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I Skyped this morning with a Chinese believer whom we helped disciple when we lived in China. She was a dear sister to us. She translated for us. She was much loved, much trusted. Then, unexpectedly, because of a man from the United States, she left our little group and became an adherent of a legalistic offshoot of Christianity. The legalism to which she now attached herself broke apart the small group of believers there.

She told me this morning that, a few years ago, she left this erroneous offshoot.

Brought to tears, I asked her why.

Her answer: “When they make those laws their most important issue, loves fades.”

My response: “Yes. Legalism kills love.”

I have endeavored, for much of my Christian life, to avoid legalism—the teaching of certain laws, principles, or rules that a Christian must follow in order to be, well, a Christian; to avoid “Jesus plus.” What does “Jesus plus” mean? It means we say that we believe Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient for one’s salvation, but…you also must add this or that or the other thing.

Jesus plus. Jesus’ sacrifice, then, is no longer sufficient. This is, to use a harsh word, heresy.

I haven’t always succeeded in this anti-legalistic endeavor. I do believe that many truths should be adhered to in order to be a whole-hearted believer in Jesus Christ. However, do I believe that one’s salvation depends on them?

No.

So, please hear my heart in this article.

Please hear the heart of a man who has fallen more and more deeply in love with his Lord and God, by His grace, in the over forty years he has walked with Him. I make no claim to achievement. I have missed the mark many, many times.

Please hear the heart of a man who does not want to displease God—not because I fear He will inflict His wrath on me, but because I love Him.

Perhaps it is more accurate to say that I want to love Him as I should, and I ask for His help to do so.

Please hear the heart of a man who has, by His grace, come to know his Creator more deeply. His King. The God who, in His overwhelming power, deigns to love him; deigns to love everyone.

So, to the issue at hand.

It pains me when Christians say, “OMG.”

It pains me because those who claim to be followers of, lovers of, the Father, of Jesus Christ, throw His name around as if it were nothing, as if it were something akin to “Wowsie.”

God’s name is holy. However, I know that even as I write that, the word “holy” has very little impact because the word has been compromised to the point of meaninglessness. We attach the word “holy” to every word imaginable. I’m sure you need no examples. However, Jesus told us to pray in the knowledge that the Father’s name is holy. The Lord God is perfectly pure, with no spot of evil, darkness, or sin whatsoever. He is pure beyond our comprehension. He has never been, nor ever will be, compromised by sin.

We cannot say this about ourselves.

The perfectly pure, perfectly powerful, perfectly loving God should be honored. Revered. Yes, feared. His name should not be tossed around like a rag, like a dog’s toy.

Please, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, make this an issue of prayer. Ask the Lord to help you honor Him, not disrespect Him.

He loves you.

He died for you. He absorbed the life-destroying sin that you deserved and then conquered it, giving you life with Him, adoption by Him, eternal life with Him.

Please.

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