Monday, February 21, 2011

Legalism v. Antinomianism

"The measure of righteousness, but not the means of righteousness"

Legalism is the default of all religions. Even mine. I've been there. Following Jesus is different. The Law is still the MEASURE of righteousness, since Jesus (the MEANS) is the only human who ever followed it perfectly, and completely, as a human. Sinful humans (me, for example) cannot follow God's moral law. Our frustration at our obvious failure is what must drive us to Jesus and his complete, sinless perfection before the Law.
Misuse of the Law comes in several forms:
1. If I compare my own transgressions with other humans, it leads either to pride or despair, but never to Jesus.
2. If I ignore God's Law, I thereby create my own law, which I still disobey.
3. If I view the Law as a path to God, I fail. I fail in an especially miserable way if I THINK I followed it, for then I deceive myself much like #2. The legalists and the antinomians make EXACTLY the same mistake. They just look different while they stumble.
Only by turning to Jesus am I freed from the sin which makes Law-following impossible. But the moral law is still holy, righteous, and good, as Paul wrote, and "perfect" as David declared. It's using it as a means to Jesus that is wrong.
Finally, even our reason is fallen and we have a tough time teasing out the moral law from the Old Testament law. It takes work, but it's not really that hard. Anything repeated in the New Testament, like the Ten Commandments, is binding, morally, on Christians today. That includes rules about sex, which go back to Genesis 2--many centuries before the Law was given at Sinai!

David, prompted and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit, said
"The Law of the LORD is perfect."
What part of "perfect" don't some of us get?
Have you never read " we gaze intently into the PERFECT LAW THAT GIVES FREEDOM"
Disobedience is the sign of bondage. Obeying God's Law is the sign of our freedom. By grace, we are freed from sin, and THEN we can freely obey.
I especially recommend "The Prodigal God" by Tim Keller. It is one of the best books I've ever read.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Saying "God is Love"
is very different from saying that "Love is God" (Love being subject to subjective definition.)
It's also very different from "God is indulgent" which, as an overarching attitude, is anything but loving. (Especially if it means unhealthy and indiscriminate giving.) Instead, truly knowing that God loves us, in spite of our very real sin, and at the unimaginable cost of his very own Son . . . THAT is a love worth celebrating.