Posts Tagged ‘Legalism’

The Wednesday Word: You May be a Legalist If: …Part 2

You may be a legalist if you are a professing Christian but suspect that your salvation has not been secured and guaranteed by Christ. If this is the case, you are likely trying to try to supplement your salvation by your own efforts and righteousness. That means you are a legalist and legalism wants you to focus anywhere and everywhere but on the Finished Work of Christ for your salvation.

The gospel, however, brings the death knell to legalism. As gospel believers, we learn to rest entirely in who Jesus is and on what He has accomplished for us in the Finished Work.

Shortly after the feeding of the 5,000, Christ was confronted by a group of eager legalists asking, “What shall we do that we might work the works of God?” (John 6:28). Christ’s reply (verse 29) is very telling. He responds, “This is the work of God that you believe on him who He has sent.” That is to say, to believe, (rest and trust) on Christ, is to do the work of God. In other words, it is not resting on our practices but resting on the doing, dying and rising again of the Lord Jesus. Only Christ´s person and work can satisfy the Father.

The legalist tries to do good things in an attempt to earn and secure God’s favour. That’s how he understands life. He feels that somehow, he must continually turn God’s heart towards him. These folks (in verse 28) wanted Jesus to give them a list of things to do. Legalists love lists. To the carnal mind, the thought of a free gift from God is nonsense. These folks wanted to do something.

It was the same with the rich young ruler: “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18):

Also, with the Jews on the day of Pentecost: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).

It was the same with the Philippian jailer: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).

And with the prodigal son —”Make me as one of thy hired servants” (one who works for what he receives).

But, here’s the thing, our lists cannot gain us acceptance before God. On the contrary, the work of salvation is to rely upon the work of someone else to be saved.

The legalist has difficulty grasping the personal sufficiency of the atonement. He has trouble believing scriptures like;

“I, even I, am he that blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).

Or, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12).

The legalist struggles with the fact that God exercises His divine prerogative to forget our sins. So, let´s not remember what God has forgotten.

In reality, legalists make works not only the evidence of salvation but salvation itself. This is an attack on the Lord Jesus! He has made peace by the blood of his Cross (Colossians 1:20). Peace was not made when we added our two cents worth. Redemption was accomplished at Calvary. The work was and is finished.

If we are ultimately saved by Christ plus our works, then works become one of our mediators. But the Scripture asserts that there is but one mediator between God and man .. not two (see 1 Timothy 2:5).

If our works mediate for us, then they are partly responsible for our peace. But the scriptures know nothing of this. Peace has already been made by the shed blood of Calvary plus nothing. (Colossians 1:20).

There is one Mediator between God and man. There is one Peace-maker. We have been reconciled to God by Christ alone (2 Corinthians 5:18). And this is as it should be. What works of ours can compare to those of the Lord Christ? The best of our works are defiled by imperfections. Our works cannot make an atonement, but instead, they need one made for themselves.

I like what Daniel Miall of Portsea said as he reflected on man´s wretched condition. He declared,

“If the Lord were to bring us within one step of heaven and leave us to take that last step alone, we would step into Hell.”

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee 

The Wednesday Word: You May be a Legalist If: …Part 1

March 11, 2020 3 comments

You may be a Legalist if.. you believe God loves you, but suspect that He doesn´t like you.

If God was looking at you, right now, and you managed to take a snapshot of His face, what would it look like? As He considered you, would He be smiling? Or, would He have an irritated frown? Take a moment to reflect on your answer!

What do you believe the Almighty thinks of you? Your response will reveal whether or not you are behaving as a legalist. Legalists, you see, feel that God is continually scowling at them. Try as they may, they just can´t shake off this idea of the disapproving diety. They haven´t done enough, and they know it. They, in their own minds, have earned Heaven´s well-deserved glower. That´s why they are characterised by endless amounts of guilt and self-effort.

But, what about us, are we in that camp? Do we, at times, believe the theory that God loves us but, at the same time, because of our lack of performance, He doesn´t like us very much?

