How to Living Radically Without Being Legalistic - Radical

How to Living Radically Without Being Legalistic

Does living radically involve earning the favor of God? By no means. In this video, Pastor David Platt clarifies what it practically looks like to live radically in the freedom of Christ without being enslaved to legalism. The overflow of being in Christ allows us to live radically as we make his name known. Working with this kind of passion reflects the fruit of our faith in Christ, but it does not create righteousness before God. Christ has saved us from working for the favor of God, and we are able to live radically as we glorify Him.

  1. Legalism and the Gospel
  2. Christ’s Finished Work
  3. Our Work

Living Radically Without being Legalistic

There’s no question that people could take this concept of Radical, the book itself, or whatever, and begin to think, “All right. Well, then, if I do these things, I’ll earn the favor of God,” and it can slip into a very, very dangerous link legalism really, really quickly. And so this is where I want to be clear at every point, and the way I describe it sometimes is just one simple statement.

The gospel that saves us from work saves us to work, and what I mean by that is there’s two different kinds of work that we see talked about in the New Testament. One is a kind of work that we do in our own efforts to try to earn the favor of God, to earn righteous before God, salvation before God. That is legalistic work, and we have been saved from that kind of work. When Paul talks about the Galatians, those who are saying, “We need to do these things,” he says, “That’s not the gospel in order to earn the favor of God.”

He says, “No,” and we are. We’re saved from that kind of work. There’s nothing we can do to be righteous before God. Our best efforts, we can give all our money away. We can go to the ends of the earth. We can go to the most dangerous place in the world. We can make all these sacrifices, but we are still sinful to the core of who we are, and only Jesus in that sense is radical enough.

Only he has given enough. Only he has sacrificed enough, and so the radical life begins with a radical death, a death to ourself, a death to every attempt in our life, to try to earn the favor of God, to acknowledge, “I can do nothing before him to earn his favor, and Christ has done everything necessary for me, and so I trust fully in him. Nothing in my hands I bring. Simply the cross I cling.”

We are Free to Rest in Christ

So that’s saved from work to try to earn the favor of God. We’re free from that, and we’re free to rest in Christ. But then, so resting in Christ and his work for us, the fruit of that, we’re saved from the other kind of work, now we’re saved to work. The overflow of being in Christ is Christ’s life in us.

Now the beauty is he is working through us. To use language from Colossians Chapter I or Philippians Chapter II, working out our salvation. He is doing this work in us. His energy is so powerfully working in us, and as Christ is in us, we begin to see the world differently. Our hearts are changed. We begin to live totally differently, and we begin to work for the glory of God, not in a way to try to earn his favor, but as an overflow of faith in him.

Works as the Fruits of Faith

We begin to work with passion because this is the fruit of the life of Christ in us. So this kind of work is good. This kind of work is the fruit of faith in Christ. So when I’m talking about radical, that’s the kind of work I’m after, not the kind of work thinking, “Okay. Well, I’ll do these things, and I’m going to be better before God.” Oh, that misses the whole point of the gospel, so faith in the gospel drives this kind of work. Just risk-taking, sacrifice-making.

I want the glory of Christ made known in all nations. That’s not in order to earn the favor of God. That’s the overflow of faith in God, and so that’s the kind of work that I want to be after, and that’s what we’re talking about when we’re talking about radical.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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