I belong to a number of religious groups on Facebook, including liberal, evangelical, Lutheran, Anglican, and Orthodox. Plus, I have many friends with an even wider range of religious views. So, as I scroll through Facebook I am exposed to quite a variety of thoughts, opinions, and people posting questions to various groups.
One thing that I see over and over is a tendency for people to grab on to legalism the first chance they get. I can’t tell you how many posts I see a day where people are asking the question, “Is it okay for a Christian/Lutheran/Orthodox/whatever to _______?” Inevitably, the blank is filled in with something totally extraneous to the gospel.
There are a number of problems with a question like this, but I will focus on the fact that this question reveals a need to follow rules or to receive man’s approval to not follow rules. They are not asking about the ethics or morality of a certain action, they are just focused on keeping rules.
Remember Galatians 5:1: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” We were not set free to become slaves to insignificant rule-keeping. Martin Luther said (in German, of course), “Love God and do as you please.”
As we discuss in The Gospel Uncensored, people have a tendency to abandon grace at the drop of a hat for a number of complex reasons, just as the Galatians did, causing Paul to ask, “Are you so foolish?”
Whenever I see one of these posts, it makes me want to scream (or comment in caps) ARE YOU SO FOOLISH? But I’ve learned from experience that this does very little good. Change does not come from Facebook discussions, but by people sharing grace with those around them.
Be a grace-giver Be free, and set others free. For it is indeed for freedom that we have been set free.