Justin Taylor reposts this today from D. A. Carson:
People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, and obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord.
We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance;
we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom;
we drift toward superstition and call it faith.
We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation;
we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism;
we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.
I think that freedom, legalism, and grace have at times become code words for good old-fashioned disobedience. Liberty in Christ has become an excuse to swim in the waters of the world’s cultural expressions of their fallen values.
Such a tactic is just as insidious and soul-destroying as the legalism they profess to hate.
People have, in many cases I believe, allowed their freedom to become a covering for evil (2 Peter 2:16; Galatians 5:13), whether overt evil of action or the more respectable evil of attitude (“well, at least I didn’t actually do it”) and response (“they did it first”).
Furthermore, somewhere, some have gotten the idea that grace in Christ (our only hope) means that we do not have to confess our sins, that it is wrong to put up walls to help us be holy. I have actually seen a call to confession of sin named legalism. It is indeed a strange world we live in.
Listen, the fact that we are completely and eternally made acceptable to God in Christ alone does not mean that it is impossible to displease our Father. Sin, even in the life of the believer, is met by the gospel and repentance.
So let us guard our souls with great diligence. The flood of influence rises strong and swift against the Spirit’s work in our lives.
Confession, repentance, and self-denial are the evidence of freedom.