Wonderful post from the ever reliable Desiring God Blog on legalism vs grace. Featuring Mr Fearing a character from John Bunyan’s renown book the Pilgrim’s Progress.
Recently, while reading John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress to my family, I ran across an insightful character named “Mr. Fearing”. With him I also found one of the clearest descriptions of the effect of legalism I’d ever run across.
He doubted that his acceptance of Christ had made him worthy to claim all the promises of God. Therefore he was afraid he would not be accepted by God. He doubtless believed in a brand of religious legalism—that we must obey law to obtain sufficient grace to become worthy of acceptance.
How true this is for so many of us. Initially we believe in Christ alone for justification, but because our eyes have been opened to our sin, we are deceived into thinking that law-keeping is now necessary to prove that we are worthy of his acceptance, forgetting that it is because of this sin that Christ died in the first place, while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8).
Always a good reminder to every christian that we cannot earn our way into God’s good graces (pun intended) because He’s the one who extended his grace to us without anything we had ever done to deserve it in the first place.