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What is "license"?

Romans 5:20-6:2 - "The law was added so that the trespass might increase.  But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  What shall we say, then?  Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means!"

Jude 4 - "for certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you.  They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord."

Galatians 5:13 - "You, my brothers, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love."

Ten Characteristics of "legalism" compared to Ten Characteristics of "grace":

            Manmade religiosity:

Mark 7:1-13 - …..(The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the traditions of the elders….And they observe many other traditions….)…..You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men…You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!  For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and "Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.  But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban' (that is, a gift devoted to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother.  Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.  And you do many things like that."

            Accepting graciousness:

Romans 14:1-4, 17-19 - "Accept him whose faith is weak without passing judgment on disputable matters.  One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.  The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.  Who are you to judge someone else's servant?  To his own master he stands or falls.  And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand….For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.  Let us make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification."

            Prideful religiosity:

Luke 18:9-12 -  "…..God, I thank you that I am not like other men---robbers, evildoers, adulterers---or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get."

            Humble graciousness:

Romans 3:23 - "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"

Isaiah 64:6 - "…all are righteous acts are like filthy rags…"

            Hypocritical religiosity:

Matthew 23:25-28 - "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead man's bones and everything unclean.  In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness."

            Accepting graciousness:

I John 1:5-10 - "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you:  God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth…..If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we have not sinned, we make him to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives."

I Timothy 1:15 - "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance:  Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners---of whom I am the worst."

            Boastful religiosity:

Matthew 23:5-7 - "Everything they do is done for men to see:  They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi.'"

Matthew 6:1-18 - "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them.  If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.  So, when you give to the needy do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men……."

            Selfless graciousness:

Ephesians 2:8-10 - "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith---and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God---not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Jeremiah 9:24 - "but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,' declares the Lord."

I Corinthians 4:7 - "For who makes you different from anyone else?  What do you have that you did not receive?  And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?"

Romans 3:27,28 - "Where, then, is boasting?  It is excluded.  On what principle?  On that of observing the law?  No, but on that of faith.  For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law."

            Nitpicking religiosity:

Matthew 23:23,24 - "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You give a tenth of your spices---mint, dill and cummin.  But you have neglected the more important matters of the law---justice, mercy and faithfulness.  You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.  You blind guides!  You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel."

            Forbearing graciousness:

Romans 13:9,10 - "The commandments, 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' "Do not steal.' 'Do not covet,' and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  Love does no harm to its neighbor.  Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."

Matthew 22:37-40 - "Jesus replied: 'love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

I Timothy 1:5 - "The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."

            Tyrannical religiosity:

Matthew 12:1-14 - "At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath.  His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.  When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, 'Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.'……"

Deuteronomy 23:25 - "If you enter your neighbor's grainfield, you may pick kernels with your hands, but you must not put a sickle to his standing grain."

            Servant-hearted graciousness:

Mark 10:45 - "For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for man."

John 3:17 - For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

John 10:10 - "The thief comes only to kill steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

            Burden-adding religiosity:

Matthew 23:4 - "they tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them."

James 4:11,12 - "Brothers, do not slander one another.  Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it….There is only one lawgiver and judge…But you---who are you to judge your neighbor?"

Luke 6:37 - "Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven."

Romans 2:1 - "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things."

            Burden-removing graciousness:

II Corinthians 3:6 - "He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."

Matthew 11:28-20 - "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give your rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

            Policemen religiosity:

Matthew 12:10 - "and a man with a shriveled hand was there.  Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"

Mark 3:2 - "Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath."

Luke 20:20 - "keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest.  They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor."

            Firemen graciousness:

Matthew 7:5 - "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

Galatians 6:1 - "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted."

James 5:19,20 - "My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this:  Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sin."

I Thessalonians 5:14,15 - "And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else."

            Sadistic religiosity:

John 8:1-11 -  …..The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery.  They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, 'Teacher, this woman was caught in an act of adultery….."If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her….

            Forgiving graciousness:

Ephesians 4:32-5:2 - "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

Isaiah 30:18 - "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait on him!"

            Murderous religiosity:

Matthew 23:29-37 - "…you are descendents of those who murdered the prophets…Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers.  Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.  And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar….O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you…"

            Loving graciousness:

Colossians 3:12-14 - "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love which binds them all together in perfect unity."

I Corinthians 13:4-7 - "Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking.  It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."