Legalism Takes Your Eyes off Jesus
Legalism steals our attention from the perfect work of Christ and concentrates instead on our own works, which are as filthy rags. In this brief clip, Derek Thomas prompts us to fix our eyes on who Jesus is and what He has done for us.
When I was a very young pastor—I’ve said this many times before, but I don’t apologize for repeating it again today, because it’s the perfect lesson that Paul is actually teaching us here. I was a young preacher. I would visit these two sisters. There was a third, she had died. I never actually met Miss Kathleen, but I’d met Miss Madge and Miss Anna. And when I first knew them, they were in their 80s, and they both lived to over 100. And I would visit them. They lived fairly close to the church, and I would visit them about once every couple of weeks. And it was usually a fairly lengthy visit, a couple of hours or more, and they’d make a cup of tea, and there’d always be cookies. And I was 26, 27 years old. And one day, I’m feeling a little down and a little sorry for myself, and Miss Madge who only had one eye—she’d had cancer and her eye had been removed and she had a prosthetic—and she looked at me with her good eye, and she said, “Young man, see no one in the picture but Jesus.” And you know, when I first heard it, I thought, “Well, that’s a little sentimental!” And I thanked them, and I didn’t think anything more of it until I got into the car. And then it just kind of haunted me, and I doubt that a day has gone by since that I haven’t thought about what she said: “See no one in the picture but Jesus.” “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” And I think that’s what Paul is saying here. When you go down this road of legalism, you’re taking your eyes off Jesus. You’re taking your eyes off what He has accomplished, off what He has bought, off what He has won for you. So, see Jesus. Remind yourself of what He has accomplished. Remind yourself of His perfect obedience. Remind yourself of Him crucified upon a cross, dying, buried, risen, victorious, ascending to heaven, coming back again. Freedom is a beautiful thing because it’s a Jesus thing, and Jesus is altogether beautiful.