We all know that loving someone and liking them are two different things. When we like someone, we enjoy their company and welcome their relationship. Does the Father appreciate our company and friendship? According to the legalist…NO! Only if we try very hard to please Him (the Lord). For the legalists, God´s love is an unproven, non-impactful theory. He´s like the man who knows the words of the song but doesn´t know the melody.

In reality, legalism challenges and denies the gospel. It denies us access to the enjoyment of God´s favour. The legalist part of us says, “I’m not good enough, and God isn’t pleased with me.” These voices continually pound in our hearts as they bring their own particular brand of bondage.

But, here´s some good news,… because of the Finished Work, the way to overcome this oppression is in and through the gospel. Instead of counting beads, as some religionists do, we can count up gospel benefits.

Here´s the gospel truth. If you have been justified by grace through faith, it´s because God really does love you. The shed blood of Christ really has removed every barricade to the Father´s presence and approval. The only thing deeper than your sin is the depth of the Saviour´s love for you.

We have an open heaven, not because of what we are doing but because of what He has done …(see Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 10:19; Romans 5:2; Hebrews 6:19-20).

By grace, you have been adopted into the family of God. Understand this, when God sees you, He smiles for He sees you in Jesus. Consider the following scripture, “For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). That´s a magnificent verse to memorise. It is a powerful weapon in the arsenal of Finished Work truth.

The cross declares that God´s favour is on us. God both loves and likes us! May we make it personal by telling ourselves this gospel truth and telling it often. The gospel will put legalism to the sword.

Rest in Him and enjoy Him. How easy is that?

There´s a powerful scripture which tells of Jesus love and how He loves us? Accordingly, He loves us till the end (John 13:1).

In the middle of our spiritual conflict, He loves us to the end.

Amid our spiritual turmoil, He loves us to the end.

Amid all our spiritual shortcomings, He loves us to the end.

Amid our daily struggle with sin, He loves us to the end.

Amid our temptations, He loves us to the end.

Amid our rebellion of heart and self-will, He loves us to the end.

He knows all, and He still loves us. And that´s why Jesus is called “Wonderful” Because that´s who and what He is … WONDERFUL! He loves us to the end.

No room for legalism here!

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee 

The Wednesday Word: Invasion of the ‘List Men’

February 20, 2019 Leave a comment

‘List-Men’ is another term for legalizers… so-called because they come armed with lists of things for us to do (and not to do) so that we may gain acceptance from the Father in Heaven.

Their gospel (which is no Gospel at all) teaches Christ plus something else. They always add to the Finished Work teaching that, for salvation, we need more than Christ alone.

They accuse true Gospel Believers of being Antinomian, … (an odd term by which they charge that our preaching and believing is against the law). Regardless of their charges, Grace Believers strenuously oppose any law being put in the place of the Gospel. Only the doing, dying and rising again of the Lord Jesus gives us eternal life. Our salvation is found entirely and utterly in His obedience on our behalf.

However, we take encouragement from Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones, the great expository preacher of the last century, who said, “The true preaching of the gospel of salvation by grace alone always leads to the possibility of this charge (Antinomianism) being brought against it.

(Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans 6).

The List -Men came in all shapes and sizes. When I was growing up, the List-Men had us persuaded that men could only wear dark clothes. They ruled that no one was allowed to go to the cinema. Theirfavourite line was “what would Jesus say if He came back and found you standing in the line to purchase a ticket for the movies.” Many and varied were their demands…which must be adhered to if ever there was to be a hope of being saved.

This was the kind of thing that was happening to the Galatians. The List-Men of their generation taught that the Gospel wasn’t enough. They insisted that circumcision needed to be added. As a result, the Galatians had left the Gospel and were following hard after these wretched List-Men. They were in an anti-Gospel spiral.

Paul, moved by the Holy Spirit, felt so strongly about this that he wrote in Galatians 1:6-7, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:”

Then in verse 8 “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”

Paul was talking about two different gospels, not two different interpretations of the same gospel.

