This week quotes from John Piper return to the blog, and I want to share a deliberately provocative, but short, quote with you from a sermon of his back in 1983. I have been reflecting a lot on my post on my need to repent from legalism, and this quote certainly helps to crystallize even further in my mind the critical nature of rooting out all legalism from our lives:
When I wrote in The Standard this month that legalism is a greater menace to the church than alcoholism it wasn’t for shock effect. It was a straightforward theological truth. Alcoholics are in a tragic bondage. And we must do all we can to help. But legalism is more subtle and more pervasive and, in the end, more destructive. Satan clothes himself as an angel of light and makes the very commandments of God his base of operations. And the human heart is so inveterately proud and unsubmissive that it often uses religion and morality to express its rebellion. As Romans 10:3 says, “In seeking to establish their own righteousness, they would not submit to the righteousness of God.” The pursuit of righteousness can lead to perdition. So Galatians admonishes us: Know why the law was given and don’t be bewitched into pursuing it in a way that leads to death but only in a way that leads to life.