Are you caught up in legalism or grace?

May 24, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.
(Luke 11:46 (NIV))

Have you been loaded down with burdens about the laws of God? Has legalism kept you from knowing the true grace and peace that Jesus came to bring?

It is so easy to become caught in the throes of legalism, after all, there is a very valid reason that the law exists. It is when we become so overwhelmed with the letter of the law that we miss the true meaning of the law. When this happens, people spend more time concerned about the small details that they miss the big picture. They miss the very reason that the law was given to begin with.

Are you more concerned with how your church service is performed than with what is communicated through that service? Are you more concerned with what people wear than the fact that they are there?

Don’t load yourself and others down with burdens like these. Look to the One who gave the law and His grace and mercy instead of looking at the law.

The law cannot save. It only accuses and convicts the guilty, and we are all guilty of sin. Only God’s grace and mercy through the blood of Jesus can save.

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery

Advertisements

Whose rules do you follow? Man’s or God’s.

August 11, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

” `These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ ”
(Matthew 15:8-9 (NIV))

It is so easy to get side tracked by rules that men make. We like to come up with a vast multitude of rules for everything that we do. Sometimes these rules are good. Can you image any football or basketball game without rules? It would be utter chaos.

Man has even tried to create rules for how we can approach God. These rules have become rituals that often get repeated without end and eventually lose the meaning and the reason why they were created to begin with. When this happens, following the rules often becomes more important than the reason the rules were implemented. Following the rules becomes legalism and we soon miss out on the freedom originally intended.

We can be thankful that God has only given us ten basic rules to live by. These rules are the foundation for our society and our faith. However, we have had some problems keeping these rules. God gave us some additional rules to live by. These additional rules, if followed, allow God to overlook our shortcomings on the other rules.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
(Acts 2:38 (NIV))

Whose rules do you follow? Man’s or God’s.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Whose rules do you follow? Man’s or God’s.

May 14, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

” `These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ ”
(Matthew 15:8-9 (NIV))

It is so easy to get side tracked by rules that men make. We like to come up with a vast multitude of rules for everything that we do. Sometimes these rules are good. Can you image any football or basketball game without rules? It would be utter chaos.

Man has even tried to create rules for how we can approach God. These rules have become rituals that often get repeated without end and eventually lose the meaning and the reason why they were created to begin with. When this happens, following the rules often becomes more important than the reason the rules were implemented. Following the rules becomes legalism and we soon miss out on the freedom originally intended.

We can be thankful that God has only given us ten basic rules to live by. These rules are the foundation for our society and our faith. However, we have had some problems keeping these rules. God gave us some additional rules to live by. These additional rules, if followed, allow God to overlook our shortcomings on the other rules.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
(Acts 2:38 (NIV))

Whose rules do you follow? Man’s or God’s.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


There is power in the blood!

July 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
(Hebrews 9:16-22 (NIV))

Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness!

Do you think that this sounds barbaric?

What imagery does it bring to mind?

Do you agree with the examples that are given in this passage?

Now, think about the following sayings.

There is power in the blood.

There is life in the blood.

Blood brothers.

I could think of more, but I hope that you understand what I am getting at. Blood is essential to life. Without blood, life ceases. When a life is taken, most of the time, the removal of blood is part of the reason that the life ends. Even if that life is freely given out of choice, there is blood.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Blood has become a symbol of the ultimate commitment. It is that commitment by Jesus that has brought us the ultimate in rewards. The blood of Jesus has brought us forgiveness if we will only accept it.

I have read this passage before, but the concept of a will did not sink in until reading it this time. Think about that from a worldly persepctive. God had something that He wanted to leave to His children, His creation. In worldly terms we understand that the heirs receive from the deceased through the will. God could not give grace to us without the formality. He needed to allow each of us to come to the inheritance freely. Inheritance is through blood. Jesus died so that we could inherit what He came to give to us. He arose from the grave to prove that He had the authority to give it.

This may sound a little morbid, but think of the offer of salvation as the reading of the will stating what Jesus left for you. Your personal salvation comes when you receive what He has given to you through His death and resurrection.

Always remember that there is power in the blood. There is life in the blood. Only through the blood can we be offered forgiveness.

It may sound legalistic, and to a point it is. Satan knows all too well about blood. He has been using it from the beginning of this world to draw people away from forgiveness. He has stated his case that all of humanity belong to him because of the sin of Adam and Eve. He makes that claim because of the inheritance through the blood. Jesus broke that inheritance and has offered us a new inheritance through His blood.

There is power in the blood!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Follow Jesus!

April 20, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

He appointed judges in the land, in each of the fortified cities of Judah. He told them, “Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for man but for the LORD, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. Now let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.”
(2 Chronicles 19:5-7 (NIV))

How many in today’s society still believe in this concept?

I am a student of prophesy. I have also become a student of human nature as a result of my interest in what God is doing. Sadly, over the last few years I have witnessed what appears to be a sharp decline in human judgment in general and in fearful judgment in particular. We have become a society of Pharisees who are more concerned with the letter of the law than the intent of the law. We judge each other vehemently. We have trials and convict someone in our own minds solely based on partial information or false information.

We are no longer careful in our thoughts and actions.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
(Matthew 15:19 (NIV))

Are we, as the Body of Christ, guilty of this?

I have seen some comments lately that make me wonder. These comments, many of which are easy to see how they could be made, are not reflective of what we are called to by Jesus. They are attacks of a personal nature and not directed at the sin. We cannot be witnesses of grace and mercy if we are attacking the very people who need it.

We must be careful to guard against thoughts and actions that are not what Jesus calls us to. We must be willing to look at ourselves with honesty and ask God to show us what we need to surrender so that we will be righteous in His eyes. If we do not surrender to Jesus as Lord, then we will be part of the group of people that Jesus told us about.

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

“I never knew you.”

Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
(John 10:25-27 (NIV))

Follow Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Do you teach legalism or grace?

March 2, 2012

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.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: