Perfect Legalism

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
When something is broken, you either fix it or throw it away. When someone breaks the law, they must serve the appropriate punishment to bring about justice for their crime. A crime is inherently deserving of a punishment. If crime or wrongdoing goes unpunished, then there is an imbalance of justice in the system. Of course, this is with the assumption that the laws are in fact good and just, and that the punishment is appropriate to the crime committed. In a perfect and utopian society, there would either be no crime committed, or justice would be sufficed by the appropriate punishment.
            Legalism is a strict adherence to the law and to the consequences of breaking the rules. In groups of people, legalism can be beneficial in getting people to understand and adhere to the set rules of the group (also known as culture). When a group of people strictly adhere to a set of rules, the outcome can have great success. For example, I think of the Navy Seals or the other special forces that devote their lives to being the best of the best in the military. This legalism is a good thing when there is strict adherence to the rules.
            In many ways, Jesus’ life could have looked like someone living under legalism. He always followed the law, and no matter how hard His opponents tried to find fault in Him, they could never find fault in Him. In fact, it was His opponents that failed to live up to the standards of God’s law. They might have known the law perfectly, but they did not understand the heart of the law.
            The heart of the law of God is love. Perfect legalism is a strict adherence to love. Perfect legalism is knowing that there is no other option allowed except for loving God and loving others. With this legalism there is loving kindness, patient peace, and godly faithfulness, because of an adherence to Christ not an adherence to a set of rules.
            We have not been saved by our own works, but we have been saved by the works of Christ. Jesus only requires that we believe in Him to receive the grace of God. In response to receiving the grace of God, we are now required to live legalistically to the law of Christ which is to love God and love others. We must be fervent in our faith by whole heartedly displaying the love of God.
John 6:28-29
Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

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