Archives For Legalism

I’ve had a lot of history with reading the Bible. I teach it, I study it, and I do desire others to love it more. In my years I’ve tried many a Bible reading plan.

You know, the ones with the beautiful little boxes you can check off after reading! Those boxes that make you feel like you have done your duty to God and country, yet don’t help you remember what you read 10 minutes after closing your beautiful, leather-bound study Bible!

I used to read the passages in the reading plan and check them off. Somehow, checking them off made me feel good. But, if I missed a day, I felt horrible.

It was almost as if I was trying to manipulate God, paying my dues so He would bless me.

I had to stop doing these plans years ago due to my battle with legalism and performance.

The relationship between grace and obedience can seem tenuous at times.

An over-emphasis on grace with no thought to obedience can lead to antinomianism, hyper grace, or as some would say “free, cheap grace.”

Focusing on rules and commands as a means to gain the favor of God can lead to rule keeping, law, and legalism. The thinking of “God has done His part, now we do ours” is equally out of balance.

But it is clear the Bible promotes a balance or blend of these two truths.

In his book, Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us, Preston Sprinkle shares a third way which comes from New Testament scholar John Barclay.

This view is called Energism. It stems from the Greek word “energeo” found Galatians 2:8.

“for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles”

Charis by Preston Sprinkle

January 5, 2015

I picked up a free copy of Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us by Preston Sprinkle. As you know, if there is a book on grace, I want to get my hands on it.

I had never heard of Preston Sprinkle before. I have no idea what his views on other topics are. But, what I read in the pages of Charis, blew me away. This is one of the best books on grace I’ve ever read.

Sprinkle is a PhD and seminary teacher. He runs in academic circles. He brings great historical background to so many passages. But, unlike most academics who can only be understood by others with higher degrees, Sprinkle speaks the language of the people.

Charis is an overview of grace in the Bible with an emphasis on the Old Testament. Some “grace” teachers reject the Old Testament outright, even saying the Bible Society’s decision to include the Old Testament was a huge mistake. Charis proves them wrong.

Turn or Burn

September 13, 2014

“The Wrath of God is coming on all flesh. This world is going away! Baseball is going away!”

These were the words of a “turn or burn” street preacher I heard at a recent baseball game while in the United States.

As he went on, I literally had to walk away because tears were forming in my eyes.

wrath preacher

I was not upset baseball was going away.
I was so grieved at this man’s approach to evangelism.

I wonder how effective he is?

Does someone rush up to him and express a desire to repent?
Or does he elicit one of two responses: Laughter or Anger.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for evangelism.

I do believe in sin, judgment, and the wrath of God as expressed in Romans 1. God’s wrath is not a pleasant topic, yet it is in part of the character and nature of God.

Jesus Hates Religion

April 23, 2014

“- Has your experience with God been about the “do’s” and the “don’t?”
“- Are you on a path that was decided for you by people you trusted, but it feels more like bondage?
“- Have you completely abandoned all paths because you’ve seen the end results, and you have no desire whatsoever to be a part of that?”
“- Have you been blinded by hurt and betrayal?”
“- Have you been crushed by the church?”
“- Have you lost all desire to even find a path?”

Alex Himaya asks these questions and more in his new book, Jesus Hates Religion: Finding Grace in a Works-Driven Culture.

As you know, I read a lot of books on grace. This is one of the best I’ve read. I felt like a kindred spirit with Himaya as we are both dedicated to a similar message.

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