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How to Diagnose Subtle Legalism

Legalism springs out of gospel forgetfulness.

Gospel math says I deserve nothing yet have received everything.

Legalist math says I deserve everything yet have received nothing.

I can’t think of anything more insulting to God. Essentially we’re saying, “God you’ve screwed me! You haven’t given me what I deserve!”

To which God gently replies, “You’re right. I haven’t given you what you deserve. I gave my Son what you deserve and I’ve given you what he deserves.”


The Valley of Vision puts things in a helpful perspective:

O Lord, I am astonished at the difference
between my receivings and my deservings,
between the state I am now in and my past
between the heaven I am bound for and
the hell I merit.

I fight against legalism by constantly remembering the difference between my “receivings” and my “deservings.”

When I remember the heaven I’m bound for and the hell I merit, legalism is astonished out of me.

This article originally appeared here.

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Stephen is a husband, dad, writer. I drink too much coffee and know too much about Star Wars. I created The Blazing Center. I've also written some books which people seem to like. You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook . facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stephenaltrogge . twitter: https://twitter.com/stephenaltrogge