Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Jan 10, 2012 | Comments (0)

The “BE ATTITUDE” of Grace or the “DO ATTITUDE” of Legalism

Christians believe we are saved by grace.  To know grace, one must know the difference between grace and legalism.  Legalism says you must do God’s will to be in God’s grace.  Grace teaches to be in God’s grace in order to do God’s will.

Unfortunately, in many cases, the New Testament has been translated with a legalistic theology rather than one of Grace. A good Greek-to-English translator without any theology might do a better job of translating the New Testament than the theologian, because they are not burdened with rational theological agenda.

A good example of this is how the Beatitudes are translated legalistically rather than gracefully in almost every biblical version.  This difference can be seen in how the Greek word “oti” is translated. The basic meaning is “because”.  It can, on occasion, mean “for”. The difference is significant because it changes the cause-effect order of the Beatitudes. Legalistically, we do this for getting grace rather than because we already have grace. Remember, these are “Be Attitudes”, not “Do Attitudes”! Let’s look at the Beatitudes both ways.

The Eight Beatitudes of Jesus Matthew 5:3-10

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

     Legalism: We become poor in spirit to get into the Kingdom.

     Grace: We become poor in spirit because we are in the Kingdom.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

     Legalism: We mourn to be comforted.

     Grace: We mourn because we are comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

     Legalism: We become meek so that we will inherit the earth.

     Grace: We become meek because we have inherited the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

     Legalism: We hunger and thirst after righteousness to be satisfied.

     Grace: We become hungry and thirsty after righteousness because we have been satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

     Legalism: We show mercy to obtain mercy

     Grace: We show mercy because we have obtained mercy

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.

     Legalism: We purify our heart to see God

     Grace: Our heart is purified because we see God

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.

     Legalism: We make peace to be called the children of God

     Grace: We make peace because we are the children of God

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness.

     Legalism: When we are persecuted we will receive the Kingdom of Heaven.

     Grace: We are persecuted because we have received the Kingdom of Heaven.

Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:16,17

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