Legalism, License or Liberty

Are you a rule follower or a rebel at heart? Do you get upset when people don’t do what they are supposed to? Or are you more of a “You do you” kind of person? 

People often misunderstand God’s grace and approach it from either a perspective of legalism or license. But Paul shows us a different path, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Gal. 5:1)

Legalism involves following a rigid set of religious rules in order to earn and keep God’s favor. It’s a faulty belief that says you have to do right in order to be right with God. Legalistic believers often place heavy burdens on themselves and others. As a result, they tend to be critical of others or condemn themselves.  

License involves using God's grace as an excuse for a self-indulgent life. It’s an “I’m free to be me because Jesus will forgive me” approach. Licentious people see God’s grace as a never-ending stream of tolerance instead of a catalyst for personal transformation. As a result, they tend to live without any repentance, change, or accountability.    

Liberty, on the other hand, involves receiving God’s favor by faith and embracing a new life in Christ through the Spirit. Believers who understand biblical freedom don’t want to be prisoners of the past. They also don’t want to be bound by legalistic self-effort. Instead, they want to fully experience their new life of righteousness as a gift of the Holy Spirit!

Jesus didn’t set us free so that we’d have to keep earning His grace. He also didn’t set us free so that we could do whatever we wanted. He set us free so that we could experience new life! 

Let’s move on from legalism and license and embrace true liberty today!
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