April 6, 2009, 7:47 am
Filed under: Devotions


by Caleb Hancock

Is your relationship with God marked by drastic ups and downs? Are you, from day to day, assessing “how you’re doing” as it relates to God dependent on how you feel you’re doing? If you are aware of recent sin, is your relationship with God marked with shame and embarrassment, and you feel that you are not worthy of praising God, praying, or fellowshipping with other believers?

BEWARE! These are the symptoms of legalism. A belief system that is prominent in humanity and seeks to base our relationship with God on our efforts and accomplishments. Not only does this system bring about depression and discouragement when you fall off the bandwagon, but, even more dangerously, it can lead to vehement pride that assumes good standing with God based on obedience to him. Is this You?

If so, the next 3 verses from Titus 3 will be very offensive.

4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior…

Here we see that God saves, not those who show their loyalty to Him by their efforts, because the reality from verse 3 was that we are all, by nature (Eph. 2) disobedient to God. Rather, God saves because He is merciful. He gives what we don’t deserve (Grace) and punished His Son with what we DO deserve, His wrath (Mercy).

Let these truths revealed here in Titus inform the way you relate to God.


2 Comments so far
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Leviticus 22:20, “You are not to present anything that has a defect, because it will not be accepted on your behalf.” When Jesus came to fulfill the Law, He came to fulfill these instructions given to Moses and Aaron. Everything we do has been touched by sin. Jesus hasn’t been. We should never think that we must do anything extra before we can pray to God after sinning. The truth is that you legalistic offering has a defect, and it will not be accepted on your behalf. The spotless Lamb is your sacrifice. You come to God because of Him.

Comment by David Wells

Thanks Caleb for this post.
I haven’t read manspeak in a while, but reading this post helped just point out legalism in my life that I realized, but never really thought it was legalism. For me it was my walk with God was characterized by discouragement and pretty much ALL the other things you were talking about when I “fall of the bandwagon.”
I often times fall into this prideful sin pattern of thinking that I have to be perfect when that impossible with works and apart from Christ and His finish work on the cross! The gospel is SUCH awesome news and it amazes me more and more each day! I am so thankful for the truth and fresh hope,joy, and faith reminding yourself of the gospel brings daily! Thanks for your faithfulness Caleb!

Comment by Hallerin Hill II

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