In the Church we hold to Truth with a capital T. Our objective should be to obey God, following His Word. Yet, we do that, in Christ, from a position of grace, not law.
Both grace and truth, not legalism, should permeate all we do, beginning with our decision-making.
Basis for Decisions Void of Legalism
We must keep in mind that Jesus came to fulfill the law, not abolish it (Matt. 5:19). Consequently, grace doesn’t mean we lay aside truth. — “Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (Jn. 1:16-17)
- Decisions based on the law ask, “What should we do to fulfill our duty as Christians?”
- Decision based on grace alone ask, “What does it really matter what we decide to do?”
- Decisions based on grace AND truth ask, “What can we do that shows the love of God while still holding to truth?”
The Problem with Legalistic Decisions
Decisions based on the law, rather than grace and truth, too often lead to rigid expectations that are hard to live up to and can engender hypocrisy rather than living in truth.
Decisions based on the law rather than grace and truth, too often lead to pride. We think too much about appearances in what we do rather than how our decisions will truly honor God and minister to the needs of people. Think about it: Are we making self-serving decisions or ones that truly build the Kingdom?
The Pharisees and teachers of the law in Jesus’ day acted from a position of legalism. Jesus, however, spoke of a righteousness that surpassed what they demonstrated — one that wasn’t based on self-righteousness but rather on God’s grace (Matt. 5:20).
The problem with legalistic decisions isn’t that they lack truth. Often they’re formed on a layer of truth. The problem is that they fail to reflect the power of God’s grace at work in His people. As the very last verse in the Bible says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.” (Rev. 22:21)