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Youth Articles

 
 

There are two dangerous extremes living in Christianity today: Liberalism and Legalism. Liberalism is a religion that minimizes the need of the law, while legalisms maximizes the law. Liberals seek to ignore the Law in some matters, while Legalists create rules or rely on traditions to add on to the Law. Both groups have a superficial concept of Christianity.

Liberalism believes in the necessity of accommodating to modern culture, science, and intellect. Liberals anchor their morality by comparing themselves to the secular world. They tend to choose what is popular over what is holy. They desire to fit in both at church and outside of church. Lukewarm, carnal Christians probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they aren't very different from an unbeliever.

Liberals don't want to be saved from their sin, instead they want to be saved from the penalty of sin. They don't hate the sin they do, they just feel guilt over the punishment that sin brings. Liberalism believes that Christ's atonement for sin ended the need for the law. This argument can be used to excuse any sin while still claiming to be a Christian. Liberalism denounce the rules therefore claim ultimate freedom. It is the thought that man is saved by faith alone, therefore obedience to the law is unnecessary. 

The Bible illustrates how this is not true. Faith that does not result in good works, obedience to the whole of scripture, is not saving faith (James 2:17-20, Matthew 7:21-23, John 14:21-24) Obedience to scripture is necessary for salvation, in fact it is proof of salvation. 

Legalism is just as common in the Body of Christ today as worldliness is. 

Christians who are disturbed by the problem of worldliness often turn to legalism to eliminate worldliness. But legalism is not the answer. Legalism chokes life, but true Christianity gives new life. Legalism is based on my own efforts, but true Christianity is based on the supernatural grace of God. Legalism is based on rules, but true Christianity is based on a relationship with the King of all Kings. An example of Christian legalists would be the Jewish Pharisees (Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42). The Pharisees were so keen on keeping every commandant that they missed the importance of the Law. Rather on desiring to please God, they pridefully desired to be seen as holy to men. Ultimately legalism becomes a heavy burden that brings frustration and despair.

A true relationship with God doesn't mean following a set of rules in order to make yourself a more righteous person. A true relationship with God also does not mean that salvation comes with accommodating with the world while holding on to the belief of God. When you encounter Jesus, He transforms you from inside and out. He cleanses your sins and worldliness and makes you a lover of good. Your decision to become set apart from the world is based on your overwhelming gratitude for what He did for you on the cross. He gave everything for us. We in return need to give everything back. Just like Mary of Bethany who poured her most expensive possession on Jesus' feet. 

When you have a true relationship with God, people shouldn't look at you and see a set of rules you follow. Rather, they look at your life and they need to see Jesus: His purity, His love, His obedience, His patience, His holiness. You don't complain about all the sinful pleasures you're not allowed to do. You don't push your limits with sin because your belief in God protects you from condemnation. Instead, you gladly choose to obey God. Your heart will say what the psalmist said, "better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere". When you have a true relationship with Him, you don’t need to rely on rules in order to live a life pleasing to God. Instead, it becomes your greatest joy to obey Him. You lose your desire for worldly things and have a desire to seek more of Him.

                                                                                                                                                                                     Naomi Ştirbu