We have been trained to think of legalism as being stuffy, outwardly religious, judgmental, traditional, etc. But any time the thrust of our message is --
"reach your potential"
"do good works"
"help God help you"
"follow these steps"
"improve your life"
"succeed at life"
-- or anything of that sort, we've made works the center, which is antithetical to the gospel and therefore is legalistic. Even if it's not judgmental, even if it sounds inspirational, even if it's kicked off with a killer video and capped by a rockin' band. Just because it feels good doesn't mean it's good news.
The gospel must be the center. Always. The star player. The feature piece. The answer and the antidote.
The proclamation of the gospel must take precedence over exhortations to "do good;" otherwise, we will find ourselves beating upon people's wills. The gospel is the power of salvation. The gospel is of first importance.
The gospel of Christ's finished work is the towering pinnacle of God's practical glory shared with us, and all else must take a subservient place in its universe-spanning shadow.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
The Shadow of the Gospel
Got to quote this from Jared Wilson on Everything in the Shadow of the Gospel