"Gray matters. We all deal with them ... those places in our lives where the line between "right" and "wrong" gets fuzzy. Or even disappears.
Is it OK just to fast-forward the sex scene and watch the rest of the movie?
Should I smoke a cigar with my unbelieving father?
How tight is too tight?
Can a Christian play poker?
Can I have a beer with dinner?"
The whole point seems to be that while there are many laws and commands clearly laid out for us in Scripture, sometimes thing are 'fuzzy' and we need to use discernment to figure out what God meant the law to be for us in this area. We seem to miss the point: we are dead to the law! And I'm sure people who think and teach this way have the best of intentions, but there is no mention of Christian freedom in all of this. What about grace? Thankfully there are a couple of other articles on the site that are about grace.
I think there is a deep misunderstanding of God and his holiness and our standing before him. We say yes, we've been made holy, but we don't believe it. We think that God in his holiness is still angry about our sin. Not our sin from the past of course, but if and when we sin now as his children. He is holy and hates sin...so of course isn't happy with us when we sin. The problem with this is that is goes against Scripture (and the very nature of God as our father. We still don't get it!!! HE LOVES US HE'S OVERJOYED WITH US HE'S PLEASED WITH CHRIST AND WE ARE IN CHRIST 100% OF THE TIME. We are in a new covenant now. We should not read the Old Testament looking for judgement, but looking for mercy (because we trust in the finished work of Jesus). I've been reading through Isaiah and the redemptive purposes of God are revealed there in amazing clarity. He is a God of great compassion toward his people. He is not disappointed with us. Don't you think his heart breaks to see us unaware of his love? To see us rushing around trying to figure out what pleases him, living in constant anxiety plucking our proverbial daisy petals "he loves me , he loves me not" ?? I could list many many examples of this kind of legalism being published all over the Internet, and sermons, and books and conferences...I'm saddened by it. I'm very very concerned for the people who are buying into it and the leaders who are sincerely but blindly leading them. And it sobers me to think how easily I am drawn into the same thing. I'm not being self-righteous I just feel I must tell the truth. I can't pretend legalism isn't serious and fatal and I can be quiet about it!
Of course I'm not saying it's o.k to sin, I'm saying we have the freedom to do whatever we want whenever we want if we're living according to the Spirit. I like what Ryan Rufus says in his book "Do Christians Still Have a Sinful Nature?" :
"...if the way we preach grace does not provoke the question, 'Shall we just keep sinning if grace will keep increasing?' then we are not preaching true grace!"
I'm praying that the church will begin to embrace true discernment and will uncover and destroy legalism wherever it's found. I'm praying we stop acting like the Pharisees coming up with new laws to try to please God and start celebrating the reason why God left so many areas 'gray'--FREEDOM!!!