He certainly looked the part. He came in dressed like every visiting preacher we have here. His tone was serious. His piety was evident. His passion for our purity was spilling over in everything he said. He preached of the righteousness of God, and what it means to be the righteous people of God. He spoke against some things that are a real concern of mine in the present culture. He pointed to the text. He referred to the Greek. He brought that discomfort that I suspect my comfortable flesh needs now and then. He certainly couldn’t be faulted as far as taking his Christianity seriously. He wanted us to do the same.
Then someone I know graciously pointed out that what he preached wasn’t even Christian.
I was shocked.
Where was he preaching? It could be your church or mine. It could be Galatia or Philippi or Colossae in the 50’s. The problem with legalists is that they sound so Christian. And it feels so wrong to question their fervent presentation of truth. And in a culture so morally lax they can feel like a breath of clear air in terms of right living that pleases God. Yet legalism does not please God.
The gospel is not great news for those that want to be proud of their own goodness. It isn’t good news for them before salvation and it isn’t good news for them after. Let us raise our antenna and spot the difference between convicting Bible teaching and gospel-lite pressure sessions (and if the gospel gets so ‘lite’ it isn’t there, perhaps we should call it what it is…sub-christian…non-christian).