02 Understanding Legalism Versus Gospel Religion
By John Thiel, Marriage Seminar, Study 2, Audio: mp3
Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
And from their zeal for God, they are doing it from their own perspective.
Romans 10:3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
As we worship God, the above text is very illuminating in reference to the appreciation of what it means to establish or to be submissive to the righteousness of God. The righteousness of God – this is what we need to understand as God’s people. The only way we can understand it is the way this Bible text reads in contrast or encourages us to make a contrast. We wish to understand this very important statement:
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
The apostle Paul is bringing to our appreciation an understanding that if you come to the Ten Commandments and you study the commandments for the purpose of gaining your righteousness, you are doing what the Pharisees tried to do. Jesus is the end of that method. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth. When we come to the study of legal expectation of the Ten Commandments, we will be entrapped in a thought arguing the legal concepts we are going to understand on how we are going to be saved.
The Word of God says sorry, you are not going to be saved by winning an argument on legal aspect of God’s law. The zeal that the Pharisees had was something that touched the heart of the apostle. He had a soft spot – I desire that they might be saved because I bear them record, they have a zeal. They really wanted to honor God. Their powerful way of defending God and the Ten Commandments in great zeal was not according to knowledge. Jesus unveils this point:
Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
This is one of the major problems in people honing in on certain aspects of their favorite hobby horses of belief. They will make issues of certain things and leave the other ones undone. This subject as the backdrop of our whole seminar is exactly what I am going to demonstrate to you. Mercy, judgment and faith – these are the weightier matters of the law. Jesus made it plain.
Matthew 23:24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. 24 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
Jesus addresses it again and clarifies what the apostle Paul was noting in Romans 10. Here He brings something very vivid to our understanding in reference to the Pharisaical zeal that is not according to knowledge.
Matthew 12:1 At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the corn; and His disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, Thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day.
Think about it, you should prepare your food on the preparation day so you don’t have to prepare any on the Sabbath. They should have had some lunch with them, shouldn’t they? Why are they going into the field? To the legal mind the Pharisees had a point.
Matthew 12:3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; 4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
Notice only the priest was to eat of this bread. Ussah held the ark to stop it from toppling. David did a very similar thing. David touched that which was only to be touched and received by the priest.
Matthew 12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? 6 But I say unto you, That in this place is [one] greater than the temple.
Can understand what Jesus is addressing here? Was David guiltless? He ate of the bread, that was not right. If you look at the story we see that he actually deceived the High Priest and the High Priest lost his life for it. In that scenario Jesus says, he is guiltless. What were the priests doing? They were killing animals on the Sabbath day, blood gushing everywhere. All these things were a profaning the restfulness of the Sabbath and yet they were blameless.
Matthew 12:7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
He pointed them to Matthew 23. The weightier matters of the law are judgment, mercy and faith. You have to understand the law correctly in reference to these three points.
Should the disciples, David or the priests have done anything different? Lets come to the judgment: How do we judge that? This speaks of Jesus, as He demonstrates it of this discourse there.
Isaiah 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 3 And shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4 But with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.
The weightier matters of the law are judgment. Don’t judge after the sight of the eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of the ears. Is this not the way we judge? I see something, and I judge. If I would have been there in the days of David, I may have said: ‘David deserves to be killed.’ How many times do people do this in their daily interaction as Christians? Someone is doing apparently something wrong and we make a judgment and we think the judgment is correct when it might be all wrong. It might be with the seeing of the eyes and with the hearing of the ears. But He judges with righteousness. This needs to be understood.
James 2:12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
Here is the other segment of the weighty matter of the law where in the judgment mercy comes into the equation of the weightier matter of the law. Where mercy rejoices against judgment. He who has judgment without mercy is the one who going to be judged without mercy.
Jesus pointed to judgment as the weightier matters of the law. Judgment: not according to the seeing with the eyes, nor hearing with the ears. Mercy is above judgment. Mercy must be part of the weightier matter of the law. When you judge it is according to mercy and not according to legalism.
Romans 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Here you come face to face with faith that is believing in Jesus and that appears to the legalist that the law is violated. God can be just and yet justify a sinner. How can He do that? Through Jesus Christ.
