Sunday, May 20, 2012

Press On! (Philippians 3:12-16)

When Paul (and those who agree with him) argues against legalism he is not fighting for some sort of antinomianism. To be given the righteousness of Christ on account is not exactly the same thing as being righteous in practice. We still need to press on toward the goal of becoming like Christ, the people of God living the way He wants us to live. The difference is that Paul does not teach that there is some sort of list of laws that you can simply follow to become who you are in Christ.

Instead we have an example, a standard and help. Our example is Christ. Our standard is love. Our help is supernatural, the Holy Spirit. It also helps that we have a new nature and, although it competes with our old self, the love of God comes “naturally” for us.

So we strive to live as God wants; not to follow an arbitrary list of rules that break down in practice. And instead of focusing on that which we are to avoid, and on the times when we fail, we keep our eyes on our example and standard. We live every day trying to be who God has made us to be. Legalism would have us either wallow in our mistakes, or ignore them by comparing ourselves to those whom we consider to be worse. Maturity recognizes that we are none of us perfect, but we can become better. The goal is growth.

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