What Is the True Way to Be Right With God? …

17 Jan

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:

  1. It’s only by faith that we can be saved.
  2. Pride is a stumbling block to the believer, and can only be overcome through complete belief in Jesus.
  3. Legalism is taking Jesus out of the picture.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland


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7 responses to “What Is the True Way to Be Right With God? …

  1. tacticianjenro

    January 18, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    I’m sorry. I didn’t get that point out clear. My mind is drifting away, I dunno why. What I meant was, people will never say it out loud since that’s not biblical. Like, serving God, he will never say out loud that his works give him faith. At some point, he might even be fooling himself or being mislead by a false, perverted gospel. It’s more of a heart-issue.

    I cannot help but to repeat it. You are a genius. (I can’t help but envy you at some point) At 13 I’ve written things, too and been productive as well but not like this. It’s amazing to see how God could give clear discernment even to such a young age. YOU HAVE TO TELL ME ABOUT YOUR HISTORY about legalism and how you came to light on these matters.

    • Joshua Cleveland

      January 19, 2012 at 2:33 PM

      It’s okay, my mind does that to me all the time too. — I think I understand what you’re saying now: you’re saying that people would never admit that they’re trying to work their way to Heaven, because either they don’t know it themselves, or because they have been lead astray. Thank you for clarifying :).

      I agree that legalism is a heart issue, as is all sin, but this particular heart issue leads to actions which I believe all people can learn to recognize. More importantly, through recognizing the actions that come out of the heart-issue, someone can (through help with the Holy Spirit) get their heart back on track.

      I hope I satisfied your other questions in my email to you.

      • tacticianjenro

        January 19, 2012 at 2:52 PM

        I’m checking your e-mail. However, our internet is currently very slow. There’s barely anything happening, and that’s so sad… 😦

        You’re right. People could learn to recognize this. Based on my experience, it would be hard especially if the church you are attending is promoting this sort of living and your personality wholeheartedly agrees about it all. Some people succeed with this way (legalism. Christian karma.), but some just don’t. (Apparently that’s me.) And I’m glad for Jesus Christ, because He did away with all the requirements we need to fulfill to get to Him.

  2. tacticianjenro

    January 18, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    Are you really only 13? (You’ve got to tell!) Because God has truly blessed you with so much wisdom and discernment. I can’t believe I’m asking someone who’s younger than me – and you’ve written an e-book already. 🙂

    Genius! To move forward once more: In conjunction with your statements, what can you say about the verse “Faith without action is dead”? I’m sure it has something to do with legalism in present times.

    • Joshua Cleveland

      January 18, 2012 at 2:33 PM

      Yes, I am thirteen, but I believe you’re never to young to share the Gospel :).

      I agree that faith without works is dead, but that doesn’t support legalism. This is for the simple reason that legalists are those who believe that their faith comes from their works, not that their works keeps their faith alive. We do need to show that we’re saved by what we do, but what we do doesn’t give us our faith. To say that our works give us our faith would completely toss Jesus’s death out of the picture. In fact, it’s contradictory:

      Someone can’t have “faith” if they’re doing something to be saved. Faith is something where you rely on someone or something else; it’s a sort of trust. Yet if you’re working to be saved, you don’t have faith, you have a certainty that your works will pull through for you and you’ll get to go to Heaven. Of course, that “certainty” is a false one as works can’t save.

      Thank you,


      P.S. As always, thank you for your encouragement :).

      • tacticianjenro

        January 18, 2012 at 5:52 PM

        But at some point people don’t admit it and say out loud that “our works give us our faith”, right?

        I would love to be friends with you. Do you have a facebook account?

        (On a side note: Say no to SOPA, even though I’m not from US.)

      • Joshua Cleveland

        January 18, 2012 at 6:29 PM

        I’m sorry, I don’t understand your first question, “But at some point people don’t admit it and say out loud that “our works give us our faith”, right?” Are you saying that people just don’t think in terms of, “my works give me faith.”? I believe I legalist does think that way.

        As for your request to be friends on Facebook, I would like that… Except for the small matter of my mom not allowing me to have a Facebook account :). If I did though, I’d be sure to connect with you on it.

        Also on a sidenote: I completely agree: boo SOPA.


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