Chapter 2

Grace and Truth in Application

How to be specific without being legalistic

To make a principle come to life — to show how it can be applied — we need to give specific real-life examples, illustrations that say, " Here is how someone faced this problem, and this is what happened with her. " But as necessary as real-life examples are, they carry a danger.

Suppose, for example, that someone preaches on the principle of modesty. Should a Christian dress with modesty? The answer is yes. But how do you apply that? One preacher may say, " Well, any skirt that's above the knee is immodest. " So, he ends up with a church full of knee-length people. In that church, one application of a principle has assumed all the force of the principle itself. That is the essence of legalism: giving to a specific application the force of the principle.

I have a friend who keeps a journal, and it works for him. But when he preaches about it, he makes it sound as though Christians who are not journaling can't be growing. Whenever you say, " If ...

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