Who wants to get to heaven and find that they had spent their life in the body as a sheep when all along they had been a son of God?
Chuck Swindoll makes these penetrating observations about legalism. “You want to mess up the minds of your children? Here's how - guaranteed! Rear them in a legalistic, tight context of external religion, where performance is more important than reality. Fake your faith. Sneak around and pretend your spirituality . Train your children to do the same. Embrace a long list of do's and don'ts publicly but hypocritically practice them privately... yet never own up to the fact that its hypocrisy. Act one way but live another. And you can count on it - emotional and spiritual damage will occur.”
Legalism is not life-giving because it belongs to Adam and is the culture of the first lie.
BODY OF DEATH
There are degrees of legalism but all of them dull our perception of God and turn sons of God into workers and dead trees. As a faithful legalist one can produce a woodheap from one’s efforts but not living trees. God is not religious and cannot be known through the law.
We must know God as God is in order to understand His gospel and know ourselves as the result of God’s enterprise. God cannot be known as God is through formulations that are not His nature. Thus God and Godliness will not be discovered in legalism or in gospels of the law. We know God in Christ. We see God through the Jesus Lens.
By the latter we mean gospel that remain tied to the old covenant. There are rabid legalism that would have god as an expression of the law and Christ as the facilitator of success in law-keeping. But this is not the Christ of God and nor is such a gospel the gospel of Jesus and the apostles.
Should we have been raised to reverence the law we need to repent of this amended gospel and distorted christ this has produced, so that we can live as we were redeemed to be in the Christ who is the I am of God and the I am of each of us.
Morrison, following Torrance writes, “The only kind of evidence for God that will satisfy us is one appropriate to divine nature, appropriate to one who is the ground of His own Being and the Source of all other being, to one whose Being is Spirit and whose nature is love.” (1)
The true and one revelation of God is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
(1)Morrison, Stephen D.. T. F. Torrance in Plain English (Plain English Series Book 2) (p. 52). Beloved Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition.