Legalists are those who state
that salvation is by grace alone,
but act as if it comes by their own efforts
in trying to be a "good Christian".
Legalists push their own personal standards onto others.
They are quick to think the worst of others and of their intentions;
tend to see the sins of others as more severe than their own.
Yet it is by their example and teaching
that many find the better path
for it is clearly marked.
In reaction to legalism some have turned to another way.
Libertines live the way they want, regardless of Christ's teaching,
For the libertine, grace becomes license to live as they want,
silencing or ignoring their conscience.
The focus is on love rather than justice;
on freedom rather than concern for others.
Following The Law is safe, righteous creditable.
It minimises risk; takes the broad path,
but often conflicts with good sense
or even the way of Jesus.
In short, the libertine lives as if there is no God.
The legalist lives as though she/he is God to everyone.
Both attitudes are incompatible with the life of Christ.
The legalist tends to view all non-legalists as libertines.
The libertine tends to view all non-libertines as legalists.
The cause behind either is a failure to understand that
they are unconditionally accepted as they are,
and that maybe God is other than
what they have been taught.
In his ministry Jesus spoke against both liberty and legalism.
He took a radical path of practical obedience to his conscience;
the working of the Spirit within him; listening to God directly
rather than through the filter of The Law,
or of any set religious structure.