Here's the poem I wrote last week performed:
Let me explain some of my thinking...
In the first kingdom everything is framed in transactional terms. There is a reward for the girl and, naturally, people want to talk about the terms and conditions. So there is a battle between legalism and licence: give the girl too much and she'll spend it on prodigal living. Impose too many terms and she's little more than a slave.
And so a debate ensues. One side may want the goodies given freely, no strings attached. The other side wants the girl to prove how serious she is about royal living.
These debates can get tiresome. But the worst development of all is the person who stands up claiming to have discovered the optimal payment structure - not too strict, not too liberal. These sanctification Goldilockses are just right - balancing license and legalism with their perfectly measured pastoral pronouncements.
But the answer is NOT to balance licence and legalism. The solution to this problem does not lie in between these errors. We need to come out of this transactional kingdom and enter the realm of gracious union. If we miss union with Christ, we miss everything, and we will be doomed to ping-pong back and forth between "grace" and "holiness" - as though those things were extremes to be avoided!
In Christ's kingdom, He marries His wicked bride - freely giving her His righteousness, graciously taking on Himself her sins. She offers Him nothing. He gives her everything.
And in that utterly gracious union, she finds herself both captive and crowned. She has a new Lord forevermore. And she has new freedoms she could never have imagined. Both. At the same time.
The bride now has everything - but not apart from her Lord. In her Lord she is free and she's possessed. In her Lord she is freely forgiven and given a new life. In her Lord, she is loved in spite of all sin and she's claimed for royal living.
If you take your eyes off your gracious Lord, you might celebrate the security of your wedding ring - surrounding you no matter what your behaviour. On the other hand, you might emphasize the seriousness of your wedding vows - binding upon you at all times. But neither focus is the Scriptural one. Look at Jesus - freely given to you in all your sin, fully possessing you for all your life.
Don't balance licence and legalism. They're both errors and the answer is not in between. In Christ we are both captive and crowned.