in April!
If you have elementary aged children, mark these dates on your calendar: April 7, April 14, April 21 and April 28. On those four nights in April our elementary aged kids will be learning about the work did on the six days of creation.
Gospel Zone Sunday
|And speaking of elementary aged kids, this Sunday is Gospel Zone Sunday for them. We’ll dismiss them after the singing this week.|
YOUTH BLAST ’22 – Apr 1-3
|The upcoming Youth Blast weekend is going to be epic! Okay, that’s a little over the top, but we do have some big plans for our Junior and Senior High students April 1-3.|
MEN AND FRIENDSHIPS | FIRST TUESDAY
|And don’t forget our First Tuesday get together will happen on April 5 at 7:00. Here’s a link to this month’s syllabus.|
WOMEN’S SPRING GATHERING | APR 25
Note the location. It’s NOT at Maumelle Park. It’s at the Big Maumelle Pavilion inside Pinnacle Mountain State Park. Maps and directions will be coming your way.
This will be a great time of fellowship, spiritual refreshment and encouragement for every woman at Redeemer. Plan now to attend.
|There is one word that the Apostle John uses more often than any other New Testament writer. In the first 11 verses of John 15, he uses this word 10 times. It’s the word abide. It’s at the heart of Jesus’ instructions for His followers before He goes to the cross. So just what does abiding look like? How do we do it? That’s our focus on Sunday. |
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!