Saturday, March 3, 2012



If you are new to this site are you just haven't checked in for awhile, this is what I am up to. On Monday January 5th I will begin the new WEEKLY BLOG POSTING SCHEDULE. But until then, I am sharing my personal story of how, as a christian, I was in bondage to LEGALISM, and how a deeper understanding of the Gospel is liberating me from a joy-robbing, legalistic mindset. Under the LEGALISM hyperlink, I describe two types of legalism; "Front Door Legalism" and "Back Door Legalism". I would be categorized as a "Back Door" type legalist.

If you haven't read it, here's part one of my story. LIBERTY FROM LEGALISM THROUGH THE GOSPEL: MY PERSONAL STORY: PART ONE


The Gospel is a game changer, no doubt about that. And the great irony of the Gospel is that in one sense, it is a simple string of propositions that can be explained away in five minutes. Even more amazing is that, in it's most basic expression, it is simple enough that even a child can understand it and become a Christian. In the words of many, "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out!" How true it is!

In another sense however, the Gospel is a deep and compelling masterpiece whose Author is the Lord. It has a seemingly infinite number of layers and intricacies that astound both mind and soul. The Gospel is not just a mental theological exercise, it is extremely practical for Christians. It confronts us with spiritual Truth, alarms us to the depth and breadth of our sin and depravity, and it demonstrates a love so profound that nothing created has the power to undermine it....

....The Gospel exposes how bad we really are. It shines its brilliant ten trillion candlepower searchlight on our spiritual blindness, our rebellion, our filth, our hypocrisy, our hostility and bitterness, our lies, our cover-ups, our self-deceptions, our greed, our various lusts, our selfishness, our self-reliance, our condescending attitude toward others, our self-righteousness, our legalistic tendencies, our boasting in ourselves, and our unceasing desire to sin more and more and more....

...The Gospel exposes us to the fact that every sin we commit points to a profoundly darker spiritual reality that goes beyond just bad behavior. That lurking underneath the surface of every sin we commit (including sins of "omission") are more profound "root sins" of PRIDE, IDOLATRY,  and UNBELIEF. We do not believe the Lord, His Word, His Gospel, His promises...

...Even our anxieties, our worries, our insecurities, and all of our emotional ups and downs are rooted in our pride, our idolatry, and our unbelief; not trusting the Lord and His promises as revealed in His Word and fleshed out in the Gospel. In the case of pride, when we sin, we fully understand that what we are doing is against the Lord's will, but we just don't give a damn about the Lord; in the moment we want our will to rule over the Lord's...   

....The Gospel tells us point blank that we are all morally bankrupt, without any currency to save ourselves, that even our best attempts to do good are tainted by sinful motives, and that we must fully and completely depend upon the the redemptive work of Christ for our salvation. The Gospel foils our most clever attempts to run away from God and take charge of our own lives. Thankfully, the Good Shepherd Himself rescues His lost, wayward sheep and lovingly brings them back into His heavenly fold, safe and sound. And He never, ever fails to do this!

Think again. There is much, much more to the Gospel than the six puny paragraphs I have written above. That is but a glimpse of it's vast measure. It's not just the unsaved who need the Gospel, Christians desperately need it too. We need the Gospel pounded into our skulls constantly because, while we might remember the Gospel today, we may forget it by tomorrow. As Christians, we need the Gospel's loving, nurturing, corrective, eye-opening power every second of every hour of every day.

Pastor Bob Glenn of Redeemer Bible Church said in a recent sermon that "you can know the Gospel, but not really know the Gospel". And that is exactly right on. There is never a point in which Christians finally "get the Gospel". There is always  more to grasp, and there will always be areas in our lives where we need that ten trillion candlepower searchlight to expose areas of sin and light our darkened path to the supreme peace, joy, and relational depth found only in the Lord. It is at this point I want to resume my story....