There are two gospels. One is false the other true.

In one,man stands before God on the basis of human merit.

In the other, he stands before God on the merits of Jesus Christ alone.

In one, man stands before God in the righteousness of what he has accomplished.

In the other, man stands before God recognizing that there is nothing he can do to satisfy God’s just demands. He knows he cannot do anything to satisfy God but that Christ has met all needed requirements on his behalf.

One teaches ‘Do.’

The other teaches ‘Done’

If you are a List-Man you should consider these words of Jesus, “It is Finished”(John 19:30). By this, Christ meant all of the types, symbols, emblems, and the institutions of the Old Testament—the priesthood, the temple, the altar, the sacrifice, all of it—was finished. No rules and regulations are now needed for salvation, just Christ alone!

Furthermore, Christ’s finished work was confirmed by the torn veil in the Temple (Matthew 27:51). The torn veil cries out, “It is Finished.” That 60 feet long, embroidered curtain was torn from the top to the bottom. What an act of God to demonstrate that the Old economy was gone.

So away with your lists. Who do you think you are to presume to add to The Finished Work of the young Prince of Glory?

“A curse upon you if you do” (Galatians 1:8).

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

Thoughts on Christian Liberty

September 29, 2016 Leave a comment

by Tom Ascol

With the resurgence of reformed theology has come a rediscovery of the doctrine of Christian liberty. This doctrine is important for spiritual growth and health because, as Paul succinctly put it in Galatians 5:1, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

There are many such yokes that well-intentioned people try to place on believers—telling us what we must do and not do or how we must live if we want to be pleasing to the Lord: “Don’t groom like that.” “Dress like this.” “Don’t drink that.” “Don’t drive (or ride) that,” etc.

The same type of pressure was placed on first-century Christians. They were admonished to be circumcised, to keep certain Jewish customs and to maintain certain dietary restrictions in order to be holy. The questions raised by these pressures are what led to the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15.




Read the entire article here.

Avoid Legalism: Emphasize the Law

by Tom Hicks

Many of today’s young evangelicals have happily thrown off the legalistic fundamentalism of their childhood. They’ve come to a greater understanding of God’s abundant grace, and the gospel has liberated them from slavery to guilt and fear. That’s a very good thing. But I submit that recovering the gospel alone isn’t enough to keep legalism at bay. We need a renewed emphasis on the law of God or else legalism will inevitably reemerge. Specifically, we need a clear emphasis on (1) the law as a covenant, and (2) the law as a standard or rule.

The Law as a Covenant

The law as a covenant says, “Do this and live” (Lev 18:5; Ez 20:11; Lk 10:28; Rom 10:5; Gal 3:12). It demands perfect obedience for eternal life (Gal 3:12; 5:3). It makes no provision for forgiveness of sins (Gal 3:10). The law covenant is inflexible and absolute. Even one sin against the law covenant brings guilt and eternal condemnation…..




Read the entire article here.

The Threefold Use of the Law

October 28, 2015 2 comments

by R.C. Sproul

Every Christian wrestles with the question, how does the Old Testament law relate to my life? Is the Old Testament law irrelevant to Christians or is there some sense in which we are still bound by portions of it? As the heresy of antinomianism becomes ever more pervasive in our culture, the need to answer these questions grows increasingly urgent.

The Reformation was founded on grace and not upon law. Yet the law of God was not repudiated by the Reformers. John Calvin, for example, wrote what has become known as the “Threefold Use of the Law” in order to show the importance of the law for the Christian life.1




Read this short article here.


The Wednesday Word: 12 Marks of the Grace Believer!

