If I’m being honest, I look down on people who don’t do things the way I do things, and who believe differently than I believe. As much as I want to believe that I love other people well, and as much as I want to believe that I’m a broken sinner, I’m often faced with the reality that I’m really not as good as I think I am. The problem is that deep down, I’m religious.
But I’m not the only one. You’re religious too. Any time you feel morally, spiritually, racially, economically, or theologically superior to anyone else, you’re being religious in a way. We ALL struggle with it. You ever go to the fair? You KNOW you look at all the redneck hillbillies from who-KNOWS-where, and you think, “I’m better than THOSE people.”
But there’s a difference between religious people and Christians. I got some of this from the great Tim Keller from Redeemer Church in Manhattan.
· The Legalist: Relies on the law of God, and obeys it wel, which leads to self-righteousness, legalism, and smugness. Legalists are very intolerant people; externally very confident and opinionated, but internally very insecure, since nobody can truly be “right” all the time.
· The Guilty: Relies on the the law of God, but often don’t obey very well. The guilty ones have large mood swings: they’re relieved when they perform well, and have feelings of great guilt and shame when they don’t. Often these folks end up burning out and leaving church. They’re more tolerant than the Legalists, but tend to shy away from having true community (due to their shame).
· The Postmodern: They don’t rely on the Law, and don’t obey it well. (what is truth, anyway?) and therefore don’t try to obey it. This leads to a self-righteousness, but a different kind than the legalist. These people choose their OWN moral standards, and feel like they are earning their own type of righteousness, in a way. They are much more tolerant (in a liberal sort of way) and thus, feel very superior to those who don’t have their level of tolerance.
· The Gospel Christian: They don’t rely on the Law, and they obey it joyfully. They understand the Gospel, and live in true freedom because of it. They obey willingly and joyfully. They are more tolerant than the Postmodernist (because they believe they are more broken than everyone else); more sympathetic than the Guilty (because they know how much God loves them when they fail); and more confident than the Legalist, (because they know how much they are loved, and how Jesus obeyed FOR them.)
Next post: How in the world can we live “Christianly” and not “Religiously?”
Posted on May 25, 2016
by Ethos Presbyterian filed under