Legalism: We make sacrifices to obtain God’s love.
The Gospel: God provided a sacrifice to obtain our love. Romans 5:10-12:
“ For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” In pagan religions the sacrifice enables the god to love the humans, while in Christianity the cross enables the humans to love their God.
Legalism: We keep the commandments in order to get a reward.
The Gospel: We keep the commandments because we love Jesus. John 14:15:
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
Legalism: We want to get sin out of our lives because of the investigative judgment.
The Gospel: We want to get sin out of our lives because sin crucifies Jesus. Isaiah 53:4-6:
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Legalism: We want to give our heart to Jesus today because He is coming soon.
The Gospel: We want to give our heart to Jesus today because He loves us. 1 John 4:19:
“We love him, because he first loved us.”
Legalism: Good behavior is motivated by a hope of reward or fear of punishment.
The Gospel: Good behavior is motivated by our love for Jesus regardless of consequences. 2 Corinthians 5:14:
“For the love of Christ constraineth us.”
Legalism: God’s grace is a response to our faith.
The Gospel: Our faith is a response to God’s grace. Ephesians 2 :8-9:
“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.”
Legalism: Me plus Christ.
The Gospel: NOT I, BUT CHRIST. Galatians 2:20:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet NOT I, BUT CHRIST liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Legalism: Self- centered. Obedience according to my own standards, in my own power, for my own glory.
The Gospel: God- centered. Obedience according to God’s standards, in His power for His glory.
“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:11
Legalism: All about pride and rewards.
The Gospel: All about love and humility.
Galatians 5:4-6 (The Message) “I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love.”