Romans 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is He the God of the Jews only? 29 Is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 30 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Because judgment, mercy and faith are the weightier matters of the law, how do we establish the law when we apparently by judging and seeing with the eye and hearing with the ear, breaking it? We are boggled here. Everything that we study in God’s Word needs to be put into the right framework. The simple understanding here is through Christ. In God’s forbearance with the sinner who is breaking the law as he hangs in dependence on what the Father has done to His Son Jesus Christ, Jesus met all the condemnation and the expectation of the law on our behalf. As people stumble in the perplexity of a sinful planet, they can be guiltless. We can be so apt in upholding the legality of the law that we will judge the guiltless by our zeal.
Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
But they were so zealous. They were trying to keep the law so perfectly. Unless your righteousness exceeds their righteousness you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. There was a higher law that a legal law. Your righteousness needs to exceed the righteousness of the Pharisee who looks at the law and argues and defends of the law in a legal framework.
We are to understand legalism versus the gospel. There are two sides of the coins of legalism. Legalism manifests itself in two different ways prosecution or defense. In the prosecution members are condemned if they do not meet legal requirements. A set of fundamentals of the beliefs of the Church as a creed is placed before them and if they have violated that creed there is a barrier for clemency or there is a barrier for them to be able to enter into the church by the creed. That is a legalistic mentality. The Pharisee who is holier than thou disciplines from that perspective. That is legalism. That is the prosecution side, the positive thrust of legalism.
Then there is a protective site of legalism, a self-defense. In self-defense I place external compliance to what is expected of me. Inside I feel terrible about it but I’ve got to do it, because if I don’t I will be lost. That is a legalistic defense.
Philippians 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
I am complying with the law to be blameless, I am defending myself. Then secondly in defense I submit to church regulations for membership rights. I want to be a member of the Church but there are certain things I have to comply with. That is self-defensive legalism. The other one is found in Matthew.
Matthew 20:9 And when they came that [were hired] about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. 11 And when they had received [it], they murmured against the goodman of the house, 12 Saying, These last have wrought [but] one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
Is that fair? The person who worked all day gets no more that the person who worked one hour. Were they justified in murmuring? To the legalistic way of thinking, yes. This is the pharisaic mind. When you deal with the prospect of anything that appears unfair, the legalistic mind complains. The Spirit of Prophecy identifies this religion not part of God’s people.
A legal religion has been thought quite the correct religion for this time. But it is a mistake. The rebuke of Christ to the Pharisees is applicable to those who have lost from the heart their first love. A cold, legal religion can never lead souls to Christ; for it is a loveless, Christless religion. 1Selected Messages. page 388.1
If you’ve been under it you know exactly what Sr. White is writing about. It is cold, it is judgmental. It causes people to flee from such a company. There a many people on the subject of our discussion that have found that coldness on the stand that is made that there is no chance of remarriage after the partner has married another and committed adultery. This mentality of legal interpretation has shut out so many people from the grace that God’s faithful true people should imparting to them. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying. Follow carefully what I am saying. The fact is a legal religion applied to the difficulty that we are discussing, is a Christ less religion, it is a cold religion.
Ministers preaching present truth will assent to the necessity of the influence of the Spirit of God in the conviction of sin and the conversion of souls, and this influence must attend the preaching of the Word, but they do not feel its importance sufficiently to have a deep and practical knowledge of the same. 3 Selected Messages page189.2
There is an acknowledgment of the need of the Holy Spirit to help people to come into the faith. But they do not see it importantly and sufficiently enough to be practically engaged in.
The scantiness of the grace and power of the divine influence of the truth upon their own hearts prevents them from discerning spiritual things and from presenting its positive necessity upon the church. 3 Selected Messages page189.2
The spiritual, the weightier matters of the law. The dictation of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. That’s why the latter rain is falling on hearts all around and is not discerned nor received because of this.
So they go crippling along, dwarfed in religious growth, because they have in their ministry a legal religion. 3 Selected Messages page189.2
The argument is that we have to be legally right, and the Spirit is hardly brought into it.
The power of the grace of God is not felt to be a living, effectual necessity, an abiding principle. 3 Selected Messages page189.2
These are the counsels that help us to understand that there is something that I have to get clear here. There must be made a distinction between a legal religion and gospel religion. It has to do with the Holy Spirit.
