Thursday, November 13, 2008

Conversation between God and the Legalist

Legalist: Oh God of Abraham, Jacob and Issac, as part of being obedient to your word and commandment, I have decided to fast for the next three days. Bless my fasting. Give me strength to fight temptations of food and drink. I don’t want to be like those pagan Christians who never fast.

God: It sounds like you already know that fasting is going to be hard for you. So it’s better you not fast. I have blessed you with my salvation and will continue to bless you anyways.

Legalist: I am fasting so that I can be much closer to you like I was in the early days.

God: I am living in you.

Legalist: Yes, I mean… No, but that’s only a positional truth. I want your tangible presence.

God: I am living in you.

Legalist: Well, okay! But… I want to restore my fellowship with you which I lost when I sinned last week.

God: I will never leave you nor forsake you. You are my son.

Legalist: I promise you, I will restart my systematic Bible study from next week and I am fasting today so that I can rededicate myself to a more disciplined prayer life and devotion. I ask your forgiveness for not reading my Bible…

God: You are righteous in Christ. You are my beloved son. You are a saint!

Legalist: But,… I still sin… Pls. forgive me. I promise I will take up that nursery ministry at church. I have been feeling so guilty every time pastor brings that topic up.

God: Your sins (past, present and future) have been totally forgiven by the one and only sacrifice of Christ Jesus. Your only work is to believe.

Legalist: I am sorry for skipping the tithe check in the third week of January, 1982.

God: I have accepted you in Christ. I have loved you with perfect love. Nothing can separate you from my eternal love.

Legalist: But I am guilty for not tithing.

God: You have liberty in Christ. You are free from the law.

Legalist: I am sorry for skipping church. I broke Sabbath.

God: Your righteousness comes from Christ, apart from law. You are dead to the law. You cannot be declared righteous through obedience to the law. Law is for those who are under the law, you are free from the law for law makes nothing perfect.

Legalist: I kind of agree but I am sure you didn't mean '10 commandments' when you say law?

God: 2 Cor 3:7-11

Legalist: Pls. fill me with the Holy Spirit

God: My Spirit lives in you since the time you were born-again.

Legalist: Pls. bless me financially, so that I can buy a Cadillac. I promise I will not skip tithe again.

God: My grace is sufficient for you. You are blessed beyond measure in Christ. You may live the rest of the life discovering the treasures you have in Christ.

Legalist: I love you.

God: I have loved you while you were still a sinner.

Legalist: I have sowed the seed of $100 in ORM ministries, I stand on the promise you have given in your word and claim my return - "Give, and it will be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over..."

God: I have blessed you already with everything you need. You are a citizen in heaven, a part-taker of divine nature, child of the most High and seated with Christ in heaven.

Legalist: I am sorry for thinking bad thoughts against my pastor who is my spiritual authority, shepherd and priest.

God: I am the good Sheperd. You have an eternal High Priest in heaven. You are complete in Me.

Legalist: Bless my church for including me in the church-board, I will keep my commitment to work for the growth of our church to my best.

God: The work of the ministry is to believe in Me.

Legalist: I am recommitting my commitment to serve you. Bless me.

God: I have bestowed my great love on you, walk by faith in it. Rest in Me. Believe. Believe. Believe. Walk by FAITH. Know the TRUTH and be free. I am faithful to complete the work I have started in you.

Lagalist: I am feeling hungry due to fasting! Give me strength to stand firm in my commitment to my fasting and prayer today. I am confident I am not going to give up today. I can do this! Yes! Bless me. Bless me for doing this. Bless me! Forgive my sins! Restore my fellowship! Fill me with Holy spirit! Come closer! Come down! Look how I confessed my sins! Look how I marched against evil-doers! Look how dedicated and committed I am! Look how I give my money! Look how devoted I am to my church and denomination! Look what I am doing for you! Look how I stood for Republican party! Look how pro-life am I! Look how I hate sinners! Bless me!

God: ------------


Ike said...

One of the best kept secrets amoung Christians today is this: Jesus paid it all. I mean all. He not only purchased your forgiveness of sins and your ticket to heaven, He purchased every blessing and every answer to prayer you will ever receive. Every one of them-no exceptions.

Why is this such a well-kept secret? For one thing we are afraid of this truth. We are afraid to tell even ourselves that we don't have to work anymore, the work is all done. We are afraid that if we really believe this, we will slack off in our Christian duties. But the deeper core issue is that we don't really believe we are still bankrupt. Having come into God's Kingdom by grace alone solely on the merit of Another, we're now trying to pay our own way by our performance. We declared only temporary bankruptcy; we are now trying to live by good works rather than by grace.
At best, the Christian life is viewed as a mixture of personal performance and God's grace. It is not that we have consciously sorted it all out in our minds,(except Bino...just kidding), and have concluded that our relationship with God, for example, is based on 50 percent performance and 50 percent grace. Rather it is a subconscious assumption arising from our own innate legalism-reinforced and fueled by the Christian culture we live in?

