Doling Out God’s Grace (2)
Chuck Swindoll says as believers we’re often intolerant ‘of those who don’t fit our mould—an attitude that reveals itself in the stoic [statue-like] stare or burning comment. Such reactions will thin the church ranks faster than fire in the basement or flu in the pew. Paul rebuked the Galatians for “deserting Christ” (see 1:6), “nullifying the grace of God” (see 2:21), and becoming “bewitched by legalism” (see 3:1)… Sure, there are limits to freedom. Grace does not give us free licence… The opposite of legalism isn’t “do as you please”. But the limitations are broader than most of us realise. I can’t believe, for example, the only music God smiles on is hymns… Nor do I believe the necessary clothing for entering His temple is a suit and tie… Let’s remember who gets wrought up over outward appearances. It’s not God! He “looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 NASB)… Jesus reserved His strongest and longest sermon… for… legalists—present-day Pharisees. When it came to self-righteous showing off, Jesus pulled no punches. He found it was the only way to deal with those who hung around places of worship disdaining and despising others. No less than seven times He pronounced “Woe to you”, because that’s the only language a Pharisee understands…
Two final comments:
(1) If you tend towards Phariseeism in any form, stop it! If you’re the type who bullies and looks down on others… you’re today’s Pharisee.
(2) When a modern-day Pharisee tries to control your life, stop them. Remind those religious phonies that the splinter in your eye is between you and God, and they should pay attention to the tree trunk in their own eye.’