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In the introduction to his book, ‘Repenting of Religion,’ Gregory Boyd observes, “Several thinkers, the most notable being Dietrich Bonhoeffer, have discussed the all-important, antithetical relationship between love and the knowledge of good and evil.” Love and the knowledge of good and evil are opposed to each other, which is not surprising given that everything that comes from the Enemy is based on self-centeredness and hence is anti-life.


This might be a hard pill to swallow to families like my own who have pastored churches that are firmly based in the law – which in turn is an artifact of the knowledge of good and evil. We can react to the truth that we have given our lives in promotion of ‘another’ gospel with denial as many do. Or we can regard our lives as an adventure in which our eyes and being are opened continually to the love, grace and joy of the triune God whose gospel is not some convoluted variation on the knowledge of good and evil but the inclusion of ourselves in God’s communal life through the person of Jesus Christ.


Legalism is quietly pernicious in that it is based on the separation from God that precipitated the fall and which maintained it in the ever-widening pandemic of sin that Adam initiated. Legalistic gospels are death-dealing in terms of life and love. The letter always kills. It kills the spirit, cripples the soul and accommodates good people to a life that is a modified form of death.


Every form of the knowledge of good and evil is judgmental and accusatory fostering a culture of criticism and partisan definitions of good and evil that make us look good and other folks look bad. We can even judge ourselves as Godly and worthy because of some observance when all we have actually done is added to our arsenal of self-justification a piece of make-believe grace.


There are families that consider themselves gracious. They are gracious on account of their inability to read people and situations. They are the kind of people who are betrayed by lovers and friends in spite of the good advice of their real friends. They stumble on the truth when it is ten years too late.

Legalism suffocates spiritual discernment like nothing else because it separates folks from reality. To be a child of the law is to be a child in separation from God in our minds, separated from the light and enclosed in a sheath of denial and confusion. But in Christ these veils are removed. As we see in the present situation, vested interests are opposed to truth. They hide from truth in the cult of materialism, progress and populist delusion. They take refuge in fictions that will cripple them as persons and devastate the earth. Their delusion oppose life.


‘When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

John 8.12 NIV. If we are walking in darkness or a spiritual fog of confusion there can only be one reason. We have not made the light of the world our light.

We can grow in wisdom and the Holy Spirit when Christ and not religion or ideology is our life. In Christ we share in His oneness with creation and His penetrating light that exposes all subterfuge, spin, misinformation, favourite delusions and fables masquerading as truth. Not only are we in the truth. We are the truth. In oneness with Christ you take on His qualities. We become a living word and Discerner of Truth. ‘For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart’ Heb 4.12 NIV.