Legalism is a huge problem to the broken human nature. Obeying a bunch of laws, both for the Jews in the Old Testament and for the Christians in the New Testament, only succeeded in making people "feel" holy and not really "be" holy. "But", you say, "I thought God said to obey his laws?" You are right. And Jesus Himself said He didn't come to "abolish the Law but to fulfill it". So – what does all this mean?
It means the laws, the "rules", the 10 Commandments are helpful and good, but all they can do is expose what is wrong. Knowing how bad or weak you are lets you know there's a problem, but, dude, – it doesn't help make you any better! Well, what good is the law then? Comparative analysis, bro, comparative analysis! The "laws" God has given over time have shown us a basic code of morality, sort of an ideal to reach to please God and most wisely and effectively live with others. But that can be as frustrating as asking a quadriplegic to paint a house…it ain't gonna happen!
As we compare what God asks us to be and what we can actually achieve, we all see that we fall short. As that occurs, a number of things can happen. You can just remove the law from your life, as many have today. There, that's better, "no rules, just right" and end up with the moral melee that we see around us. Or, you can dive in and try to obey them diligently and then disappointedly discover you can't ever get there and so you dig in more and more with the fanatic pursuit of legalism. The former gives you enough rope to hang yourself leading to moral death; the latter gives you enough rope to wrap yourself so religiously tight that you never have the freedom and life God says are available in Him!
"Who shall save me from the body of this death", lamented Paul! Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those in Jesus Christ". That doesn't mean you can go and sin all you want and fall short of the glory of God, expecting Jesus to cover it all. With that attitude, I doubt you have Him in your heart. Nope – what it means is you don't follow the law because you love the law; you follow God's directions as a labor of love of God, not legalism. You do it knowing your nature will always fall short but that you are determined to crucify and fight that broken nature and practice letting only the nature of God rule and reign in you. In doing that, day by day and little by little, you will become the model of God's ways, because He is in you with full vibrancy and life. Let Him be your thoughts, your words, your deeds; you'll never have to have a law show the way again. The love of God in you is His Law! Endure the fire...it's producing pure gold!
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