Jesus' woes to the Scribes and to the Pharisees all boil down to one thing: legalism. The Scribes and Pharisees were masters and dotting all of their "i's" and crossing all of their "t's", but they missed the point of why that should happen. Instead of obeying God because they loved Him, they were trying to earn His love. The truth is: we can't earn God's love because we can never be good enough to deserve it. Just as a child can never earn his or her parents' love, so we cannot earn the love of our Heavenly Father. Instead, He gives it freely to us. As a result of understanding His love, we are prompted to love Him back by obeying what He says – not because that earns a relationship with Him but because we know that He had our best in mind when He established the Law. When we realize that we cannot earn God's love, it sure takes off the pressure when we mess up. Instead of beating ourselves up when we sin, we allow God to put us back on our feet and go at it again. Jesus spoke strong words to the legalistic people of faith then, and those words still apply now. There is no room for legalism in the Church.
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Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.