Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Refreshing Romans 14

Just been reading the truly refreshing Romans 14 asset of my McCheyne reading plan provided brilliantly for me via the youversion app (try it it's excellent). I say "refreshing" as I received again from Paul the singular ethic of Christian living - Faith through love.
Our tendency to legalism is endemic within the church. We had Steve Goss of Freedom in Christ UK speak to us on Sunday morning at X1 and his message of grace drawn from the eternally significant parable of the Prodigal Son was a helpful dose of biblical truth against legalism's constant presence. Romans 14 obviously cuts across the inherent legalism of the apostle Paul's own time but, as is so often the case with God's divine word to us, an ever-fresh and powerful antidote to our own legalism.
I've encountered, and sadly embraced, more forms of legalism than I can remember in my 17 years as a born again believer and have been strongly advised to embrace and enforce others in my almost 3 years of Lead Eldership here at X1. Then I read these words, "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit," and these, "I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died." (Vss. 17 & 14,15)
Love is the paradigm. All is clean but out of love I may need to refrain. Let's enforce righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit as our new 'legalism!' You must have joy in God, you must have the peace that surpasses understanding! That would be truly refreshing. Legalists are not happy and live without peace cause they can never be certain they've done enough or even whether their version of legalism is actually the one that's right.
Romans 14 - refreshing!