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Performance Based Christianity

I’ve given a lot of thought this past year about “performance based Christianity.” You know, the thought that how I present myself, whether it be in how I dress, what I do, or what I say, makes me more spiritual. Through reasoning, we would say, “Of course not.” But do we really believe that? Do our actions bely the fact that we have a right perspective on this issue? Our walk doesn’t make us more spiritual, but our spiritual maturity, or basically, how we love God, does dictate our walk. It may reflect who we are, but it isn’t WHO WE ARE.

I asked my son a couple of days ago, “When you look into the mirror, are you seeing yourself?” Of course he said, “Yes.” But then I corrected him. I told him it was not him, but only a reflection of himself.

In Sunday school this last week we discussed the Law again and it’s function in our lives. The point was made that the Law is like a photograph. We can look at it, cherish it, even be in awe of how good a likeness it is. But no matter how good or lifelike it is, it still cannot replace the real thing – that person who means so much to us. So, a photo is good; it points to the one we love, but will never comfort us or keep us warm at night. Like the mirror, it is only a reflection of the real thing.

It is unfortunate, like many New Testament saints, that we cling to the Law as if it were our salvation, forgetting it is only there to reflect our depravity. Why would any of us want to cling to a picture when we can have the real thing? Christ is our salvation, the Law is only a tool. To cling to our keeping of the Law, or in this case, our standards, as a means of spiritual maturity, we cling to something that is insufficient. We need to cling to Christ, not to the tool that pointed us to Christ.

Galatians 4:4-11 “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”

Christ came to fulfil the Law and satisfied all the requirements under the Law. Since we are known of God, we no longer need to look to the Law which binds us. Rather, we need to look to Christ who sets us free. Like the author of these verses, we wonder if those who hold to the Law truly know Christ, for why would anyone want the Law when they have Him?

I will continue to keep my standards high, not because I hope people will regard me as spiritually mature, but because I want to point others to the Savior. I don’t want to point to myself, but to Him. Those who maintain their standards to gain respect and admiration are misusing the Law just like some NT saints did and are not honoring Christ. We need to remember, it’s not about us.

One reply on “Performance Based Christianity”

This is what I was trying to explain (and poorly at that) when we talked today. Thank you for writing it plainly for all to understand.

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