Legalism Says “Do”, Grace Says “Done!” by Ken Legg
Many Christians across the world are now making the transition from legalism into grace. Legalism is the belief that my works are the basis of God’s acceptance and blessing. Grace is the belief that I am always accepted and qualified for every blessing because of the finished work of Jesus.
With legalism the focus is always upon self. With grace the focus is always upon Jesus. Legalism says, “Do”. Grace says, “Done!” There is nothing I can do to make God love me more; and there is nothing I can do that will make Him love me less. This is grace. When we try to relate to God and the Christian life through law-keeping we leave the realm of grace. Legalism nullifies the grace of God.
But not everyone is convinced. Here are some of the popular objections I come across to the grace of God, and how I answer those objections:
- “We all need rules to give us structure and goals, and to lead a better life”
Paul was deceived into thinking this, and it ‘killed’ him spiritually. Rom.7:11
Legalism actually incites us to sin, not holiness. The commandment puts a thought in our mind that wasn’t previously there, so that we obsess over it. And it touches the point of our rebellion. Rom.7:5,8
The Law is good, but our ‘marriage’ to it is bad, because the power-base in this marriage is the flesh, which is weak. Rom.7:18; 8:3. God’s plan for us is not to be married to the Law but to Christ. Rom.7:1-4
- “I believe in grace, but it needs to be balanced”
In other words, grace saves us but works keep us? Having begun in the Spirit are we to be made perfect by the flesh? (Gal.3;3)
What we call balance is really mixture. Rom.11:6
Grace must stay pure in order to be radical and effective
- “Grace is just a license to sin”
No, grace is the only thing that can get us out of sin. It is God’s ability in the place of our inability. It is God’s way of holiness. Rom.6:14
Some people might abuse grace and turn into licentiousness, but true grace is not an encouragement to sin. Titus 2:11-14
- “I believe in grace, but we still have to do our part”
Our part is to believe that Jesus has done it all. John 6:29. Our full salvation is provided by Him.
The Christian lives by faith. Rom.1:17; Gal.2:20
- “But I believe that if you want God’s blessing, there is a price to pay”
Everything that God wants to do in our lives has already been paid for. False teachers try to get you to pay for what Christ has already paid for. Rom.8:32
We are already blessed with all things. Eph.1:3; 2 Pet.1:3
Good works are our free response to what God has done for us. Any works that seek to pay for blessing and favor from God are dead works
- “If there’s nothing I need to do, why should I do anything? Grace takes away the motive for Christian living”
Paul taught grace more than any other, and yet worked harder than all others. 1 Cor.15:10
If the only reason you serve, give, obey, etc. is to receive something from God in return, then grace does not remove the motive for giving, but rather it reveals your mercenary motive!
The only acceptable motive for serving, giving, obeying etc. is love. Gal.5:6