Legalism Versus Love

How do you live? What is your approach to life? Do you live by rules? Are you a stickler for following the law, policy, and implied direction from leaders? Or do you live by grace? Do you forgive both yourself and others?

Today’s passage is an interesting one. Paul is refuting Peter. In some respects, he is chastising Peter for continuing to live by the law. It is the final statement in a discourse in which Paul is effectually stating the Jewish law is no longer the governing source.

Now, we must not throw the baby out with the bath water. Paul is not stating the law is no longer good and should be completely ignored. He is making the point that the love of Christ is all encompassing. It not just includes the law but includes a new attitude that surpasses the law. In other words, to follow Christ is to hold yourself to a higher standard.

The higher standard means we must think through every situation. It means not being so rigid there is no room for grace, mercy, and forgiveness. It means we must allow for mistakes made by both others and ourselves. That is the love Christ has for us and calls us to live by.

In effect, Paul is saying we cannot just follow a set of rules. We cannot simply go through the motions as dictated by guidelines and traditions. We must go beyond and live with love. It is the same love Jesus stated in His two greatest commands—love God and love neighbor.

I pray we all live in the grace of God. I pray we set aside our legalistic views. I pray each one of us choose to love others and ourselves as Christ loves us. Live by a higher standard. Love with the love of Christ. Love others. Love yourself. Show grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

Galatians 2:19-21 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

Published by martypressey

Marty is a Pastor, retired Marine and dedicated Christian who has taught adult Bible classes and preached for 20 years. He currently serves as pastor of 3 United Methodist Churches. He believes being well-grounded in the Scriptures is key to living a better life. He brings a layman’s viewpoint to all his classes and sermons, helping others understand how to apply Scripture to their daily lives. When he sees others understand the message of a particular passage, it brings him great joy. He has seen his faith increase exponentially over the years; fully believing God has a plan and is executing it. He feels blessed to be part of that plan.

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