20th November 2016

Don’t be Fooled by Legalism! 

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:6–8 (NIV UK)

A few years ago, Twitter offered users US customers the option to upgrade their accounts to a “Premium version.” For five dollars a month, Premium Twitter users could have access to all the vowels in the English alphabet. Sounds crazy, right? But as I started scrolling through the feed, I looked at the date on my computer—April first! And I realised I’d been April fooled by Twitter. Twitter’s upgrade was just a funny joke, but I know that there are lots of ways we can actually fool ourselves into thinking we need to upgrade our relationship with Christ by buying the ‘legalism package’.

All Christians would agree that we need a saviour and that our salvation comes by God’s grace alone. But once we get past that initial mercy, some of us slip into the idea that we need to “maintain our salvation” by living under a rigorous code. We buy into the idea that our continuing in salvation is dependent on what we do after accepting God’s grace. But when we do that, we’re kind of like that version of Twitter on April Fool’s Day—we’re communicating, but we’re not getting all the vowels. We’ve left behind what is crucial to our ongoing life in Christ, under his grace.

When we try and add to what Christ has already done, we start living our life without a crucial part of the Gospel. In English, it’s impossible to write most words without using a vowel. God’s grace is the same way—it’s impossible to live life without it. But unlike the Twitter twist, an upgrade to that ‘premium grace’ can’t be earned and doesn’t need to be paid for by our efforts. Christ offers his mercy to us freely for life. How we enter into the Christian life is how we continue: having faith in his grace for all things.

Our continuing life of obedience under his Lordship, living according to his teaching, flows out of that same ‘relationship of trust’ that we began with. Our transformation into the likeness of Christ is a gift of the Holy Spirit received by faith. Our salvation and deepening trust and living communion with God come with freely given, lifetime, upgrades; it’s all part of the full package. So not just when April Fool’s Day comes around but at all times, keep your eyes open and your ears sharp—and don’t fall for that old legalism joke!

Most Holy God, what you have proposed and carried through as the means, the only means of bringing humanity to you, is truly incredible. You have done it all; all you ask of us is to believe, and then follow through that faith with conviction. We ask always that you will keep us aware, very aware, of your love for us, despite what we were and largely still remain—very human. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach


About the Author: joeandtammy
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA.

You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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