We are prone to two prominent things in the life of our Christian walk:
Legalism – looking to our works/behavior (what we do both good and bad) for our justification (being seen as “right” or “good” before God)
License – an over exaggerated sense of freedom FOR the indulgence of the flesh because of the seeming forgiveness of God.
Legalism causes us to think much of our behavior and to put stock in our salvation when we live up to what we think makes us holy. License does not see importance in anything that causes us to be uncomfortable. Legalism causes us to view others negatively because they are not living up to our standards. License looks negatively on those who would call them into any sort of holy living.
Both legalism and license are a false gospel. They are not simply dangerous, they are false and damned because they teach what is opposite to divine scripture.
There is one solution and one solution only.
As John Piper speaks refers to as “Christian Hedonism.” Seeking true and utter satisfaction and joy for ourselves. When we seek joy in Jesus we can see the true intention of the gospel message. Jesus died to justify us (make us right) before the Father in order to bring Him glory and for us, His children, to be overwhelmed with joy because of our good God.
To say legalism is what Christianity is about robs us of our joy because it makes faith about works/behavior. To say Jesus gave us license to sin and “enjoy life” by not struggling against the flesh turns causes our hearts to be turned to things other than Jesus for satisfaction; which is idolatry.
It is only through experiencing and interacting with the gospel of Jesus in order to know Him, be known BY Him, and rejoice in the gospel of Jesus and what He’s done that we experience joy and experience the truth of who we are supposed to be, the things He is empowering us to do, and the joy it is to be His child. We are sinners having been brought from death to life by the transformative words and work of Jesus, in His life and through His cross.
Find joy – true…abiding…eternal…transforming – joy in Jesus.
Your salvation is found in HIS work and His freedom…not your own.