Self-sufficient legalism is an equally deadly response to the challenge. Under a legalistic framework, you could create an unending list of “do’s” and don’ts.” Legalism reduces spirituality to obeying the rules: “If you do these six, sixteen, or sixty-six things, you’ll be godly!” Christianity is far more than a checklist! Being “in Christ” is a relationship!
God save us from self-righteous judgmentalism. We so easily judge others by stricter standards than we use on ourselves.
Remember there is a universe of difference between the motivations of legalism and discipline! Legalism says, “I will do this thing to gain merit with God,” while discipline says, “I will do this because I love God and want to please him.” Legalism is man-centered; discipline is God-centered.
Barbara Hughes, Disciplines of a Godly Woman (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001), 212.