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K.P. Yohannan on Legalism

February 15, 2006

I enjoyed K.P.’s article on legalism when I go the lastest issue of Send.

Many Christians make the mistake of thinking that obeying the Bible makes them spiritual. Mahatma Gandhi obeyed the Sermon on the Mount quite literally—yet he never became a follower of Christ. The Pharisees knew their Bible well, yet Jesus told them, “You search and investigate and pore over the Scriptures diligently, because you suppose and trust that you have eternal life through them. And these [very Scriptures] testify about Me!” (John 5:39, Amplified, emphasis added).

Under the Old Covenant, the people of Israel gave themselves to obey the letter of the Law. There were plenty of dos and don’ts to follow. But now, under the New Covenant, we are called to be partakers of His nature (2 Peter 1:4).

Do you see the difference?

If the Bible is for us only a book to obey, we go back to living under the Old Covenant. We become legalistic like the Pharisees as we seek our own righteousness. But God intends for His Word to touch and transform our lives as it reveals Jesus to us.

The Word of God tells us that Jesus’ life was “the light of men” (John 1:4). A set of instructions or doctrines will never show us the way or give us power to live. Only Jesus can do that. His very life, His example, is what gives us understanding, discernment and clarity for living in the perfect will of God at all times and in all situations. He is not only our Savior, but also the One who goes before us—our forerunner (Hebrews 6:20)

Later he says

2 Corinthians 3:18 tells us that as we look into the Word of God, we see the very nature of Jesus—and the Holy Spirit changes us into His likeness day by day, transforming us on the inside to become just like what we are seeing.

Practically, what does this mean? We must seek Jesus daily by reading God’s Word and comparing our hearts with His. We must measure our humility, obedience, love and passion for the lost by what we see in Him.

True godliness is not just following some rules and regulations; rather, it is allowing the Lord Jesus to live through our earthen vessels (2 Corinthians 4:7). It becomes “no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). And as we long to live as Jesus lived and learn to die daily to our selves, we will watch in wonder as He makes us more and more like Him!

From the latest issuse of Send click link to read the whole thing.

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