Keeping God’s Commands Without Being Legalistic
Salvation is a free gift, without price or works (Isaiah 55:1; John 4:14; 2 Corinthians 9:15; 1 John 5:11). It is grace on God’s part and faith on man’s part that leads to salvation. We are saved through the act of entrusting ourselves to Him. Faith is not the means of our salvation but simply the channel (Romans 4:3). Salvation is not effected by human effort.
No one is saved through keeping the Law. The law serves only as a mirror to point out sin in our lives. Cleansing and forgiveness from that sin come only through Christ. Christians do not keep the law to be saved but because they are saved. When the believer accepts God’s free gift, the Lord comes into his heart and transforms him into His nature. “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts” (Hebrews 8:10).
Christ not only forgives repentant sinners, but He restores in them the character of God. “God sending his own Son … That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us” (Romans 8:3, 4). Works are not a cause but an effect of salvation (Romans 3:31). No man can ever be able to boast of himself, “I have earned salvation.”
Of himself man cannot bring forth good works. It is necessary for him to be born again in Christ before he can do the good works God plans for him. By a change of the will, thoughts, and purposes the privilege and duty of witnessing by good works become a reality (Matthew 5:14–16).
One can’t be legalistic while doing God’s will except if he is doing it to earn salvation or for other selfish desires. The Lord commands us, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Love should be the motive power of obedience. Obedience that originates from force or from fear is not the right kind of obedience.
One of the best human illustrations of obedience that comes from love is that of children to their parents. Similarly, believers obey out of love to the Savior. “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin” (Romans 6:6,7).
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In His service,