Republishing something I wrote a long time ago, but needed to hear again.
Many years ago, the Lord ministered His grace to me and I was set free from legalism. I’d been saved since I was only four years old and grew up in the church. Somewhere along the way, I bought into the lie that I had to follow a set of rules to earn the favor of God. If I did everything right, I would have smooth sailing. When He set me free, my whole world changed. Reading the Word became a delight instead of a drudgery.
Recently, the Lord in His mercy, showed me that, gradually, I had retreated back into the legalistic cell He’d rescued me from. I’d adopted a "Jesus-plus" doctrine:
- Jesus + daily devotions
- Jesus + a clean house
- Jesus + well-behaved children
- Jesus + being on time for church
These would make me righteous and earn me the blessings/favor that I don’t deserve. I don’t think I’m the only convert of this doctrine. I think that we are attracted to legalism because we like to check boxes. It’s familiar, it’s visible, and it’s easy to apply it to everyone else. If I hold my "what not to do list" up to your life, I might find that you don’t measure up and that would make me feel sooo much better. It’s comfortable. But it’s nowhere near the abundant life that Jesus offers in John 10:10.
The problem with Jesus-plus doctrine is that Jesus plus anything equals bondage; it’s a death sentence. (Gal. 3:10 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse,) Paul said it best, "Oh foolish Galations! Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?!" You can almost here him saying, "REALLY?! How’s that working out for you?" The Word is also clear that "there is no one righteous. No, not one."
It’s Jesus alone that makes me righteous. It’s Jesus alone that gives me life. It’s Jesus alone that sets me free. I don’t have to do anything to earn it. He doesn’t require me to do anything. He just wants me to be. To be, in Him, the woman He’s created me to be. Here’s the kicker: He’s the ONLY one who gets to decide who that is. My fellow box-checkers out there don’t get a vote. My foolish pride doesn’t get to weigh in. Even my dim, limited view of the future doesn’t limit Him.It’s time to stop doing ………………………. and start being!