Monday, November 7, 2022

Grace, Foolishness, or legalism: Reformation, Reconstruction or Deconstruction?

For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) Romans 5:17 AMPC

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ...2 Corinthians 8:9a MEV

 We've begun a series studying the practical aspects of the Christian life lived under Grace. We are examining various areas of our lives and asking ourselves a question. Are we under Grace or are we walking in foolishness or legalism? 

 Let's again define our terms so there is no miscommunication.  Legalism is excessive adherence to Law or some formula, with the goal of achieving greater acceptance, approval, favor, love, and earned blessings from God. Foolishness means to proceed with folly, being void of understanding and sound judgment, foolishness produces the perversion and/or corruption of the genuine. 

 Grace is the Good News Gospel of Jesus and His Finished Work. When God opened the eyes of a megachurch pastor in Singapore the Grace Reformation swept the lands. God restored the Gospel of Jesus. It was pure Jesus from beginning to end. The Grace reformation took the attention away from man's performance and ability and simply placed Jesus back into the central focus of the Gospel.

 The Grace reformation simply reminded us that God isn't mad at us. God Loves us eternally. That God in Christ has reconciled us and Jesus gave us His Righteousness as a free gift. It brought greater clarity to the Finished Work. God in Christ has forgiven us of all our sins past present and future. God has accepted and approved us because of Jesus' redemptive work and the free gift of Righteousness. His blood purchased eternal redemption for all who believe therefore we are eternally secure. This is the Grace reformation.

 Legalism, birthed from the traditions of men, has instead attempted to reconstruct the Gospel. They add other steps we must take in order to find divine acceptance. Paul simply said believe in Jesus and you will be saved.  Legalism says that's not enough. We must first commit to God that we will cease all our wrongdoing and feel guilt and sorrow for our life choices and then turn away from our sin, then and only then will God save you. 

 Some other groups even insist we go back to observing Mosaic Laws and customs and the feast days. As if observing Passover, Pentecost, or Tabernacles will cause us to become more spiritual or create a greater power within us and greater intimacy with God. The Gospel stands alone from man's works and tradition. The Gospel doesn't need reconstructing.

 For the foolish, many have adopted the deconstruction concept concerning the Gospel. While it is true that we can gain greater insight and greater understanding by asking hard questions, deconstruction never stops there. Deconstruction ultimately wrecks and tears down the fundamentals of the Gospel in exchange for that which is more palatable to modern progressive mindsets.

 I have observed multiple supposed believers who have ascribed to this notion of deconstruction over several years. I have also witnessed whole churches and ministries embrace deconstruction. What is the end result? Without fail, the vast majority so far deconstruct the Gospel so that they end up sunk in the mire of agnosticism, atheism, and postmodernism. 

 I have seen believers fall away, churches close their doors, and ministries fold as they embrace this foolish idea of deconstruction. Of those churches and ministries that yet remain, I chuckle at the hypocrisy as they backtrack on deconstructing one aspect of the Christian Faith. They were quick to deconstruct the inerrancy of Scripture, the need to read the Word, the concept of personal faith, eternal judgment, and fellowshipping of the saints (involvement in a local church.)

 Many were also quick to deconstruct the principle of giving. Suddenly the church leaders and ministries promoting this foolish message found themselves unable to get a salary from their church or ministry as people quit giving. They quickly retracted much of what they proclaimed about giving. 

 Deconstruction seeks to form and fashion a god of man's own design. This god almost always confirms to modern progressive man's views and beliefs without objection. This god alters and updates its beliefs as the modern age changes theirs. 

 Deconstruction is not about simply seeking understanding for hard questions. It seeks to dismantle and demolish the basics of the Christian Faith. It denies the Bible as being God's Word. It pushes the concepts of universalism/inclusionism. It denies the existence of an eternal Hell and any form of future judgment from God. It also promotes the concept that going to church or being involved in church is somehow a burden and a work. 

 In summation, reconstruction and deconstruction are not the Gospel. They are man's attempt at creating a god fashioned from their own design. The Gospel is Good news. The Gospel is so good it needs no help from man to "finish" it or make it more palatable. Let's abide under Pure Grace, not foolishness or legalism.

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