RJW said...

Yeah, ditto Ike!! ;) are sooo bad; we love it when you're bad!!

The legalist NEVER looked at God; he was too busy looking at himself.

The legalist NEVER listened to God's Words; he was too busy arguing or justifying himself.

It reminded me of this illustration: A man goes out and gets a new car because his is dead. When asked how he likes his new car, he replies, "It sure pushes alot easier than the old one!" Christians have a New Life but the legalist is determined to push that thing!! :)

I think I'll let Jesus chauffeur me around; thank you!!

I loved this!!

Amy said...

Excellent post!! I love this dialog between God and the legalist. So, unfortunately and sadly true that many Christians still believe the things you wrote the legalist saying. I don't know how many times I heard similar conversations about fasting, or going into long periods of time in deep prayer, Bible study or what-not due to the condemnation they felt over a sin they did. And, unfortunately, I, too, had done the same with performance issues and condemnation.

But, the joy is in God's Love and Grace.

As well, I love Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

That is me, you, all our siblings in Christ!

It's my deepest prayer that more people will be awakened to this beautiful Truth!

~Amy :)
Author of "Orphaned Into Belonging"

Author of "Orphaned Into Belonging"

Joel B. said...

Ditto what the others have said! Except, not ditto Jamie, because that would be redundant, because she dittoed Ike. =) Well, except, Jamie added some stuff, so ditto that.

Whew... I hope I've got all my ditto bases covered! It's a lot of work! Kind of like the legalist in this scenario. Forever working, trying to cover all bases, but always standing at home plate striking out, but asking for more chances to hit a home run. Into extended innings, perhaps inning number 384, he might finally figure out that he's getting nowhere and simply rest in Christ's Grand Slam home run that won the game in the first place!

(I don't know where the baseball analogy came from. It just came to me and I ran with it...)

Leonard said...

Thanks Bino, I do fall for the performance thing quite often, slow learner you know. This is a great reminder of some of my own conversations, something about seeing it in black and white, err green and red.
Thanks again

Joel thanks for the ditto's, Blast !!! giggles..

Maureen said...

I like what Ike said about declaring onlly temporary bankruptcy. But that is how we are ocnditioned, isn't it? I mean, once we come into the Kingdom, suddenly there are lists and programs and disciplines thrust at us. We must "do" all these things in order to grow and stay close to Christ:

Find a good Bible believing church.

Make Bible reading and prayer part of your daily routine.

Seek out other "sound" Christians to fellowship with.

Learn and perform Chrsitian disciplines, besides Bible reading and prayer, like tithing, fasting, witnessing, etc.

"Reach out" to friends, neighbours, co-workers, family.

Get involved in "ministry" at your church; be "committed" to your church.

I have read the above instructions many times on gospel tracts etc. Not that there is anything wrong with Bible reading and prayer and fellowship. We need these things in our lives. But all these things seem to become the focus of our Christian life. The dos and donts keep us focussed on ourselves, and our performance, rather than on the grace of God.

These are hard attitudes to change. I am still struggling with them myself.

Really appreciate this post Bino.

Bino M. said...

Ike - Jesus paid it all. "It's finished"! I have heard an illustration on this relating to the Mortgage. It's like, we are still sending check to the bank for the loan which is already been paid by the generous One.
I agree, it's not easy to live on 100% grace in this legalism-enforced culture. It's like people are desperately trying to add themselves to the equation of Salvation. Great words, Ike! Thank you!

Ya, I have consciously sorted it out all by sitting down and thinking! :) It reminds me of one quote by Joseph Prince - "All true transformations are unconscious"! I think it's very true.

Bino M. said...

Jamie - You summarized it well. You car illustration says it all :) Thank you!

Amy - Romans 8:1! I love it! Thanks!

Joel - Ditto what you said, Jamie said, Ike said and everybody said! :) So I don't have to say
BTW, the baseball analogy was great!

Leonard - I am not a quick learner either! It took years and years and still taking for ever...:) I fall back into law when I take my eyes from Jesus. I think that's why Paul asked us to 'renew our mind daily'. Renew it with Truth. It keeps us in our freedom.

Maureen - Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! I have heard the list over and over and over while I was churchy. I was doing all these 'right' things still empty, dry and miserable and wondered why. My premise was law, and so it was wrong. I didn't believe 'It's paid in full'. I was still trying to payoff the loan which was in fact fully PAID.
Jesus, called us to rest and asked us to SIT DOWN, the same way He sat down after finishing His work. Since He has done it all, today you and I can rest! Isn't that a great news?