Identity in Christ

When You Need to Be Reminded of the Gospel

When You Need to Be Reminded of the Gospel

If I’m being honest with myself and others, I forget the gospel every day. That didn’t seem like a big deal when I was pursuing my faith in my own strength, because the gospel was just that story that “got me in.” Beyond that, I wanted to be told what to do. I wanted to tell others what to do (and I did that; mea culpa).

But now I sit in the gospel with the reminders of what Jesus Christ has done for me and how that spills out into what I do every day. It’s a paradigm shift, away from behavior-based religious activity and toward the truth that He is more than enough.

If that’s all new to you, or you’re really just wondering what sitting in the gospel looks like, here are a few resources to help you out. And I’m here, too. Feel free to comment or email me.

The Gospel is a Story

Where to begin? What do I mean when I say that we must always return to the simplicity of the gospel? Start here, with Paul Tripp's explanation of where we find our hope.

[Gospel 1]: The Gospel is a Story - Paul Tripp

In Need of a Redeemer

And then go here. It's the beginning of a life-changing series out of Exodus, and it helped me exit my own self-relying works-based religiosity. Spoiler alert: Grace wins! 

In Need of a Redeemer - Jim Applegate

The Gospel is Scandalously Offensive

“The gospel is scandalously offensive to those who are trying to earn their way. Rightly so.”

The List Kimm Crandall

Good Parenting

We want so badly for our good parenting to be what makes our kids who they are. But the truth is, all we really can do is point our kids to the One who shapes their souls.

Good Parenting - Jessica Thompson

The Cross Took Care of That

And then remind yourself again.

The Cross Took Care of That - Kendra Fletcher (me)


More Grace For Those Leaving Legalism

Are there possibly more reminders of grace for those leaving legalism?

Yes, of course!

This week I spent time with some of my favorite people over at Key Life Ministries, and I want to share our good times with you, too. Steve Brown and the whole grace-loving group and I discussed bad religious experiences, raising kids in legalism, and how to find your way out of a system that camps on trying harder, doing more, and proving yourself spiritual, all while forgetting the grace and mercy of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Are there more reminders of grace out there? Yep. Plenty more. I’ll keep sharing them because we all need to be reminded that it was finished on our behalf on Calvary, and the cross took care of all of that!

Click the image to hear the Steve Brown, Etc. podcast all about Leaving Legalism:


I Left Legalism. Now What?

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You’ve left legalism. Now what?

“I’m so relieved”, she told me through tears over a Panera salad. “But at the same time, I feel displaced. I’m not even sure I know what I believe anymore.”

Thus goes the opening to a conversation I’ve had over and over again since Leaving Legalism was published.

Always varying in context and details, but invariably emotionally charged, the stories that have been relayed to me by readers are heartbreaking, poignant, and never easy to hear. I feel I’m carrying a weight and a burden for so many who have left legalism, but it’s a burden I’ll gladly bear for the sake of the gospel. For the sake of reminding us all of what Jesus did for each and every one of us. I’m praying for you.

Most of those stories end with a giant question mark. Now what? I left legalism, but I am lost. What’s next?

READING LEAVING LEGALISM IS A SOLID PLACE TO START.

If you haven’t read Leaving Legalism, start there. I wrote it as a guide to help you find a path back to Jesus. It might be hard to read and digest, and the questions at the end of each chapter are designed to get you to rip the band-aid off the wounds and allow the light to heal them. It won’t be easy, but it will be very, very good. And a great place to begin.

GETTING COUNSELING IS NOT A SIGN OF WEAKNESS.

I am also going to toss the idea of getting some legitimate counseling out to you. So many of us were taught that counseling or therapy is only for the really messed-up, but not for the super spiritual. I’m here to tell you: That’s a load of garbage. Know what’s really messed-up? A religious system that measures our spirituality by our behavior and not by the righteousness of Christ. If you need counseling to process all of that religious behaviorism, then be sure you get it. Don’t let anyone stop you. Ask someone in your church if they know of a solid counselor or therapist they could recommend.

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FINDING A COMMUNITY THAT FOLLOWS CHRIST ALONE IS IMPORTANT.

“One of the best things my wife and I did after leaving our former church was find a church where the gospel was held in high regard and freedom in Christ taught without fear.

Honestly, though, we second-guessed ourselves a lot. What if this church turns out to be just as legalistic as the last?”

Finding a church community that follows Christ and Christ alone is an extremely important step. And if within that church leadership there is someone who can smell legalism from a mile back and offer you the freedom to land, heal, and grow in their church, then that’s a very good place to be.

No church will be perfect; I trust you know that already. But a church led by transparency, by men and women who are the “chief confessors”*, who lead with love and grace and mercy . . . there is a church that can offer you an ER, triage, an ICU, and a recovery floor.

GRACE GOES BOTH WAYS.

Give yourself grace. Lots and lots of grace. For the choices you made in the past, for the way you treated other brothers and sisters in Christ, for the amount of time it may take for you to heal from all of the collateral damage.

And then turn to give grace to those who hurt you.

That’s easier said than done, no? For me, yes. We were the walking wounded, and our wounds weren’t entirely self-inflicted. We had been gossiped about, stabbed in the back during elders’ meetings, pushed out of social situations, and effectively shunned. And we helped start the church.

It was a long time before I wasn’t angry, and that’s okay, too. There was grace for my anger and the Holy Spirit was faithfully leading me out of that sinful heart-set. It took years (literally, five years), but God had taught me that because He loved me so completely, I could turn and love those who had filleted me and my family.

So now what? Now rest. And if you’ve read the end of Leaving Legalism, you know:

Breathe in, breathe out, and move on.

I’ll have more posts about taking the next steps after walking out of legalism in the weeks to come, so be sure to join the newsletter below.

*chief confessors take the command to confess sins seriously, and lead the congregation by their own confessions first