These groups focus primarily (in my experience, almost exclusively) on our sin, and not on our Savior. Because of this, they breed self-righteousness, guilt, and the almost irresistible temptation to pretend, or to be less than honest. Little or no attention is given to the gospel. There’s no reminder of what Christ has done for our sin—cleansing us from its guilt and power—and of the resources that are already ours by virtue of our union with Him. These groups thrive, either intentionally or not, on a “do more, try harder” moralism that robs us of the joy and freedom Jesus paid dearly to secure for us. When the goal becomes conquering our sin instead of soaking in the conquest of our Savior, we actually begin to shrink spiritually.His conclusion:
So I’m all for accountability–but a certain kind. The accountability we really need is the kind that corrects our natural tendency to dwell on me—my obedience (or lack thereof ), my performance (good or bad), my holiness— instead of on Christ and His obedience, His performance, and His holiness for me. It sometimes seems that we can’t help ourselves from turning the good news of God’s grace into a narcissistic program of self-improvement. We try to turn grace into law, in other words. We need to be held accountable for that!
The gravitational pull of conditionality is so strong, our hard-wiring for law so ingrained, that we need real friends to remind us of the good news every day. In fact, our lives depend on it! So instead of trying to fix one another, perhaps we might try “stirring one another up to love and good deeds” by daily reminding one another, in humble love, of the riches we already possess in Christ.
Read the rest.
Books by Tullian:
Jesus + Nothing = Everything
Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels
Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different