1The difference between legalism and grace is in the motive behind your obedience. If you obey God with the belief it will improve your standing with God, or that He will love you less if you don’t, then you’re sliding into the gloom of frozen legalism. But if you obey God because you love Him and know you are deeply loved, then you are basking in the warmth of light of His grace.
2Legalism is a terrible threat to the spiritual health of churches and individual Christians. Some people prefer legalist churches, because when they follow the rules it gives them a chance to feel they are doing well as a Christian–especially compared to the other people who aren’t keeping the rules as much as they are.
4The trouble with doing things to impress God is it forces you to keep coming up with more and better things to do for God. Paul refers to this in verse 23 when he writes about “harsh treatment of the body.” Those kinds of acts may appear valuable, but the Bible says they are worthless.