Tuesday, February 27, 2007


As Aaron and I were listening to Rob Rufus (yes, again) on legalism vs. grace (yes, again), I had somewhat of a revelation. We've heard this information so many times over the past few months it isn't funny. And not only from Mr. Rufus. In fact, I don't think I could remember how people we've heard teach/preach on grace over the the past year, but Terry Virgo, Chris Maclean, Bob Miller (from the church we've been going to lately), and Roger Bye stand out in my mind for sure.

The revelation is simply this: we're still living under law. Yes, we know it's wrong and isn't producing anything good in us, but we don't seem to know how to get out of it. We get very excited talking about grace and intellectually assenting to it and even preaching it to others, but we aren't living it. Somewhere deeply rooted in the region of our mind lies the belief that the solution to all our problems is tied up with our performance. If we just read our Bible more or fasted or something, then our lives would suddenly be transformed and PRESTO we'd be holy--I mean seriously spiritual Christians who'd start actually carrying out the great commission or something.

So if any of you have received revelation on how to get from living under law to living under pure undiluted grace, just let me know. I'd love to hear your story. I've a sneaking suspicion it's something to do with the Holy Spirit doing something we don't actually have the power to do ourselves. I seem to think I can , and then wonder why I end up a miserable failure. God help the ones who don't know they're failing! It's his grace that let's us see even that.


Viscountess said...

Jul: I think that last sentence in your post is the true revelation. The Holy Spirit works the grace in us, daily, even moment by moment. That doesn't mean we give up the pursuit of the knowledge of Jesus Christ. There is a great deal to be said for pursuing the things of God (study, prayer, fasting, giving, fellowship, hospitality) not because they will earn us anything, but for the thing itself. For the experience of walking in the acts of the Grace we are pursuing.

jul said...

I think you're probably right. I just think I'm in a place of throwing my hands up in the air to God saying "I give up! Do something!" and I'm finished with carrying out meaningless duties. And all the duties are meaningless to me when they are duties. I understand that there are certain things we have to do whether we want to or not, but when your whole Christian experience seems to be made up of these kind of duties, then something is seriously wrong. Life in Jesus is supposed to be abundantly good and joyful despite trials and hardships. This is just not our experience right now and we're not ready to settle for it. For me, prayer is one thing that has never fallen into this category (duty), so the dialogue always goes on...and I would put fellowship/hospitality in the same category. I'm struggling more with going to church and Bible reading right now. Not much of a desire for either, and I'm questioning the value of doing them just because I'm 'supposed to'. I'm questioning a lot of things right now though so thanks for interacting with me over them. Sometimes after I write a comment like this God shows me where I'm wrong.

Baxter's Boy said...

Jul, I'm constantly amazed at how we often seem to be thinking exactly along the same lines! I am finding it so hard to connect the knowledge in my head that I KNOW that God has freely forgiven, adopted and accepted me and yet pass that through to my heart and really EXPERIENCE the joy of that. So like you I live in daily struggles to argue against the legalistic arguments and shouts and threats of something sinister in my head.

I've written along similar lines to you just know on my blog - because God directed me to Ephesians 1:2 this morning! "Grace to you and peace". It makes me wonder if we could get good at receiving the grace of God whether peace wouldn't follow hard on it's heels and we would stop trying to frantically "please" God by doing stupid things like "5'o Clock Clubs" ... ;)

Thanks so much for being honest - I am so glad to have a sister in Christ like you that is human as well!! Most of the people in my church seem to be almost raptured already ...

jul said...

Glad to be called your sister. I just can't let it pass that you think most of the people in your church are almost raptured or something! This is either a sign that you should run as fast as you can or you aren't entering into fellowship and getting to really know people. I'll assume it's the latter and strongly urge you to engage in hospitality until you get right down into reality with some people at your church. Now if that ain't the pot calling the kettle black...I should take my own advice!

Don said...

God moved me from striving (legalistic performance & pride) to grace (giving up & freedom) by letting me fail -- really fail, big time -- about a dozen years ago. I was "doing everything right" but depending on obedience for His favor, rather than having a real relationship with God.

When He allowed me to fail in a very messy way, I had the choice to run away from Him in shame, or run into Him for forgiveness and protection. I chose the latter, and to my amazement He welcomed me like the prodigal son's father.

I'm not recommending failure as the way to get from legalism to grace (and a closer relationship with Father), but it worked for me! It also worked for Jacob and Moses.

However, "failure" could be the simple admission to God that despite every good thing God has done in/for/through me, I'm still a sinner in need of a savior and God's forgiveness -- that I really can't do anything good without Him -- that He must increase in me, and I must decrease. Unfortunately for us, it usually takes something we define as "failure" to get us to that place of total surrender (and surrender brings peace, I've discovered). I realized that God had been patiently waiting, for many years as a believer, for me to come to the end of myself. He was waiting at that point to reveal fiery love that comforted me even as it burned up my ambitions.