Churches Of Christ/Legalism
At what point does obeying the commandments of God out of a loving heart become legalistic? In other words when one reads the New Testament, finds commandments and keeps them out of a loving heart, when would this become legalistic? Thank you so much!
Thankyou for your question Josh.
I had a chance to look up "legalism" online as for as theology is concerned and got this definition
"the judging of conduct in terms of adherence to precise laws." (dictionary.com)
I found it interesting it says the "judging" of conduct, not the following of precise laws. Jesus says on separate occasions that if we love Him, we will obey his commandments
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
So, we as Christians are showing our love toward God when we obey his laws, which can not be legalistic until we start "judging conduct." Example, we are told to forgive as Christ has forgiven us. But if we judge that something is unforgivable (a fellow christian does something to offend us, a non christian does something to offend us) and WE SAY THAT SUCH AN ACTION IS UNFORGIVABLE when we do not have any mandate from the law (New Testament) that says otherwise, we are not keeping God's commandment, we would be "judging conduct" and thus be legalistic.
We become legalistic when we step out of God's law and start making our own laws and try to pass them off as God's Law. If we keep God's law out of a loving heart we would never be legalistic, we would in fact be showing our love toward God. I pray my answer is suitable for you Josh, and if not please let me know. Have a blessed life.