One of the hardest things in all of the Christian life is to figure out where rules fit in. All of us know we need them, but we often don’t appreciate them. Without them we are a mess, but with too many of them we are just as big of a mess. For some, rules are the backbone of all morality, the gateway to God. For others, even the word “rules” turns the stomach. The problem arises when we realize that both of these inclinations are flawed.An over-valuing of rules is legalism. It takes right rules, combines them with wrong motivation and wrong understanding to create a toxic brew of wrong application. Rather than serving people, these rules burden people.
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On the other side are people who wretch at the slightest whiff of legalism. As a result the temptation is to throw burdensome rules to the wind and strictly adhere to the three R’s of “liberty” toward them: renounce, reduce, remove.
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