This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Galatians 3:2
God’s Love is not based on ‘Legalism’, but on ‘Grace.’ Legalism is an excessive adherence to procedures. It is dependent on the Moral Law to earn merit with God rather than personal faith through grace. Grace, however, is unmerited favor; and it is the only way we can receive God’s love and approval, not by works or adherence to a code of ethics or laws. Legalism is the exact opposite of grace.
Many of the early Christians were Jews who came from a background of strict adherence to the Law of Moses. In Galatia, there was a teaching that, in order to be saved; in addition to faith in Jesus Christ, one must ALSO keep the Mosaic Law. Paul therefore wrote them (a) to show that New Testament salvation was by grace and not by keeping the Old Testament laws. (b) That the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to us by faith in Christ Jesus and not by following the laws of Moses.
Today, many believers vacillate between the Old and the New Covenants and so they find Christianity difficult. They like to follow Laws because there is a sense of guilt that says, “This is too easy, we must work to earn God’s love and approval,” instead of resting in His grace and love. We make many laws for ourselves until we get to a point of frustration. We fail to understand that human nature and the Law are not in agreement as the Law calls out the sin in man. It points sin out, makes you feel guilty for it, but it lacks the power to tame it and free you from its clutches. By the Law came the knowledge of sin, and not the cure; the cure is in Christ Jesus, received by grace, through faith.
Our ‘doing’ nature likes to set and keep rules to get God’s love, but His love is unmerited. That love, demonstrated through Christ’s sacrifice has already fulfilled the Law; and it empowers us to live godly (above the Law) because of the Holy Spirit’s presence in us.
God’s love for you is unconditional; when you relate to Him with this consciousness, your walk with Him becomes easy, and you will be open to receive by faith all that grace has made available to you. Besides, you will no longer be under the bondage of fear; because His perfect love casts out fear! (I John 4:18).
Thank You Lord for Your unmerited favor that gives me unrestricted access to Your throne of grace. I have ceased from self-effort and sin, and I lean on your grace. I renew my mind to walk in the love with which You have loved me; and I receive by faith every blessing You have made available to me by Your grace in Jesus’ name.