new legalisms: where is grace?

There is plenty of strife and division in the air nowadays, and we who profess to follow and be in Christ ought to be showing a different way. Instead we all too often fall right in with the spirit of the age we live in. But the way of Jesus always contradicts and runs at cross purposes, one might say, with the spirit of the age.

The problem is on every side, and I hear that actual war or armed conflict is in the air, that there could be something of that sort right here in the United States. I imagine that most people who engage in this kind of strife would pooh pooh that notion. And I myself seriously doubt it; let’s hope and pray not. But what we harbor in our hearts sooner or later will spill out into action. It is grieving to see some of the extremes that are out there, though thankfully they seem to be few and far between.

What the world needs, what we need is more and more grace, not to merely look past what we believe is wrong, but to receive the wrongdoer as one to befriend, and bring to Christ, yes, to preemptively forgive whatever might need to be forgiven, even as we’ve been forgiven and continue to be forgiven for our wrongdoing, and what is wrong in us.

The new legalisms that we need to be aware of as Christians is anything outside of the gospel of Christ. We need that very gospel to make judgments on this, and in actuality to judge those things, itself.

What we will begin to find when we begin to see those legalisms for what they are is the grace can come in through the gospel, and begin to make the difference toward what is needed. Not overnight, and there can be fits and starts, and setbacks. But we need to be committed to this first in our own lives within the community of the church, and then also in the lives for each other, for our neighbors, and somehow for the enemy.

We need nothing short of the radical grace of God in the radical good news of God, instead of the new legalisms in which we cut others off because “they” are either “this” or “that” or “something else,” without question a legal mindset, rather than the mindset and life, indeed the faith that comes from the grace-filled, life changing, reconciling gospel/good news of God found in Christ Jesus.

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