The command is to love him, not just to think about him, or do things for him. We are not to stop with a proper legal relationship - for example, to think of a man as legally lost, which he is, in the sight of a holy God - without thinking of him as a person. Saying this, we can suddenly see that much evangelism is not only sub-Christian, but subhuman - legalistic and impersonal.
What do you call a co-worker these days? Neither teammate nor confederate will do, and partner is too legalistic. The answer brought from academia to the political world by Henry Kissinger and now bandied in the boardroom is colleague. It has a nice upper-egalitarian feel, related to the good fellowship of collegial.
Rome is burning, Jesus says. Drop your fiddle, change your life and come to Me. Let go of the good days that never were - a regimented church you never attended, traditional virtues you never practiced, legalistic obedience you never honored, and a sterile orthodoxy you never accepted. The old era is done. The decisive inbreak of God has happened.
Those who refuse to support and defend the state have no claim to protection by that state. Killing an anarchist or a pacifist should not be considered "murder" in a legalistic sense. The offense against the state, if any, should be "Using deadly weapons within city limits," or "Creating a traffic hazard," or other misdemeanor.
Robert A. Heinlein
People will then often say, 'But surely it's better to remain an Agnostic just in case?' This, to me, suggests such a level of silliness and muddle that I usually edge out of the conversation rather than get sucked into it. (If it turns out that I've been wrong all along, and there is in fact a god, and if it further turned out that this kind of legalistic, cross-your-fingers-behind-your-back, Clintonian hair-splitting impressed him, then I think I would choose not to worship him anyway.)
In England if something goes wrong--say, if one finds a skunk in the garden--he writes to the family solicitor, who proceeds to take the proper measures; whereas in America, you telephone the fire department. Each satisfies a characteristic need; in the English, love of order and legalistic procedure; and here in America, what you like is something vivid, and red, and swift.
Alfred North Whitehead
Ask Jesus to help you fully understand the joys of obedience. Also, ask Him how you can be a woman fully committed to obedience without slipping into a legalistic approach to life. We must always remember our goal is pursuing revelations of Him. Our focus can't be just following rules but following Jesus Himself.
Whatever criticism we may have for Jonah, at least it can be said that Jonah was consistent. This legalistic, over-judgmental, young prophet will consistently proscribe the most severe form of punishment for the guilty-even when the guilty party is himself. The young Jonah hijacks written Torah to condemn everyone-even himself.
Michael Ben Zehabe
We make a fatal mistake when we try to force Scripture to offer redemption to those who want to go to heaven but who don't want a relationship with the living God. By trying to offer some minimal standard of conduct that will allow them to qualify for salvation while continuing to to pursue their own agendas, we distort the gospel and destroy its power, and we concoct legalistic games to give them a false sense of security.
The attempt to understand morality in the legalistic terms of a natural law is ancient but is now mostly associated with the formulation given it by Thomas Aquinas in the late thirteenth century. All earlier natural law is commonly seen as leading up to Aquinas's paradigmatic version, whereas later natural law is understood as deriving from it.
Judgment, then, is not an impersonal, legalistic process. It is a matter of love, and it is something we choose for ourselves. Nor is punishment a vindictive act. God's "curses" are not expressions of hatred, but of fatherly love and discipline. Like medicinal ointment, they hurt in order to heal. They impose suffering that is remedial, restorative, and redemptive. God's wrath is an expression of His love for His wayward children.
You want to mess up the minds of your children? Here's how - guaranteed! Rear them in a legalistic, tight context of external religion, where performance is more important than reality. Fake your faith. Sneak around and pretend your spirituality. Train your children to do the same. Embrace a long list of do's and don'ts publicly but hypocritically practice them privately... yet never own up to the fact that its hypocrisy. Act one way but live another. And you can count on it - emotional and spiritual damage will occur.
Charles R. Swindoll
Nature hates vacuum. Once a society is depleted of moral values, it creates a vacuum that will be filled by doctrines that hold to such values, even though those values are draconian and oppressive. In fact the more a society is devoid of morality, the more promising prudish and unpermissive doctrines look. Licentious societies create a spiritual vacuum that legalistic religions such as Islam fill.
The fact is, the great intellectuals of the western religious tradition from Augustine to Aquinas and Peter Abelard became philosophically dominant. The intellectual tradition was preserved. The great intellectuals of the Islamic tradition like Averroes and Avicenna became heretics whose influence disappeared under the weight of rote preaching and practice. Islam as a result has a moral code, a legalistic system of right and wrong, but no evolved ethical tradition.
R. Joseph Hoffmann
Repentance is being sorry enough to quit your sin. You will never know the forgiving mercy of God while you are still wedded to your sins. Repentance is the soul's divorce from sin, but it will always be joined to faithRepentance that is not joined to faith is a legalistic repentanceProfessed faith that is not joined to repentance is a spurious faith, for true faith is faith in Christ to save me not in but from my sin. Repentance and faith are inseparable, and 'unless you repent you will all likewise perish' (Luke 13:3).
For Bonhoeffer, the relationship with God ordered everything else around it. A number of times he referred to the relationship with Jesus Christ as being like the cantus firmus of a piece of music. All the other parts of the music referred to it, and it held them together. To be true to God in the deepest way meant having such a relationship with him that one did not live legalistically by "rules" or "principles." One could never separate one's actions from one's relationship to God. It was a more demanding and more mature level of obedience, and Bonhoeffer had come to see that the evil of Hitler was forcing Christians to go deeper in their obedience, to think harder about what God was asking. Legalistic religion was being shown to be utterly inadequate.
The Party's Object... ' The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interests of the whole community'... was precise and legalistic. Correctness of definition and theory was all-important: in the minds of the men of new party, the failures of the existing organisations were simply the fruits of false theories. For the same reason, the Object did not mention the means of exchange. It was held that socialism, with free access to everything, there would be no exchange of goods; hence, to talk of the common ownership of the means of exchange was to show misunderstanding from the start.
it is a mistake to reduce every decision about Christian living to a "Heaven-or-Hell issue." For example, some ask if the Bible specifically says a certain action is a "sin" or will send them to "Hell." If not, they feel free to indulge in that action unreservedly and ignore any scriptural principles involved. But this approach is legalistic, which means living by rules or basing salvation on works. It treats the Bible as a law book, focusing on the letter and looking for loopholes. By contrast, the Bible tells us that we are saved by grace through faith, not by our works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Grace teaches us how to live righteously, and faith leads us into obedience. (See Titus 2:11-12; Romans1:5; Hebrews 11:7-8.)
David K. Bernard
And even those who claim to read the Bible literally and to lead their lives according to its precepts are, in actual practice, highly selective about which parts of the Bible they live by and which they don't. Jesus' condemnations of wealth and war are generally ignored; so are Levitical prohibitions on eating pork, wearing mixed fabrics and so forth. Though legalistic Christians accuse nonlegalistic Christians of selective interpretation and relativistic morality (of adjusting the Bible, in short, to suit their own lifestyles and prejudices), what is usually happening is that nonlegalists are, as the Baptist tradition puts it, reading the Bible with Jesus as their criterion, while the legalists are, without any philosophical consistency whatsoever, embracing those laws and doctrines that affirm their own predilections and prejudices and ignoring the rest.