If you profess to be a child of God, through repentance from sins and faith in who Jesus is and what He’s done, then He expects you to act like it. It isn’t legalism to tell Christians that God expects His people to do what He says. We instinctively understand this in the private sphere, but we’re often very reluctant to acknowledge it in the religious arena. For example, take a representative married couple having problems, and consider the wisdom of the following two responses:
- Guy #1: He wants peace and isn’t particularly interested in addressing the real problem. He stops by the grocery store on the way home to pick out a dozen roses and some nice chocolates. He comes home, presents them to his bride, apologizes, secretly hopes his gift will buy him some affection, and doesn’t change his behavior.
- Guy #2: He is genuinely sorry, buys the same flowers and chocolates, gives them to his wife, and takes her out to dinner. He confesses that he’s been a bad husband, asks what he can do to change, and takes concrete steps to do just that.
Guy #1 doesn’t care about his wife; he’s all about buying affection. Guy #2 does care, and proves it by his actions. The outward actions are identical, but the motivations are very different. A spouse knows the difference. So does God.