Obedience to God is His love in action through us.
By the power of His Spirit, He perfects His character and His love in us. This is His way of restoring us to His image. God’s love is synonymous with His character, as seen in His Ten Commandment law. Obedience, therefore, is the expression of a loving heart and is distinctly separate from legalism.
Legalism has no part in God’s love. It is the work of a different spirit. Legalism is the counterfeit to the work of the Holy Spirit in God’s redeemed, His justified, His righteous, His saved. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit can they live and teach and preach to every nation and tongue, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Rooted in covetousness, legalism does have part in the cunning darkness of deceit. The motives of legalists are not based in genuine love. Therefore, in time, the real selfishness of legalism will be revealed. And, if never truly converted, legalists will hear the telling words of God, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23).