Obedience and Legalism
God is a God of law and order (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40). The Lord and His law have the same characteristics: holy (Isaiah 5:16; Romans 7:12), righteous (Jeremiah 23:6; Psalms 119:172), good (Luke 18:19; 1 Timothy 1:8), Pure (1 John 3:2, 3; Psalms 19:8), just (Deuteronomy 32:4; Romans 7:12), and eternal (Genesis 21:33; Psalms 111:7, 8). The Ten Commandments law is God’s character in written form, written so we can comprehend it.
God created us to enjoy happiness, peace, and long life. Those, who live their lives in obedience to God’s law are happy. “He that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18). “Keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee” (Proverbs 3:1, 2). To the extent that a nation enjoins laws that conflict with God’s laws, that nation will experience social chaos and collapse. For “the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes [commandments] … for our good always” (Deuteronomy 6:24).
God’s law does not save people. Salvation comes only through grace, as a free gift from Jesus Christ, and we receive this gift by faith, not by works. “By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight” (Romans 3:20). “For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9). The law only serves as a mirror (James 1:23-25). “By the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). The law points out wrongdoing in our lives so that we may go to Christ for cleansing (1 John 1:9).
But the good news is that Christ not only pardons repentant sinners, He restores in them the image of God. He gives them the grace and power to keep His law. He promised, “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts” (Hebrews 8:10). God does the transforming work in the heart (Philippians 2:13). Then, the believer can proclaim “I can do all things through Christ” (Philippians 4:13).
The Bible answers, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin [break the law], because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid” (Romans 6:14, 15). And it adds, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31).
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In His service,