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How to Spot a Legalist

5. Their “gospel” could never be falsely accused of being a license to sin (like Paul’s was in Romans 3:8!).

6. They scare others with assertions that, if you preach too much grace, people will run amok.

7. They conveniently avoid or misexegete large portions of gospel-centric New Testament books like Galatians, Romans and John.

8. They blend justification passages with sanctification passages, and then try to get us to drink a heresy smoothie.

9. They bake the same works-based righteousness cake that Mormons and Muslims do, but cover it with evangelical frosting.

10. They use the phrase, “You mean to tell me … ” a lot. Then they create worst case salvation scenarios of those who claim to be Christians, but abuse the grace of God. “You mean to tell me that someone can be saved and still … ?”

But grace that cannot be abused is no grace at all. Grace that is not free is no grace at all. Grace that is not received by simple faith is no grace at all.

I like the way Paul put it in Romans 11:6, “And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” It’s either by grace or by works. It can’t be by both.

But here’s the crazy thing about grace, once you receive it through faith it begins to transform you.

Jesus changes your “wanter” and you become a new creation. Sure we can abuse it and, if we’re honest, often do. But when we let grace do its work it “teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:12).

God’s grace is not a license to sin, but a reason to serve Jesus with reckless abandon … not because we have to, but because we get to.

If we resist, he persists.

If we fail, he forgives.

If we lose our faith, he remains faithful (2 Timothy 2:13).

That makes me want to serve Him all the more. Sorry legalists, but grace is a better fuel. As for you agitators, I wish you would go the whole way and … cut it out.  

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Hi, I'm Greg Stier, CEO and Founder of Dare 2 Share Ministries. On this blog I share personal experiences about life, ministry, and how we are mobilizing teenagers across America to share their faith. I would love to connect with you. Follow me on TwitterFacebook or join a move of God at Dare 2 Share.