Jerry Bridges wrote a book that was an eye-opener for me called Transforming Grace. I’ve shared a couple of other posts with quotes from this book (you can read them by clicking here and here), but these quotes zero-in on the battle some people have in their minds between law and grace.
“Under a sense of legalism, obedience is done with a view to meriting salvation or God’s blessing on our lives. Under grace, obedience is a loving response to salvation already provided in Christ, and the assurance that, having provided salvation, God will also through Christ provide all else that we need.”
(click for a larger view)
You can download a PDF version of this chart here → Law and Grace ←
“Do you view God’s moral precepts as a source of bondage and condemnation for failure to obey them, or do you sense the Spirit producing within you an inclination and desire to obey out of gratitude and love? Do you try to obey by your own sheer will and determination, or do you rely on the Spirit daily for His power to enable you to obey? Do you view God as an ogre who has set before you an impossible code of conduct you cannot keep, or do you view Him as your divine Heavenly Father who has accepted you and loves you on the basis of the merit of Christ? In other words, in terms of your acceptance with God, are you willing to rely solely on the finished perfect work of Jesus, instead of your own pitifully imperfect performance?”
“We are much more concerned about someone abusing his freedom than we are about his guarding it. We are more afraid of indulging the sinful nature than we are of falling into legalism. Yet legalism does indulge the sinful nature because it fosters self-righteousness and religious pride. It also diverts us from the real issues of Christian life by focusing on external and sometimes trivial rules.”
“That is the way a lot of manmade ‘dos and don’ts’ originate. They begin as a sincere effort to deal with real sin issues. But very often we begin to focus on the fence we’ve built instead of the sin it was designed to guard against. We fight our battles in the wrong places; we deal with externals instead of the heart. … For all of us, it may be good to have some fences, but we have to work at keeping them as just that—fences, helpful to us but not necessarily applicable to others. … I’m not suggesting you jump over fences just to thumb your nose at the people who hold on to them so dearly. We are to ‘make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification’ (Romans 14:19). Use discretion in embracing or rejecting a particular fence. But don’t let others coerce you with manmade rules. And ask God to help you see if you are subtly coercing or judging others with your own fences.”
“Spiritual disciplines are provided for our good, not for our bondage. They are privileges to be used, not duties to be performed. … I do think we should actively promote spiritual disciplines. They are absolutely necessary for growth in our Christian lives. And since ours is a largely undisciplined age, many believers are losing out on the benefits of those disciplines that could help them grow to maturity in Christ. But we should promote them as benefits, not as duties.”
You can read my full book review of Transforming Grace by clicking here.