Legalism: More Foolish Than Adding Gravel to the Freeway

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Legalism: More Foolish Than Adding Gravel to the Freeway

What would you think of me if I walked over to Interstate-10, tossed a handful of gravel on the asphalt and confidently proclaimed that without my hard work the Interstate Highway System would never be completed. And what if I walked over to you and claimed that you had no right to drive on the road since you didn't make it, demanding that you at least throw a few pieces of gravel onto the road. And now, taking it a step further, what would be thought of me if I spent my entire life pressing pieces of gravel into the roadway, proudly proclaiming to all the glories of the freeway that I built and encouraging you to build your own in keeping with the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 and similar laws.

The freeways system is complete (at least let's say it is for the sake of this example). So the job of the beneficiaries of this gift is to enjoy it not to try to build that which is built. Furthermore, the task is so monstrous as to appear almost infinite in comparison to the work that we could accomplish on it with our bare hands. A word to describe me: Fool!

Paul uses the same term for the Galatians when they were trying something even more foolish, even more futile (Gal 3:1-3). The work that Christ accomplished when He in the our place was infinite. If we spent a million years trying to exhaust the wrath of God (as those who do not trust in Christ will do), we would still have eternity left. Now multiply that debt by all of the redeemed. Now consider the gap of holiness or righteousness between us and God. A million years of all the good works we could imagine would still leave the gap infinite. But Christ bridged both those infinite divides in His life, death, and resurrection on the cross: "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin so that we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Cor 5:21).

So the futility of trying to build the already completed national highway system pales in comparison to the futility of trying to reconcile us to the already reconciled irreconcilable God (1 Peter 3:18). God has made the gospel such that boasting in excluded (Romans 3:27). He made it entirely apart from our works, stating the it is a free gift, precisely so that we cannot boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

And what if we decide that we want to trust in Jesus AND our works at the same time?: The precise claim of legalism, the claim of any teaching that says that your salvation is dependent on something you DO, and you will not be saved or as saved if you do not DO this thing (circumcision, baptism, mass, not dance, read the Bible, pray a certain way, dress a certain way, etc.) If we are to say that our works are necessary or even contribute to our salvation, this is the same thing as saying that the infinite gap wasn't infinite. It is diminishing the necessity and magnitude of Christ's completed work on the cross, declaring it "incomplete", awaiting our completion of it. What's left to complete in the gospel? Nothing! What do we say through our actions if we say we must add our works, no matter how small or large they are? Here's how Paul interpreted it in Galatians 2:21:
The one who wishes to add to Christ's completed work is declaring that "Christ died for no purpose."

This is the same declaration that unbelievers make when the reject the gospel. This is the declaration of those who wish to try to bridge the infinite gap of holiness and bear the infinite wrath of God on their own. This is not the declaration of God's children but the declaration of God's enemies. Therefore, Paul states that to them, although they hope in Christ a little, "Christ will be of no benefit to [them]."

Examine yourself and what you hope in. Is your only hope Christ? Don't press pebbles into the asphalt; enjoy the completed open roads. Don't add works to your salvation, but rejoice in the Lord as you, living obediently through faith, are transformed by the power of His Spirit into Christ's image. If you find that you are indeed a legalist, repent and forsake your works and enjoy the freedom and joy of trusting in a job completed...not one that you need to complete. Praise God for this good news. Praise God for his grace.
Well done!
by: Rick () (URL) - 17 Octubre '07 - 03:48
Money! Did you make that up? Because I am definitely stealing it!
by: Chris () (URL) - 20 Octubre '07 - 06:43
Yup, just made up out of my head inspired by Paul in Galatians
by: Jacob H () (URL) - 21 Octubre '07 - 09:24
We are no longer under the law but grace.
by: Jesus|Freak () (URL) - 16 Diciembre '07 - 23:31
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Title: Legalism: More Foolish Than Adding Gravel to the Freeway
Date posted: 16 Octubre '07 - 20:42
Category: Gospel, Shepherding My Heart
Wordcount: 778 words
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