Licentiousness and Legalism at the Kitchen Table

“I wish there were no rules.”

That’s what my 7-year-old said at dinner the other night when he was confronted (again) with the answer of “no” for something he wanted to do (I think it involved eating peas). He’s living under the mindset right now that the rules are there to cramp his style. They deny him freedom to do what he really wants to do and if all these restraints were lifted, his life would be much happier.

This is a lie ingrained into our hearts.

“I love the rules.”

That’s what the 4-year-old sitting across from him said with a glint of pride in her eye. She lives to please authority right now, and does not think of herself as sinful in any way, shape or form. Obeying fills her with pride, and she can’t imagine that anything in her heart might need to be changed because she is very proficient at following the rules. If, in fact, there were more and more rules she would be much happier because she would know exactly what the minimum was expected of her and she could perform accordingly.

This is a lie ingrained into our hearts.

Licentiousness and legalism sitting there together at the kitchen table, one believing that the rules deny him happiness and one believing that the rules justify her.

And the gospel is for both.

Thank God the gospel frees us from the lie that sin is freedom and happiness and moves us toward the joy of obedience and intimacy. And thank God the gospel frees us from the lie that we are “okay” and makes us into the humble people that are “okay” because of Christ alone.

And thank God that the gospel is still for a dad who from one day to another needs grace to love both of these kids in good – and hard – ways.

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