...I was at the end of myself, at the bottom of a deep, dark abyss with nowhere to look but up. And while swirling in the filth of my own depravity and spiritual deadness the Lord rescued me. I was miraculously regenerated, born again, a new creature with new desires and new affections that were ultimately rooted in love and loyalty to the Lord. I confessed the mess I had made of my life, bowed in humble submission, and asked Jesus Christ to save me. By faith in Christ I was now justified in God's court. (see JUSTIFICATION)

Christians possess God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is one of the three Person that make up the singular Divine essence of the Christian God.  The Holy Spirit alone, apart from any help from me, did His miraculous work of REGENERATION upon my spiritually dead soul and transformed me into a completely new creation. He continues to sanctify me, (See SANCTIFICATION) He guides and helps me. He illuminates the Truth of God's Word so I can understand it and apply it to my daily life.

At that pivotal point in my life when I became a Christian, I was a depressed, anxious, spiritually devastated, hostile, compulsive, morally bankrupt person. You could say that when I finally surrendered my life to Christ, my spiritual well-being improved beyond measure.

Think about it. I received the forgiveness of a Holy, righteous, and just Deity that I hated and despised my entire life. If it were possible I would have killed Him just to protect my precious autonomy. And yet He showed me great mercy and pursued me, a nasty, reckless, volatile, bratty, unimpressive nobody, and rescued me from the everlasting torments of Hell, a destination He could have cast me into at anytime. How could my heart be filled with anything but joy and amazement at such great MERCY?

As a new Christian I began to understand that I possessed two natures, as all Christians do. One nature was the new creation caused by regeneration. My new nature as a Christian loved the Lord, and I was filled with copious amounts of gratitude for His unilateral rescue of me. In my new nature I wanted to know Him more, please Him, do what was right, and wanted to obey His laws.

But I also possessed (and still do) the old nature of sin working contrary to my new nature as a Christian. And the principle of sin working opposite of my new nature dies a slow, slow death. So even though there was a part of me that wanted to do what is right and submit to the Lord, there was another part of me that wanted to do wrong and rebel against His supreme rule over my life.

As a new creation I understood that I was declared "Not Guilty" in God's court, and I knew that "In Christ" I was safe. But I still had all kinds of sinful habits, and that really bothered me. Worse, there were innumerable  deposits of sin within me that I never knew existed until much later. I quit drinking before I became a Christian so that wasn't a problem. But for the moment, I did my best to purge certain bad elements out of my life and clean up my act.

Among other things, I immediately disposed of my huge pile of pornography because I knew that that was offensive to the Lord. I started a regular Bible reading and prayer schedule. I listened to sermon after sermon after sermon, read many theological books, and attended church. And to be honest, with the Holy Spirit as my helper, I benefited greatly from all these things.

But as I said before, the principle of sin working in me kept rearing its beastly head. And as the days, months, and years rolled by, I became more and more aware of my inability to control my dysfunctional, disorganized life, and my intense compulsion to sin. There were still vast mountains of corruption, depravity, and sinful proclivities that I was absolutely powerless to stop.    

* Note At the wisdom and request of the Eldership at Redeemer Bible Church, I have immediately removed my list of sins, as this list contained elements that could impact my relationships and fellowship at Redeemer Bible church. I apologize if I have offended anybody there. Just know that "In Christ" I am safe, and has orchestrated yet another rescue mission of me and my spiritual blindness. Casey

When you look at the list above you are basically looking at a list of some of my bad behaviors as a Christian! And they are bad behaviors. These are but a few of many examples of specific sins and basic sinful tendencies that I have. And I am not alone. If you are honest with yourself, you the reader can identify with many of the examples I have provided. We really are much worse than we think!

But the chilling truth behind my moral  failures as a Christian is that even my best efforts to get my act together, get organized, be a better person, and lead a morally upright life ended in abject failure. In other words, I miserably failed at my own self-improvement projects, and I was truly disappointed in myself for being such a failure which lead me down the road of more despair, more depression, more anxiety, more self loathing. And this is all rooted in the "Back-Door Legalism" I pointed out earlier.

In Part Three of my story I want to flesh out the specific details of how adopting a legalistic mindset came about, how it undermined the power of the Gospel, and how certain events ordained by the Lord led to liberation from legalism through a greater understanding of the Gospel.  

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