As a result of listening to an excellent sermon on the the sufficiency of God’s grace this weekend, I began to wonder how it is that when it comes to sanctification so many believers seem to neglect the grace of God by falling into one of two extremes: Legalism or Antinomianism. I began to wonder if there might be a relationship between what a person boasts in and how they approach sanctification.

As Christian, we know that there is nothing good within ourselves and that the only one worth boasting in is the Lord. The apostle Paul had to remind the Corinthian church twice that they should only be boasting in the Lord “let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:31, cf. 2 Cor 2:17) In both cases Paul was likely quoting the words of the prophet Jeremiah, Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches” (Jer. 9:23). Yet I would like to propose three perspectives about boasting in God that will result in either Legalism, Antinomianism, or True Christianity.

Boasting in God’s Righteousness. What does a person who boasts in God’s righteousness look like you might wonder? Well what is the primary revelation of God’s righteousness to man, is it not the Law? Are those boasting in the law, like the Pharisees, not concerned first and foremost about God’s righteousness. They see a God who is holy, righteous, and just and will not allow those who break God’s law to favor in God’s eyes. Much like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son they want justice. They are offended by the idea that someone can break God’s perfect standard and yet find favor in His sight. They find themselves questioning the validity of a person faith based on the strictest adherence to the law. They are in the end theLegalist, who in the name of protecting God’s righteousness, demand near perfect obedience before they will believe that someone is saved.

Boasting in God’s Grace.This I believe for many Christians has become the most dangerous of all. The person who finds him or herself boasting in God’s grace clearly recognizes that are in need of it. They cherish it and love it, because of what they believe it will do for them. These people are the people that are inclined to say, “we are no longer under law but under grace” (Rom. 6:15). They are likely to think lightly of sin, because in the end it is only grace that saves. And greater sin only leads to greater grace. So in the name of promoting the “greatness” of grace they trample on God’s righteousness. They will not question any-ones faith as long as they profess to have it, no matter how anti-God the person’s conduct may be. They are in the end the Antinomianist, who in the name of protecting God’s graciousness, demand that you cannot demand any sort of obedience as evidence of a person’s salvation.

Boasting in God’s Glory.In Romans chapter 5, we find what it is that believers are truly to boast in when they are boasting in the Lord. In verse 2 we read, “and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” A true Christian should not find Himself exulting or boasting in one part of God’s character to the neglect of another. Those who love God love all of Him. They should love not only His righteousness and His grace, but also His goodness, His wisdom, His omnipotence, and His sovereignty (just to name a few). They do not think lightly of their sin, because the find a concern within them for the glory of God. Yet they do not fear his judgment, because they have come to know and appreciate His grace. For them they find the notion that a person can claim faith and yet live in disdain for God’s glory to be inconsistent. They cannot see a person saying they love God and yet acting as if they hate Him (see 1 John 3 & 4). Yet they will not be quick to condemn those who are immature in the faith or those who fall as not being Christians, instead they will find themselves encouraging and exhorting and even at times rebuking that person as brother.

But what does the true Christian demand in the name of protecting God’s glory? I believe what true christianity demands on thing of a person….love! When I say love I am not simply talking about an appreciation or affection for someone, but of a love that mirrors the love of God himself. It is a love that expresses itself first and foremost in the sacrifice of oneself. This love expresses itself in the surrender ones own interests to the interests of God. It seeks not its own glory, but the glory of God.

So be careful what attribute of God you find yourself boasting in or even delighting in. Because whatever attribute you love most about God is likely a reflection of what you love most about yourself. If you find His righteousness delightful, but His graciousness disdainful, you should be concerned. So too, if you find His graciousness delightful, and His righteousness disdainful, you too should be concern. If however, you find yourself loving both His righteousness and His graciousness, press on for their is immeasurably more to learn about this Glorious God.