Summary: The Holy Spirit helps us realize that a person living according to a lawful orientation is always looking for guidelines by which everyone’s actions can be regulated. A person living by Christ’s graceful attitude looks to the Spirit and the word of God fo
Grace Living Lessens Legalism
Galatians 2:16 "Yet we know that a man is justified or reckoned righteous and in right standing with God not by works of the Law but only through faith and absolute reliance to trust in Jesus the Anointed One. Therefore, even we ourselves believed on Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the Law or by any observance of the ritual of the Law given by Moses because keeping legal rituals and by works no human being can ever be justified declared righteous and put in right standing with God." (Amplified)
It helps us to understand if we consider His fatherly relationship with us. Leadership magazine tells the story of Rusty Stephens, a Navigators
director in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Rusty relates:
"As I feverishly pushed the lawn mower around our yard, I wondered if I’d finish before dinner. Mikey, our six year old, walked up and without even asking, stepped in front of me and placed his hands on the
mower handle. Knowing that he wanted to help me, I quit pushing. The mower quickly slowed to a stop. Chuckling inwardly at his struggles, I resisted the urge to say, ’Get out of here, kid. You’re in my way,’ and said instead, ’Here, son, I’ll help you.’ As I resumed pushing, I bowed my back, leaned forward, and walked spread-legged to avoid colliding
with Mikey. The grass cutting continued, but more slowly and less efficiently than before, because Mikey was ’helping’ me. Suddenly, tears came to my eyes as it hit me: This is the way my heavenly Father
allows me to ’help’ him build his kingdom! I pictured my heavenly Father at work seeking, saving, and transforming the lost, and there I was, with my weak hands, ’helping.’ My Father could do the work by
himself, but He doesn’t. He chooses to stoop graciously to allow me to co-labor with Him. Why? For my sake, because he wants me to have the privilege of ministering with him."
What a beautiful analogy! God has chosen to use us to help Him. Paul wrote, "We are God’s fellow workers" (1 Corinthians 3:9, NKJV).
1. LEGALISM RESTRICTS FREEDOM - The Holy Spirit helps us realize that a person living according to a lawful orientation is always looking for guidelines by which everyone’s actions can be regulated. A person living by Christ’s graceful attitude looks to the Spirit and the word of God for guidance. Ask the Lord to help you avoid trying to regulate peoples’ lives by more rules, regulations and procedural guidelines. Trust God’s Spirit to guide people through His mercy, grace and truth.
2. LEGALISM DISTORTS GOD’S GRACIOUSNESS - The Holy Spirit convicts people who are living by the law as they often are quick to judge others by their rigid standards. People living by grace leave real judgment up to the Lord’s sovereign wisdom. Ask the Lord to help you be less judgmental and more gracious, merciful and trusting of God’s judgments.
3. LEGALISM MANIFESTS UGLY PHARISAICAL THINKING - The Holy Spirit exposes people who are living by the law as they are often Pharisaical in their thinking, attitudes and actions. People living by grace realize that every good thing they have been given freely from the Lord so they are humble and contrite in heart. Ask the Lord to help you be more humble & contrite.
4. LEGALISM HINDERS FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD - The Holy Spirit severs fellowship with people who habitually live by the law rather than grace. People living by grace are in constant fellowship with the Lord. They have learned it is not by power or by might but by God’s Spirit that the will of God gets accomplished. Ask the Lord to help you confess and forsake all sins so as to avoid missing out on all the blessings of the fellowship of the Spirit.
5. LEGALISM FOSTERS SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS FEELINGS - The Holy Spirit chastens those who try to consistently live by the law because they are proud of themselves and display a sense of self-righteousness to others. People living by grace remember that without Christ’s forgiveness, redemption and atonement we would all be eternally condemned to hell and destruction. Ask the Lord to help you avoid any self-righteous attitudes in your personal life, relationships or ministries.
6. GOD’S PLEASURE COMES BY FAITH NOT BY WORKS OF THE FLESH - The Holy Spirit teaches us how a person is made right and acceptable in God’s sight. Paul wrote, "Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ." (Gal. 2:16) Ask the Lord to help you stop trying to be pleasing through works of the law but by grace working through faith.
7. GRACE LIVING PRODUCES GOOD FRUIT NOT LEGALISM - The Holy Spirit diminishes the spiritual fruit of those who are living according to the law rather than grace. People living by grace are filled with a quality and quantity of spiritual fruit since they acknowledge that it is God’s power rather than their own empowering them. Paul wrote, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." (2 Cor. 4:7) Ask the Lord to help you live more by the empowering of the Spirit so you can bear much fruit and prove to be Christ’s disciples. (John 15:16)