September 2, 2015 1 comment

1. Grace Believers trust that they are saved entirely and utterly by someone else, the Lord Jesus Christ. They believe that their sole qualification for salvation is found, not in their worthiness, but in their unworthiness. The Grace Believer sees Christ as his complete acceptance before God (Philippians 3:4-9). The Grace Believer holds that Christ alone is his saviour. He believes, like the faithful of other generations that,“There is no Priest but Christ, no Sacrifice but Calvary, no Confessional but the Throne of Grace and no Authority but the Word of God.”

2. Grace Believers understand, along with the greats of the past, that to know Christ and Him crucified is not the minimum of spiritual knowledge but the maximum. The Grace believer knows that all doctrines find their hub in Christ Crucified. All doctrines indeed lead to and from the Christ of the cross. All teaching, responsibilities, and Christian activities find their centre in Christ Crucified. In Christ alone, the Grace Believer discovers the treasures of wisdom, knowledge and spiritual understanding (Isaiah 45:3; Colossians 2:3).

3. Grace Believers, as they grow in grace, rather than become self-satisfied and hard spirited, continue to develop in their understanding of their lack of worth. As the gospel-hammer breaks them, they increase in the comprehension that they receive favour, not because of themselves, but because of being in Christ! They understand that Christ’s worthiness is the source of all their blessings (1 Corinthians 4:7).

4.Grace Believers know that they have the full favour of God, not because of any works they have done or are doing. They have the full favour of God because of Christ alone. By faith, they grasp that the Father is well pleased with them and indeed rejoices over them. (Zephaniah 3:17) Indeed, the Father cannot be more delighted with His people than he already is. Grace Believers know they are not accepted by having their own righteousness which comes by fulfilling rules and regulations. They are in Christ and have Christ’s entire righteousness credited and reckoned to them (see Philippians 3:9).

5. As they grow in grace, Grace Believers refuse to make resolutions, vows and pledges to enable them to serve God in a fuller way. Grace Believers put no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3).

6. Grace Believers are not so foolish as to try self-improvement techniques. Instead, they focus on Christ and his glory. They know that change comes from looking outside themselves to the glorious person of Christ. They rejoice in 2 Corinthians 3:18; “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord”.

7. Grace Believers are confident of God’s past, present and future grace, yet they refuse to make a practice of abusing that grace. Grace, not Law teaches them to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. Grace, not law, teaches them to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world (Titus 2:11-12).

8. Grace Believers are learning to not get permanently discouraged with their performance. Instead, they are learning to focus on Christ and His performance on their behalf. One of the Grace Believer’s theme songs could be;

“It is finished!” yes, indeed,

Finished, every jot;
Believer, this is all you need,
Tell me, is it not?
Till to Jesus’ work we cling

By a simple faith,
“Doing” is a deadly thing—
“Doing” ends in death.
I’ll cast my deadly “doing” down—

Down at Jesus’ feet;
I stand in Him, in Him alone,
Gloriously complete.

9. The Grace Believer is so reduced by the sight of himself as a wretch … a sight graciously granted by the Holy Spirit in a non-condemning manner … that he soon discovers he has no room to practice arrogance and pride.

10. The Grace Believer holds that devotion to God arises, not from an obligation to repay God. On the contrary, the Grace Believer knows that we love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Devotion to God comes through the gospel.

11. The Grace Believer does not believe that blessings come as the result of our acts of consecration to God. That is to reverse God’s order. That is to teach law and not gospel. The Legalist makes man’s blessing depend on his personal dedication and devotion. Also, the legalist insists that the more we consecrate ourselves to God the greater will flow the blessing. According to his scheme, we move the hand of God by our works. To think like this, however, is to remove ourselves from the enjoyments of gospel blessings. This is to cease to look to Christ alone as our only acceptance before God.

12. The Grace Believer knows that grace has not made us a debtor to God. The Grace Believer does not try to repay the debt of grace he feels he owes. The Grace Believer holds that God, in giving His grace, did not put us into any contract with accompanying clauses and conditions. It is grace that saves and grace alone. It is faith alone which receives that which Grace alone in the person of Christ alone has accomplished. The Grace Believer does not serve God because he feels he owes God something. Rather, he serves God because He loves God and he loves God because God first loved Him.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee 

Grace Robbers Pt 3

Some of the greatest and most lethal grace robbers are those I call, the ‘List People’. They are continually trying to improve their standing before God by doing things. If this describes you, I hate to tell you, but you are a legalist! You have been robbed of grace.

