Do you teach legalism or grace?

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.
(Mark 7:6-8 (RSV))

These words have to be some of the least desired words that I would want spoken to me. Let’s face it, these words are condemning and offer little hope of salvation, grace or mercy.

What makes them so condemning?

They were spoken to the religious leaders of the day. They had so intermingled human laws and traditions to the point where it was more important to follow the exact letter of the law instead of following the intent of the law. They had taken what should have been instructions on how to attain mercy and grace and turned then into legalistic ritual. Instead of using the law as guidelines for how to treat each other and how to show compassion to each other, they developed strict details that allowed the religious “elite” to shun the majority of society. They used what God had intended to be a guiding principle and turned it into a controlling obstacle to grace.

If we are told the words of Mark 7:6-8, we have failed what God has asked us to do. We have failed to convey the grace and mercy that was freely given to us through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

We must be careful not to turn grace and mercy into legalism and bondage. If we teach falsely, we will be judged accordingly.

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
(James 3:1 (NIV))

Do your actions teach legalism or do they teach grace through the atoning blood of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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