Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Praise God for His Grace

I once worked at a credit union in South West Miami. People are interesting, especially when they are trying to make small talk. One day a member came to my window and we exchanged the standard pleasantries… "Hello."… "It sure is hot." I began to do the deposit or withdrawal he asked me to do. (I can't remember what the action was… but I know he was talking to me the whole time.) The conversation soon took a different turn when he noticed my Bible. So we talked… and talked… and talked… which was not a problem because it was a slow business day. He talked about religion and I talked about Jesus. The last thing I ever heard this man say was:

Religion is like a sense of humor… some people just don't get it.

He was honestly asking honest questions about who I thought Jesus was (is).

Several years later the Lord moved my family to Columbus, GA, a town nestled in the buckle of the "Bible Belt" where we first faced extremely legalistic churches. Legalism is the natural tendency to become religious. There are two main types of legalism:

1. Those who say you must look and act and do things a certain way BEFORE you can be saved. People who believe this believe solely in a works based salvation.

2. Those who say that a Christian dresses and acts a certain way. This is a far more common form. It was this second type that Paul combats in the Book of Galatians and was the catalyst for the The Council at Jerusalem in Acts 15.

Now to be fair, everyone struggles with legalism to some degree. I found myself falling into that trap… "a Christian should be ________". Then the Lord brought Romans 14 to my mind along with a variation of what an acquaintance of mine said in Miami:

"Grace is a lot like a sense of humor... some people just don't get it."

Jesus died to free us from everything that would hinder a thriving relationship with Him. He is the way, the truth, and the life. If you have Him, you have all you need.


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