One of the ways to recognise a legalist is that he is the one whose list of rules is longer than God’s. Let me explain. Many Christians embrace the idea of grace for salvation. However, they then fall into the trap of thinking that after they become Christians there is a list left to complete to keep salvation in effect. This is Grace Robber thinking!

Here’s the kind of thing these Grace Robbers say. ‘If we obey God, we’ll earn more of His love!’ Unlike the original Judaizers, these grace robbers don’t tell us that we need to be circumcised. Instead, they say, “If you want God to really favour you with His smile, you must give your finances, read your Bible, and pray every day.”

Now, here’s where we need to be established in the gospel. Giving money to the gospel, reading the Bible and praying are excellent and commendable activities, but they will not increase the full favour of God which we already have in Christ.

God doesn’t say to us, “I’ll give you my grace, but in return you have to worship me.” Grace is un-conditional! Yahweh is the God of grace without conditions. Grace doesn’t put us into debt to God, instead, it clears our debt. Grace is free, it doesn’t come with an attached Rider. Grace is both unsought and unbought by us. Grace is given without cost to us and without cause in us.

Grace always remains unearned and undeserved on our part; otherwise it would not be grace. If we have to do something to continue to receive grace, it is not grace. Someone asked Spurgeon, “Why do you say ’free’ grace and not merely grace?” Spurgeon replied, “I do so to make assurance doubly sure. We will always call it, not only grace, but free grace, to make it clear that God gives his grace freely to sinners,—the undeserving and ungodly. He gives it without any condition. If, in one place, he says that he requires repentance, in another place he promises to give repentance; if he demands faith at one moment, he bestows it at another. So grace is always God’s free gift, and that suits a man who has not a penny in his pocket.”

I understand the legalist’s position very well because I used to be one.… mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! I am a recovering legalist. Although, I believed (and preached) that we were saved by grace alone, I also taught that to enjoy the continued favour of God we had to look beyond the cross to our own performance. There were things that we had to do to gain God’s updated favour. I fasted twice a week, and, each day, got up at 4 AM for prayer and Bible study. BTW, there is nothing wrong with such activity, but I thought by doing these things I was maintaining the flow of God’s love and blessing into my life. That was a terrible error! Also, I thought that, if I wanted to keep the smile of heaven, I had to constantly get out there and witness to the unsaved. If I wasn’t doing all those things, I felt I was disappointing God. I, thus, kept myself, and others, in grievous and inglorious bondage.

But, here’s the gospel truth: we believers already have the entire favour of God, not because of any works we have done or are doing. We have the full favour of God because of Christ and His works. We are in Him. We are not accepted by having our own righteousness which comes by fulfilling lists of rules and regulations. We are in Him. We have, therefore, Christ’s entire righteousness credited and reckoned to us (see Philippians 3:9).

So what about works? Yes indeed, what about them? As grace believers, we want to obey God because we know and enjoy His gracious love. By the way, if we think grace means that we can sin all we want, we’ve turned grace into what has been nicknamed, “Greasy Grace.” The more we understand grace, however, the more we desire to follow the Lord Jesus and to honour Him.

The difference between obedience in legalism and obedience in grace is in the motive for our obedience. If we obey God with the belief that it will improve our standing with God, or that He will love us less if we don’t, then we are encountering a grace robber. But, if we obey God in response to being deeply loved and warmly welcomed, then we are standing in grace and enjoying being saved.