The Heavenly Representation of Legalism versus a Gospel Appreciation
But in heaven, service is not rendered in the spirit of legality. When Satan rebelled against the law of Jehovah, the thought that there was a law came to the angels almost as an awakening to something unthought of. In their ministry the angels are not as servants, but as sons. There is perfect unity between them and their Creator. Obedience is to them no drudgery. Love for God makes their service a joy. So in every soul wherein Christ, the hope of glory, dwells, His words are re-echoed, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.’ Psalm 40:8. Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing. page 109
Legalism is not in heaven. When Lucifer broke the law and rebelled against God, the angels were surprised and said: ‘What, there is a law?’. No legalistic spirit whatsoever. We who are under the condemnation of sin are in the defense mode or in the authoritarian mode but when the gospel of Jesus really takes root, those two are out of question because there is no legalism in Christ. Yet there is a law there, try to understand it. The Holy Spirit must help us understand that. Let’s seek to vivify the stark contrast between legal religion and gospel religion. First of all, what do both of these religions have in common? When you look at the commonality of it and its contrast you will see a very clear picture.
Romans 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
If you want to be saved, you are looking for ‘patient continuance in well doing’ Every man according to its deeds. That applies to both companies. Legalism and gospel religion have this both in common – to be very careful to do what is right.
Revelation 22.14 Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Does legalism want that? To keep the commandments of God so that we have a right to enter? So does gospel religion. That’s what they have in common. I want to get there and I have to do something. What are they distinctly separated by? Let’s ask the ex-Pharisee. He has the best explanation under inspiration. That was the apostle Paul, who was a Pharisee. He makes a very interesting revelation here as to the distinction between the two.
Romans 2:17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, 18 And knowest His will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;
You know it all? You know what the law requires, you are fully equipped. You rest yourselves comfortably in the expectations of the law. Than comes an interesting point.
Romans 2:19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, 20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.
Did you depict here that a legal knowledge of the law makes you holier than the other because you are confident in yourself? The legalist is confident in himself. He has a sense of confidence. That’s the Pharisee. What is the attitude of a gospel minded person? Remember the parable of the two worshipers? Do you want to get rid of a feeling? I am a chief sinner, I am so sinful. Sorry you will never get rid of it if you are a gospel religion person. You will never come and parade yourself: Now I’ve got it. Never, until Jesus comes.
The Pharisee parades and is boastful of his position in his heart as well as publicly. We look at the principles, at the rules, at the regulations and at the reward. My ego makes myself righteous. This is legalism. This is the total contrast to gospel religion. In gospel religion the law is not a method of making myself holy. In gospel religion the law gives me that jerky feeling because I see only failure. As I behold Christ I see the Ten Commandments as they really are. What do I see?
2 Corinthians 3:7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
When Moses was given the Ten Commandments his face was shining. They had to put a veil over his face because they couldn’t steadfastly look at him, it was too bright. That was the glory of a legal religion.
2 Corinthians 3:13 And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 13 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ. 14 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.
What’s the veil? The law is so holy and with the veil over my face I can look. Therefore I am saved, I am okay.
2 Corinthians 15 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. 16 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 17 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
What do you see? You see something. He becomes acquainted with Jesus, and now the veil is going.
As one becomes acquainted with the history of the Redeemer, he discovers in himself serious defects; his unlikeness to Christ is so great that he sees the necessity for radical changes in his life. 6 Bible Commentary page 1998.6
He sees for himself, the veil is taken away. That what happened to Saul of Tarsus, he met Jesus on the way to Damascus. What happened? The veil was taken away and he was blinded. His extreme revelation is the experience of every one when the veil is taken away, it’s just a little more internal. He sees the necessity for radical changes in his life.
