Our Pastor, Tim Senn, has been going through the book of Galatians. Paul was writing the the churches of Galatia because some Jews had crept in to tell the Christians that salvation in Christ alone was not enough. They were saying that other things, mainly circumcision, needed to be added to the work of Christ. These Jews were trying to be bring these believers back into a bondage that was not theirs anymore because of faith in Christ. Throughout the book we have heard much between what faith in Christ means compared to legalistic religion. Recently in a blog post Tim laid out a few things from that list:
The legalist thinks of God as a harsh task-master to serve. The Christian thinks of God as a loving Father to trust.
The legalist takes great pride in their morality and good works, and is very judgmental toward those who are not as ‘righteous’ as themselves. The Christian is painfully aware of his or her sins and sinfulness, and knows that they only reason they are accepted by God is on the basis of His grace.
The legalist measures their spirituality and relationship to God upon external actions and behaviors – the measure is performance. The Christian measures their spirituality and relationship to God based upon faith – measured by grace motivated obedience and spiritual character qualities and attitudes that can only be produced by the Holy Spirit of God!
The legalist looks at the commandments of God as burdensome and oppressive, which is why they “water” down the requirements. But the Christian does not view God’s commandments as burdens to bear, but desires to please God and bring Him honor and glory.
The legalist focuses upon the external rules and regulations. The Christian focuses upon the heart and the motives. We desire to serve God – to know God – to love God and His people.
The legalist can produce “children” – Ishmael’s just like themselves – but only God can produce a Christian, because only He can give new life!