Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I am a rule follower.

Rules. Laws. Regulations.

We all have them and live by them. They govern our conduct within society. They entitle us as "good" citizens/participants/players, etc.

The Bible is also full of them. Really, just take a look.

I am definitely not an expert on this, but on my study of law, grace, legalism and license (one of my hobbies...it's so interesting!), I've come to realize how many rules I have that entitle me as being "good", "righteous", and/or "accepted" before God. 

In lesson 2 of "The Gospel-Centered Life", the authors, Thune and Walker, call this pretending and performing

Here are some of my list of rules that make me "righteous" before God (more like myself!):

Job - Be a hard, honest worker.
Intellectual - Read the Bible and read everything you can get your hands on. It will make me superior, more articulate and culturally competent than others. 
Discipline - A big one! I was awarded almost every year in school for this one (happens when you attend a very strict one).
Legalistic - Psh. Another really big one. I don't smoke, do drugs, and never slept around ("purity" commitment). You name it.

There are many more rules I have that come straight from the Bible. 

By following these rules, I pretend that I am better than I really am (and others are, well, not so good). I perform by trying to live up to God's expectations (or rules) to try to gain His approval.

God will surely bless me if I follow them and will be really disappointed if I don't.

Bluebonnets growing by a friend's house
However, my view, and maybe yours, too, of His rules is completely mistaken. We can't impress God with this pretending/performance-driven Christianity. Moreover, we tend to judge others based on their performance and how short they fall of our standards. 

"What, then, the purpose of the law? It was added  because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come." Galatians 3:19

During these past few years, God has been working on me to help me understand that the rules in His book were not only meant to be followed, but they were also meant to grow our awareness of His holiness and our sinfulness. Those rules were made for us to realize how perfect His character is and how short we fall of His standards. They were made to lead me to Him and find my sense of security and worth in Him. 

"Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law...So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law." Galatians 3: 21, 24

I should add that this does not give us permission to sin. 

What Jesus did on the cross has already set us free. 

Through His work, He continues to teach me what living under grace is all about.

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What are your thoughts? Are you a rule follower like I am? Have you ever thought of how your rules diminish the value of what Jesus did on the cross? 
You can comment or email me (you can use the contact tab). I hope my thoughts made sense! I tried to organize them as best I could. 
I encourage you to read Galatians...or Romans. Or both. They are so interesting!   

Love, 
Gabby 

2 comments:

  1. Ooh yes! This is so good. It is so easy to get caught up in rule following and self-righteousness. But in the gospel we find that Christ is our only true righteousness, all we have done are as filthy rages. What amazing love we find when we turn to Him alone for righteousness!

    I've never heard of the book you're going through...
    I'm reading a book called Crucifying Morality by R. W. Glenn... it's also along the lines of this topic going through the Beatitudes. It's amazing! I think you would enjoy reading it. :-)

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    Replies
    1. I had never heard of it either...It's like a small group study. We actually had the PDF kind, so we just printed it out! Really short. :-) And thank you for the suggestion, I will definitely look for it! I am going to be needing another book to read really soon...I go through books really fast. ;-)

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