All of us believe that God loves us unconditionally. However, when we speak words like “Nothing you could do would make God love you less.” it suddenly is not just an abstract idea, it becomes a risky truth.
License is a dangerous possibility under grace. The Epistles are just as hard on people who abuse the liberty God has given us as an occasion for the flesh as they are on the legalists.
Legalism does not work. It enslaves. But the law of liberty can be very risky.
We have the same goals as the legalists do. We want to please God. We desire to be holy. We want to be useful to Him. But we go about it in a different way.
I have a good friend — someone I admire for her commitment to God and her life of worship. She asked me a while ago, “What difference is there between legalism and holiness?” My answer was that both are after holiness in our lives, but the way we go about obtaining it is different. Are we going to be holy by striving or by resting?
We have to defend our liberty. We are no longer under the law of sin and death.1 We are now under the law of liberty.2 Paul warns us that there are those who come in to spy on the liberty that we have in Christ and to take us back into slavery under the law.3
They do not understand our freedom and they assume that what we are looking for is to be able to sin, to live a loose, carnal life.
We have to stand fast in our liberty wherein Christ made us free and not be subjected again to the yoke of bondage.4 There are real and present dangers that threaten our walk in the Spirit.
There are some who would judge you for not submitting to rules like “don’t touch that, don’t eat that, don’t handle that.”5 These rules look like they are good for denying ourselves, being humble and subjecting the flesh6 but are of no value at all in overcoming carnal tendencies.7
There is a lot in the New Testament that deal with these two ugly substitutes for the real Christian life — legalism and license. The true law of liberty is where we need to walk.
So, let us stand fast in that liberty with which Christ made us free.4 How do we do that? Again, the answer is by walking in the Spirit. We have to be sensitive to Him. We need to live the life in the Spirit.
God is Spirit and wherever the Spirit is there is freedom.8
1- Romans 8:2 2- James 1:25 3- Galatians2:4 4- Galatians 5:1 5- Colossians 2:22 6- Colossians 2:23 7- James 1:25 8- 2 Corinthians 3:17