A reader calling herself "confused" asked the following question in a comment on Legalism Destroys Love:
"Might it not be true that those often labeled as "legalists" are actually those who already understand the Grace of God and who are trying to search the Scriptures for the voice of God on how they should live, how Jesus lived in the Gift of God's Word?"
This is a great question, and it actually points to what I believe is part of the real purpose for the commands in the New Covenant scriptures.
In other words, if we are no longer under law, but under grace (Rom. 6:14), then why do we have all the commands in the epistles at all?
I believe there are two main answers:
1. The commands show us the heart and mind of the One we love. Since we love the Lord, as believers in Him, doesn't it make sense that we want to know the things that He desires, the things that please Him? Of course. And these commands, although they bring us no condemnation, reveal to us the heart of the Lover of our souls.
2. The commands reveal to us when we are not walking by the Spirit, but are walking by the flesh. It shows us that we have been deceived by the world, the flesh, and the devil to be somehow "conformed to the world". This acts as a wonderful prompt to us to get back in communion with the Lord, to get back into the fulness of His Spirit, to get back in touch with our own new spirit, to again have our minds renewed by His Word, and to again walk by the Spirit.
Isn't that what we want in our heart of hearts? Isn't that what we crave as a New Creation?
It's not legalism to want to obey Him, when our obedience comes from our love for Him, or from His very Life living out through us.