Isn’t Obedience Legalism?

It is true that some people may argue that once a person is saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the commandments are no longer needed in their experience. However, this perspective is not in line with Bible teachings.

The Bible consistently emphasizes the importance of obedience to God’s commandments in the life of a believer. Jesus Himself said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). The apostle John reaffirmed this truth when he wrote, “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). Obedience to God’s commandments is not a way to earn salvation but rather a response of love and gratitude for the salvation we have received through Christ.

The law of God, including the Ten Commandments, serves many purposes in the life of a believer. First, it reveals our sinfulness and our need for a Saviour. The apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). The law shows us our need for Christ’s atoning sacrifice and points us to Him for forgiveness and cleansing.

Second, the law serves as a guide for holy living. It shows us God’s will and His standards of righteousness. As believers, we are called to live a life of holiness and obedience to God’s commandments. The psalmist declared, “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). The law is a standard by which we can examine our lives and align our thoughts, attitudes, and actions with God’s will.

Third, the law acts as a mirror that reflects our ongoing need for God’s grace and transformation. When we see areas of our lives where we fall short of God’s commandments, it leads us to repentance and a deeper dependence on His grace. The apostle James wrote, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror” (James 1:22-23). The law shows our need for continual growth and transformation in Christ.

It is important to understand that our obedience to God’s commandments is not a legalistic attempt to earn salvation or merit God’s favour. But rather, it is a response of love and gratitude for the salvation we have received by God’s grace. The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit enables and empowers us to live in obedience to God’s commandments, as we continually yield to His guidance and rely on His strength.

In summary, the commandments of God, including the Ten Commandments, are essential in the life of a believer. They reveal our need for a Saviour, guide us in holy living, and remind us of our ongoing need of God’s grace. As we love and know Christ, our obedience to His commandments becomes a natural expression of our faith and love for Him.


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