Aren’t the preachers that stress obedience are in fact preaching legalism?


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Christ demonstrated His obedience to the Father to the point of death and was perfected. For this reason, He was qualified for to be our compassionate High priest (Hebrews 5:1–3). “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9).

The Bible teaches that we are saved by faith (Ephesians 2:8). Salvation is not earned by obedience, but true faith will lead to obedience. The function of the law is to convict of sin and thus leads us to Christ (Gal. 3:24). Then, faith and love will bring forth a new obedience to the law of God (Rom. 1:5; 16:26).

Faith in Christ involves a personal relationship with the Redeemer. It implies an attitude of love and gratitude toward the Savior in response to His love for us. It means a trust and confidence in Christ that makes us willing to take Him fully at His word and do His will. Without such faith there can be no justification. God is not concerned merely with forgiving our past sins. He is primarily concerned with our restoration to His image. Therefore, justification cannot be separated from the transforming experiences of conversion and rebirth.

Jesus came to this earth to magnify the law (Isa. 42:21; Matt. 5:17) and to reveal by His life of perfect obedience that we can, through the empowering grace of God, be obedient to His law. The plan of justification by faith reveals God’s regard for His law in demanding and providing the atoning sacrifice. If justification by faith abolishes law, then there was no need for the atoning death of Christ to release the sinner from the demands of the law, and thus restore him to peace with God.

Genuine faith will give us willingness to fulfill the will of God in a life of obedience to His law (Rom. 3:28). The fact that Christ endured such suffering because of our transgression of God’s law is one of the strongest motives for obedience. We will not want to do an action that would hurt those that love us. In the same manner, we will hate the sins that inflicted such pain on Christ.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

This post is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi)

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