Daily Devotional

Is it legalistic to follow Christian rules of conduct?

Average reading time is about 5 minutes

There is no legalism in doing what is right except when a person is doing it to curry favor for selfish reasons, instead of out of love for God. Of course, if they are trusting in their own deeds to save them, they are doomed to failure.

Salvation comes only as a miraculous, free gift from Jesus. The Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). We’re saved by “grace,” which means undeserved favor. None of us deserve the exquisite gift God has given us “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). By putting our faith in Jesus, we are made right with God. He is the only one who can bridge the gap. Salvation by works (our conduct) is impossible.

But following Jesus’ standards of conduct because we have been saved and love Him is never legalism. God asks us, ‘Keep justice, and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come, and My righteousness to be revealed” (Isaiah 56:1). We do what is right to honor the One who bought our salvation with His own blood. We do it because He said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). We obey out of love for our Savior.

Once we have been baptized into Christ, our lives should be very different. The apostle Paul puts it this way: “Our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin” (Romans 6:6, 7). The blood of Jesus breaks our chains and sets us free—not free to do whatever we please, but free from the slavery of doing what is wrong. He empowers us to do what is right.

"Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God."
3 John 1:11

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