Pilgrim’s attempt to enter the Village of Morality ends as he confronts the terror of the Law and then encounters Evangelist once again. Evangelist asks Pilgrim, “How is that you have left the Way so quickly after starting your journey?” Pilgrim’s response is, “I met a man who persuaded me that I could find a man in this village who could relieve me of my Burden.”
Isn’t that the story of not only the world system, but of much of the professing church? Looking for a “man” to relieve us of our Burden, looking for someone, anyone, other than Jesus Christ? It seems to be a never-ending temptation – be it a teaching, a doctrine, a program, a hidden truth, or maybe even a diet or nutritional supplement – perhaps even a workout program – or a political agenda – or nationalism – or internationalism – I suppose it could be about anything, anything or anyone but Jesus Christ to relieve our Burden. In the case of Pilgrim it was Morality and Legality; as Evangelist observes, “Morality saves people from the Cross”.
I think it’s easier to understand the pitfalls of Legality than Morality. Legality can lead to rigidness, narrowness, and judgmentalism. If one is outside Legality then Legality can be pretty unappealing. But Morality, that’s a bit different. Good moral people can be a pleasure to be around, they can be trustworthy and honest, decent and caring; moral people often give others a wide berth to be fallible without heaping judgment on them. And most certainly, people who value morality can be more gracious that people mired in Legality, and often more gracious that professing Christians.
The root of both Morality and Legality is self-effort and self-righteousness, and therein lies a problem – for we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, the righteousness of God, the standards of God. Therefore, whatever benchmark we may use in terms of either Morality or measuring up to Legality is of our own creation and therefore mutable and changing – we become our own standard, whether individually or collectively; this is a demagnetized compass, it cannot find True North.