Love versus Legalism
What is "legalism" after all? Messiah Yahshua well defined one aspect of it when he addressed the Pharisees.
So . . . . , it is the replacing of Yahweh's instructions with our own traditions and then calling that tradition "Yahweh's Tradition". . . . that is wrong! . . . . Did Yahweh command or instruct us to observe the pagan festival 'Saturnalia' (aka Christmas) in honor of Messiah's physical birthday (which is actually in the 'Fall' of the year)? No! . . . . Did Yahweh command us to observe the pagan tradition of Easter (Ishtar) in place of His "Passover"? No! . . . . Did Yahweh instruct us to worship Mary as the Mother of G-d or Queen of Heaven? No! . . . . Did Yahweh teach us to dip the "Aspergill" into (so called) holy water and wave it around? No! . . . . These are just four of a huge number of examples of manmade (catholic) traditions (many adopted by Protestants) that are in direct opposition to Yahweh's Commandments or Instructions.
Now . . . . when I am caste as a peculiar person; an outsider, or cult member, by our catholic and Protestant society for having a Holy Convocation on Yahweh's Sabbath (Friday dusk to Saturday dusk), instead of the man-made (christopagan Syncretic) tradition of Sunday; when I choose not to celebrate the man-made (pagan Saturnalia & catholic Mass) tradition of Xmas on December 25th; Halloween (the evening of All Saints Day or "Allhallowmas"); The catholic "Shrove Tuesday" or "Fat Tuesday" (Mardi Gras); Ash Wednesday (first day of "Lent"); and do not take my child to the "Easter Egg Hunt" in the spring or to pagan "Sunrise Services" . . . . . . .; which one of us is being Legalistic, according to Yahweh's and Yahshua's definition?
Another form of legalism is to think that Salvation from the penalty of sin is automatic due to obedience to the law (ANY LAW . . . . Yahweh's Law, man's law, church law). This is another pharisaical error, because obedience alone cannot remove the penalty for sin. The penalty for sin is Eternal Death. So now the question becomes, "Do we DIE to SELF now and LIVE forever OR do we LIVE for SELF now and DIE forever ? " Those who will LIVE forever must allow YHWH Spirit to LIVE IN us (not FOR us), and that we are to walk in "Newness of Life" (through Love); according to Messiah's example.
What is that walk exactly? Repentance (converting from a state of iniquity or lawlessness to one of obedience through Love by the rejection of SELF).
And what follows was the giving of the Ten Commandments. Notice the implication here! Yahweh delivered them from Egypt (symbolic sin). . . . Before He gave them the Law. They Did Not Earn Deliverance from sin through the Law! . . . . They didn't earn salvation (deliverance from sin) at all. . . . Salvation for the Ancient Israelites (and Jews) was by Grace! And that Grace (or Favor) came by way of Yahweh's Covenant with Abraham. But Yahweh had no such covenant with Israel at this point in history. It wasn't until later at the foot of Mount Sinai that ancient Israel made a Covenant (vow of Spiritual Marriage) with The Eternal Creator.
However, "Salvation" came first as a GIFT from Yahweh. And then what followed was Yahweh's Instructions for them to live in harmony with Him. They did not earn this gift and Yahweh was not required to give it to them. They were a pitiful group of slaves with nothing physical to give Yahweh; just as we (True Believers) were pitiful sinners before Yahweh granted us His grace (favor). Yet Obedience (through Love) was required of them after the fact (and from us too).
True Believers, are required to walk in obedience, Not To The Laws or Traditions of Man or Church, but to the Laws of Yahweh (through the Love in our hearts) after our conversion. This is not legalism! This is submission and obedience (through Love) to the Holy Spirit (Mind, Righteous Character, and Righteous Nature) of Yahweh. This Is The Result of Repentance of Sin (rejection of "SELF") and the receiving of the Holy Pneuma of Yahweh !
As for those who consider (or considered) Yahweh's laws as burdensome, but necessary legalities, as a means to receive salvation, to them it surely is (or was) legalism; and it is probably just as well that they should stop (or stopped) trying to be obedient, because they were not seeking Yahweh's Righteousness from a heart of love, but from a heart of lust.
It is as simple as this. The legalist limits himself to trying to satisfy Yahweh's "Minimum Requirements", and they expend considerable energy trying to determined just exactly what those minimun requirements are; but those that possess the Holy Spirit cannot be satisfied with just meeting requirements. The truly faithful have a need to not only want to be pleasing to YHWH, but to be "Like Him," in Righteousness as well, and therefore, try to satisfy (through love) not only "Requirements," but also Yahweh's "Preferences", but with the understanding that while preferences may not necessarily be required, it is certainly an indicator of where our heart lies. This is not a vain philosophy, but a seeking of righteousness through love and even blind faith that what Yahweh chose (Torah) to initiate in the beginning was important enough to keep (for righteousness sake), but out of the belief that Yahweh does not initiate righteous tradition or laws that are meaningless or useless or are frivolous in nature. It is not the act that is right or wrong, but the attitude behind the act that is right or wrong. It is this attitude or INTENT that will determine whether or not Yahweh will allow any one of us to remain under grace. It is never truly wrong to want to be too righteous because of love for our creator, but it is always wrong to simply want to only meet the minimum requirements (mental attitude sin).