Legalism or Grace

Colossians 2:13,14    God made you alive with Christ, and He forgave all your sins. He canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow.  

John 1:16,17      And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  

When I was young, we attended a church in which you had a mediator you confessed sins to, there were strict rules to follow and I felt a fear and a certainty I could never reach a level of goodness and worth. I therefore always felt God was unattainable. I was afraid and positive I could never attain heaven. It would be nebulous for me. I tended to be pretty disobedient, especially if I think I can get away with something.  I would break every rule so it seemed too dismal for me to ever make it. This tends to be the way the legalists look at religion.   They like to lay down laws and make sure you, and you, and you are obeying….  The old judgmental pharisees Jesus had little tolerance for.

But I learned from other churches about having a relationship with God. A relationship?

But He is the Almighty, the creator, holding all power and punishment in His hands. Right?

And still, although apprehensive, I wanted to learn more.  There was a need, a yearning to learn more, to get more, to fill myself.  It had always felt like something was lacking.  Just . . . something.

Having a relationship with God was a different, and initially, strange concept to me; and it felt to me, hmmm, disrespectful. I was not worthy to have a relationship with Him.  I would never be good enough.  Not ever.  But I began going to different bible teaching churches and listening to different sermons.  I liked the joy, the worship, the thankfulness I felt in many of them. Then I was touched and moved to accept the idea of a relationship.  Would He really take me? 

I sped up the aisle of the church and wanted to cry out for joy, although instead I wept as the feeling of peace, love, and nurturing entered my spirit. That day changed my life. Thank God!

Slowly, I began to learn more and more, and still continue to learn each day. It’s funny to me how I have read the same verse countless times, but “miss” it. Other times it strikes a chord, and it always makes me chuckle when that happens. It’s not just been added to the bible, its been there for years in the same spot, the same verse number, so it is nothing new, but it seems new then.  The words have always been there, I’ve seen them, even underlined them sometimes, and occasionally, they are brand new concepts. Because it is SOMETHING I needed then, or I’ve grown enough that now I can progress further and deeper into knowing Him.  Now my understanding is better.

It amazed me to realize that He loves me just because. He forgave me just because. He suffered, was tortured, was nailed to a tree and died the most horrific death…for me. His love, His mercy, His gifts…all freely given under grace. Wow, what a word, a concept. Grace.

As I learned more, got closer in my RELATIONSHIP with Him, I wanted to be more full of love and grace and goodness to others. That is such a wonderful way to live, to have a relationship with the creator. I want to be the best I can be toward all, love toward others, and know that I can go to Him and “chat” about anything. That’s grace. Grace is full of joy, full of love, full of forgiveness.

Legalism carries an undercurrent of fear, of judgment toward others, and does not live in love.  There is an air of condemnation.  

I choose grace for all of mybellaviews!