If not, indeed, through legalism?
So far, we’ve established what exactly legalism is and what it isn’t, and why legalism is bad. Now we’ll discover the only correct way to be right with God: the cross of Christ.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
We know from John that all that’s required not to “perish” is to believe in “him,” i.e. to believe in Jesus. We don’t need to do a dozen “Spiritual things” a day to be right with God. Neither do we need to dig our own way out of the hole we’ve created. Rather, all we need is a child-like faith in Christ; all we need is to believe that a rescue team is coming to pull us up and out of the hole.
The only true way to be right with God is through “the way” that God created, not the way that we attempt to create:
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:5-6)
What is the way to the Lord? His son. It’s so simple; that sometimes our pride has a hard time accepting it. Our pride is the real problem here: it’s the thing that keeps us at a distance from God, trying to work for our salvation. It’s the thing that causes us to tear down others hatefully rather than build them up with kind words. In fact, that’s the paradox of legalism: it attempts to be perfect, yet the attempt itself is done in pride. It has to be done in pride; otherwise the person in question would have accepted Jesus to be their only savior. So than, what’s the solution to this disabling pride? Complete and utter submission to our Lord and savior Jesus.
For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:8-11)
It’s only through Jesus that we can let go of pride. It’s only through Him alone that we can be righteous. It’s not through what we’ve done, or what we will do, but it’s because of what he’s done, and what he will continue to do: intercede on our behaves before God. It’s not about us, it’s about Him, and the faster we come to the knowledge of that, the better off we’ll be.
yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:16)
Only through the blood of the lamb can we be saved. It’s impossible to be saved through a set of laws, it’s impossible to be saved through some special code of conduct: it can only ever be through the way that the Father Himself has set up; it can only be through Jesus Christ! To say otherwise would be to completely discount the cross, and set yourself up as ruler of your own life:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (Galatians 2:20-21)
Let’s review what we’ve learned in this section:
- It’s only by faith that we can be saved.
- Pride is a stumbling block to the believer, and can only be overcome through complete belief in Jesus.
- Legalism is taking Jesus out of the picture.
You are Loved!