Still he studies with a desire to become like his great Exemplar. He catches the looks, the spirit, of his beloved Master. By beholding, by ‘looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith,’ he becomes changed into the same image. Bible Commentary page 1998.6
It is not by looking away that we imitate the life of Jesus, but by looking at Him, by dwelling in Him, His perfections, by seeking to refine the taste and elevate the character, by trying through faith and love and by earnest persevering efforts approach the perfect pattern. As the veil is taken away, a ray of light shines upon the heart. What does it do? I see myself, I am so decrepit and I am so sinful but instead of running away from that view, I keep on looking to Jesus. By beholding we become changed. We’re not taking the Ten Commandments from our perspective of the Pharisee. We’re looking at Jesus and see the law from His perspective. What a mind blowing experience that is. You see things in the law that you never seen before. What do you see when you look at Jesus and not at the tables at stone?
We may have flattered ourselves, as did Nicodemus, that our life has been upright, that our moral character is correct, and think that we need not humble the heart before God, like the common sinner: but when the light from Christ shines into our souls, we shall see how impure we are; we shall discern the selfishness of motive. Steps to Christ page 28.3
I am an egocentric legalist.
I will see the enmity against God, that has defiled every act of life. Then we shall know that our own righteousness is indeed as filthy rags. Steps to Christ page 28.3
I know I read it, that my righteousness is as filthy rags, but it doesn’t sink in. You can read a lot of things but it doesn’t sink in, it is a pharisaical reading of the gospel. That is what happens to so many even the gospel is pharisaically taken.
….and that the blood of Christ alone can cleanse us from the defilement of sin, and renew our hearts in His own likeness. Steps to Christ page 28.3
Just one ray, as the veil gets lifted.
One ray of the glory of God, one gleam of the purity of Christ, penetrating the soul, makes every spot of defilement painfully distinct, and lays bare the deformity and defects of the human character. Steps to Christ page 28.3
You wonder why Christians run away from the pure gospel, because it is too painful. Brothers and sister, if you become members of this company this is your experience. I promise you. You will be surprised as you pursue the path of the remnant people of God, how you will feel. You may have thought: ‘O, now I am with God’s people, how lovely.’ Trying experiences are ahead. This is what happens and then people run back to the Adventist Church. One person said to me: ‘Don’t make it too distinct, I am only a half baked Christian.’ Because it was too painful.
It makes apparent the unhallowed desires, the infidelity of the heart, the impurity of the lips. The sinner’s acts of disloyalty in making void the law of God, are exposed to his sight, and his spirit is stricken and afflicted under the searching influence of the Spirit of God. He loathes himself as he views the pure, spotless character of Christ. Steps to Christ page 28.3
You wonder why the Pharisees crucified Jesus? That’s the reason. They did not want to see that mirror, they smashed it. They thought they did. This is gospel religion.
He showed the people that the law of God penetrated to the motives of the heart, and the lover of self was a transgressor of the law. He rescued the commandments from their companionship with error, and placed them in the framework of the gospel. Signs of the Times, October 15, 1894
This is our effort here in this seminar to do precisely that. To place the commandments of God in the framework of the gospel.
…and presented them to men in their true significance and importance; and to those who listened, the law seemed a new revelation. Signs of the Times, October 15, 1894
It is a different thing to what they anticipated. What did He do?
He freed it from the exactions of men, and from the multitude of minute requirements of men, that confused the people… Signs of the Times, October 15, 1894
Such a subject as divorce and remarriage looked at from the legal viewpoint will confuse the people. Have you been confused over the last few month? Because a legal suggestion has confused us that’s why. As we go through this seminar, I pray to God it will be diffused and Jesus did all that but not only by not going into any argument. All His life and teaching and death unveiled it all. As you and I pursue the research the life, the teaching and the death of Jesus, you will make an experience. As you behold, you will discover love which is the weighty matter of the law. The product of discovering this is found in
Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
When God works in you through Jesus Christ, you are not looking at the law for righteousness, you are looking at Jesus and who is it that is working? Is it the ego? No way! The ego is the Pharisaical way of working. This is God at work. The person who has the law shining upon him in the face of Jesus Christ is shattered. He is broken and contrite. What did God say? I dwell in a high and lofty place with him who is of a humble and contrite spirit. Totally different. The Pharisee thinks, ‘Oh I have to keep the law that I can live there’. Of course I have to keep the law but I can’t. I am lost but the Pharisee thinks he can. When he comes to Jesus he discovers what he is really like as we delineated under the gospel religion. Then he says: I am never going to make it, it is impossible. Many people have said it to me. I don’t think I make it to heaven. Why do we think that way? Because I see myself so wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I am never going to make it. But praise the Lord that is the true source that you are going to make it. Just don’t run away, keep on looking, keep letting it burn, let it show you what a wretch you are. The more you do it the more you see the love of God, the more it affects you. When Jesus came and gave Himself to us, He gave Himself to create a people who are zealous of good works. That is what the gospel produces, a zeal but not according to the Pharisee. It is a zeal that is affected by the beauty of the workings of Jesus Christ. This next Bible text shows us this wonderful work under gospel religion. This is the outcome.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:
The Pharisee this of himself, he wants to reach it and he puts all his human ingenuity in it and he thinks he is going to make it.
