How a follower of Jesus Christ should behave is such a great subject that a lot of people nowadays would like to debate. In the past, this simply never occurred since Calvary, 2,000 years ago. Instead, people these days just believed that a saved person was to lead a holy life in the sight of God.
Additionally, if you took a trip back in time to make a thorough review of all the leading denominations requirements, you would probably be surprised to uncover that in place were severe sanctions for church members whose lives were deemed dishonorable to God.
Furthermore, it was even quite usual that based upon the sin they committed, a church member would for a period of time be barred from church membership. As far as attending church services was concerned, this was different. Basically, what it meant was that they were not allowed to enjoy for a period of time the privilege of their church membership.
However, an overall revolution in America was set into motion back in the 1960s. This literally started to affect what was going on in the church by the hippie generation existing at that time. An unscriptural teaching was created at that time relating to specific standards of conduct, believers were held responsible for. This included issues like abstaining from cigarettes and alcohol and modesty. This immediately began to be referred to as “legalism” by a lot of folks.
With the terminology “legalism”, the real meaning has to do with, as a state of “being saved”, requiring good deeds to be done. There are truly various religions teaching this today. For instance, that certain things have to be done is a teaching held deeply by Muslims. The same thing is taught by Mormonism.
It turned out that one of my friends was browsing a website of the Mormon Church to chat about their questions with somebody else, they would pose the individual they were speaking to just what they felt about salvation. The answer they would receive would be that the Mormons believe for a person to be saved, faith and works are essential. Basically, this is legalism.
That God commands us to be holy because He is holy, we are told by Peter in the Bible. Does that tell us Peter was attempting to force upon other people his beliefs and for some reason that he was a legalist? When you stop taking into account that Peter personally knew Christ, this really doesn’t make much sense. The reality is that more of what God wanted of people may have actually been known by Paul than those individuals not thinking that any need to be holy is, in fact, essential.
The responsibility to live holy and righteous lives isn’t something that God suggests us to do, but rather something that He demands if we want to glorify Him. It is plainly expressed in God’s holy Word that pure living does not have anything to do with eternal life. But that we should not live holy lives, this doesn’t mean. The reality is that not leading a holy life indicates that God is not really loved by you since when you are willfully disobeying His Word, you are showing that you don’t love Him!