Grace believers don’t read their Bibles and pray because they feel like they are obligated to: they read because they want to! They don’t try to share the gospel with people because they feel like they have to: they do it because God has empowered them to want to share.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee 

Grace Robbers Part 2

Grace Robbers are very subtle. They don’t go around chanting, “Down with the cross, down with the cross.” However, when it comes to preaching, they emphasise, not Christ crucified, but feelings and experience. Grace robbers will major on anything and everything but the grace of God in the gospel.

By the way, it’s not that it’s wrong to feel the presence of the Lord and to enjoy Him. God forbid that we should have a cold, dry, bare faith that does not affect the entire being. However, vast numbers of professing Christians are continually lusting after the excitement of a new experience. The gospel is not enough. They want ‘The Release of the River of Life’, or the ‘Soaking of the Spirit’. They wish for something other than the gospel.

They fail to see the glory of Christ in the good news. They desire a richer experience than they feel is afforded to them by the gospel. They seem unimpressed that Christ has, by His doing, dying and rising again, gained a glorious inheritance for us. They do not stand in awe and wonder of His present day sovereign intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). It seems a matter of nothing to them to know that we have already received the Spirit of Adoption (Romans 8:15). They appear to be unaware that we are already in Christ and are already blessed with all spiritual blessings in Him (Ephesians 1:3). The Father Himself, as He beholds us in Christ, speaks well of us, but this does not seem to move them. In the search for a deeper spirituality, many have turned their eyes inward. To their detriment, the object of their attention becomes themselves and not the risen, exalted Christ, who loved us and gave Himself for us (Colossians 3:2).

Here’s the kind of thing that happens when the believer’s focus is taken off Christ. Let’s say someone feels they have had a great, new, spiritual experience. They then insist that everyone must have the same experience they have had. It must be duplicated among all and sundry!

But, this is just another form of anti-gospel, grace robbing legalism! This new supposed blessing now put itself in competition against the blessings we already have in Christ alone. Furthermore, this is not the New Testament, apostolic pattern. We read, for example, in 2 Corinthians 12:2 of how Paul visited the third heaven. Yet nowhere does the apostle promote that all of us need to have ‘The Third Heaven Experience’ to complete our Christianity. In fact, it’s quite the opposite for he tells us that we are already complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10). In addition, Peter was praying and had a vision of a sheet descending from heaven and God spoke to him (Acts 11:5ff). This was doubtless a time of intense spiritual intimacy for him, but at no point did he ever call for people to come and be blessed with the Joppa Experience.

I remember, some years ago, being pressured by well-meaning people to go to Toronto, Canada, for there was a supposed blessing to be had at a church there. If you were without the ‘Toronto Blessing’, my friends inferred, you lacked spiritual insight and sensitivity. I don’t know how the leaders of this blessing felt, but many of the followers (of the blessing) implied that they were the ‘haves’ and we others, who had not received this blessing, were the ‘have nots’. We were the second-class citizens of the Kingdom, they the first-class. They were the grade A Christians…the rest of us were merely grade B.

But, this kind of thinking is grace robbing legalism. Why so? Because, in their eyes, they had not already been made Grade A Christians by Christ alone. They were made grade A Christians by having had the Toronto Blessing. They held that we needed the blood plus a second blessing to get a first class ticket to heaven. This is Legalism…impure, anti-gospel, grace robbing legalism!

Here’s the Gospel Truth, because of the Finished Work, each child of God is already a ‘Grade A’ Christian. The cross has made every believer first class and entirely accepted. In Christ, we are already enjoying, the non-improvable, full smile of Heaven.

So beware of Grace Robbers. They will teach that if you are truly in tune with God, your experience will mirror theirs. They have had an experience and are, in their opinion, better off and more spiritual than are you. However, if you buy into this nonsense, you have fallen for the teaching of another grace robber.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

The Gospel Truth about Grace Robbers! Part 1

June 10, 2015 1 comment

Many years ago, I lived in a large, old country house in County Wexford, Ireland. There was a legend attached to the house that told of how one of the previous owners had died and had been buried with some of her jewelry. Later that night, grave robbers broke into the crypt in search of her very prized ring. However, owing to the ring being so tightly attached to her person, the robbers had to resort to cutting off her finger (ring and all). According to the story, such was the violence of the act that the lady resuscitated. She screamed, the robbers screamed and scattered and the woman was able to slowly walk home to where her grieving family had gathered.