Ephesians 2:8 It is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
A person on whom a ray of light from Jesus is shining can’t boast. He is broken and contrite, he cannot in an authoritarian manner tell others what he wants them to do. He is humbled about himself.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Titus says we will be zealous because God has ordained we should walk in them and He is creating it. That resignation to the gospel was produced in Saul, the Pharisee just like that. Before his conversion he describes himself according to the flesh he was perfect toward God. But when the law came, when the real law came as Jesus enlarged it he was dead. Here is his description from then onwards. This is the language of gospel mentality.
Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered.
This suffering is what so called Christians don’t want. They don’t want to hear that. If we don’t want to hear it, if we don’t want to understand it, we won’t be saved.
Philippians 3:9 the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law,
Which is through the avenue of legal expectations.
Philippians 3:9 but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death;
That is gospel centered religion. A total contrast to legal expectations. I behold Christ and I will be changed into His image. Our attention during our fellowship here and preparation for doctrinal unity for us all will be on a far higher level than the legal correctness of the church principles.
Legal religion will not answer for this age. We may perform all the outward acts of service and yet be as destitute of the quickening influence of the Holy Spirit as the hills of Gilboa were destitute of dew and rain. We all need spiritual moisture, and we need also the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness to soften and subdue our hearts. 6Testimonies page 417.3
How can He soften and subdue our hearts? Crunch. I must fall on the rock and it must go. Crunch. In one of our next seminar studies we will consider our hard heart in reference to divorce and remarriage. There is a total different perspective. If the heart is softened, the answer is vividly clear in reference to that subject. A legal religion will raise up all kinds of unnecessary experiences. When we look at the gospel religion we will have moisture. We will experience the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Sister White says we have preached the law and the law until we were as dry as the hills of Gilboa and when the latter rain comes we will not discern nor receive it because we’re focusing on the law and on the law. Yet the law is so beautiful, how I love Thy law. Why do I love the law? Because I love Jesus. He has captured my heart and I see everything from a total different perspective. We all need spiritual moisture, we also need the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness to soften and subdue our hearts. Yes, we are always to be firm as a rock to principles. Bible principles are to be taught and backed up by holy practice. That hasn’t been removed but the method is different. So the question is, legal religion will not answer for this age. This preaching of the law and the expectations of the law, will not answer for this age and why? Why can’t it do its work? To us belongs confusion of faces. Here is the reason why;
The spirit of bondage is engendered by seeking to live in accordance with legal religion, through striving to fulfill the claims of the law in our own strength. There is hope for us only as we come under the Abrahamic covenant, which is the covenant of grace by faith in Christ Jesus. The gospel preached to Abraham, through which he had hope, was the same gospel that is preached to us today, through which we have hope. Abraham looked unto Jesus, who is also the Author and the Finisher of our faith. 6 Bible Commentary 1077.
The spirit of bondage is engendered by seeking to live in accordance with legal religion. That is why a legal religion is not for us. I know this to be 100% true. As we continue we will appreciate that the people who are restorers of paths to dwell in are a people who have been released from bondage – Isaiah 61.
In conclusion a legal religion is a egocentric way of gaining salvation. Where as gospel religion is a God given method of salvation where He works in us. With ego, you need a law to make your personal efforts fruitful. Whereas with Jesus you need your personal efforts to hang onto Him. That’s all. For if you don’t hang onto Him, if you run away from Him, you will not change. May God help us to appreciate these living realities is my prayer.
Further reading: https://sabbathsermons.com/category/marriage-2/