I don’t know whether or not the story is factual, but people in the locality were convinced that it was true.

One thing I do know, however, is that when I’m gone, no one will have to rob my grave. There’ll be nothing of value in there. So, I’m not concerned about grave robbers. However, what concerns me is not future grave robbers but present day Grace Robbers.

Grace is more valuable than anything else. Ever since the gospel was first preached, however, there have been a wretched class of people whom we call grace robbers. Among other things, they teach that to find and keep acceptance before God, we must do certain things.

In the early church, these grace robbers preached that, to be accepted by God, non-Jewish Christians had to live under the rules of the Old Covenant. They were referred to as Judaizers. They are still among us. Of course, they don’t say the same words that the old time Judaizers said, but, nonetheless, they are grace robbers all the same. They tell us that there is something that we must do to be saved.

By way of illustration, let me introduce you to two Doctors who both claim to have the ability to bring us spiritual health. One is Called Dr. Law and the other, Dr. Grace. Each has a different theory as to how to get us well. Take Dr. Law for example. Some patients asked him about salvation. Dr. Law glared and said, “God does His part and you do yours!” That sounded sensible, but those who followed his prescription were always left in doubt as to whether or not they had done enough on their part. So the patients then went to Dr. Grace and Dr. Grace said, “You can’t do and don’t do anything to gain salvation.”

Back they then go to Dr. Law. When he hears about Dr. Grace’s diagnosis, Dr. Law stiffened and glares at them. Quick as a flash he says, “In Acts 16:31 the Philippian Jailer asked, ‘What must I DO to be saved?’ Paul’s answer was, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved!’ So there you are sirs,” says Dr. Law, “it’s as plain as the noses on your collective faces. The scripture tells you to do something…it tells you to believe. Believing is doing.”

So they go back to Dr. Grace and he smiles and calmly says, “Believing is not doing: Believing is simply trusting and resting. There is no effort on your part and there can be none because God has already accomplished salvation! When you believe, you are merely receiving that which has already been done for you. There’s no work required on your part.”

They then go back to Dr. Law and he declares, “What nonsense is this? It stands to reason that man must do something to close the gap between himself and God. Don’t listen to that Grace fellow. He’ll tell you that Salvation is spelled with five letters J-E-S-U-S.”

The distraught listeners go back to Dr. Grace and report on what Dr. Law has said. Dr. Grace smiles and says, “Yes indeed, Jesus is the summation of salvation. Furthermore, there are basically two ways to spell salvation: The first one, is D-O. That’s the way Dr. Law spells it. His followers believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins, but they still think there is something for them to DO to be saved. They feel they must add, some form of sincere good works to the equation. This is the very opposite of Salvation by Grace!”

Then Dr. Grace continues, “The other way to spell salvation is:

D-O-N-E. Jesus has completed the work of salvation. It is Finished. Rest in Him and His accomplishments.”

This satisfies the patients. Thereafter they rest in the accomplishments of their Saviour. Dr. Law still tries to influence them, but because of Dr Grace, he does not succeed.

For the sake of discussion, if you think that God has already done 99.9% of what’s necessary for you to be saved and now it’s up to you to do the remaining 0.1%, you still don’t understand grace. You are a legalist! If you tell your scheme to others and they believe you, you are a grace-robber.

As S. L. Johnson said, “Bible Christianity is unique. It is the only system of truth in which it is plainly stated that the work of redemption is already accomplished!” (S. L. Johnson: Union with Christ) He was right. Every other system of religion is a scheme by which we try to get right with God through the things we do. But Bible Christianity is distinctive. The Lord Jesus Christ has accomplished the saving work, outside of and apart from us. It is finished!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee