Nothing was wrong with the Old Testament. Salvation wasn't different in the Old Testament. It was like the book of Hebrews talks about, a shadow of things to come. It was good for what it was, but a proper understanding and acceptance of it is a move toward the New Testament. You don't really accept the Old if you don't receive the New. The new covenant is a superior covenant.
The Old Testament isn't law and the New Testament grace. They are both grace. A perversion of the old covenant could be "law." The Old Testament itself, however, is grace. Old and New are both grace.
Both the Old and the New Testament have "rules." "Rules" are a means of ruling. God is sovereign. He rules. We look to what God says in His Word to see what His rules are. He says that if you love Him, you will keep His rules. The one that God receives to Himself is not the one who says, Lord, Lord, and doesn't do what God says. It is he who does the will of the Father, like Jesus did.
Justification by faith is not a get out of jail free card. Paul was clear on that in Romans 6. He also said that grace is not an occasion, a base of operations, to and for the flesh. In Jude, we see false teachers who turn the grace of God into lasciviousness.
Grace enables righteous living. God works in someone both to will and to do of His good pleasure. A primary purpose of church is to to consider one another to provoke unto love and good works. What are good works? Are they not the works that God prescribes in His Word? Are those not rules? How are we supposed to provoke someone to good works, if we are to just wait for the Holy Spirit to do it? That's not something taught anywhere in scripture.
What I'm describing is how evangelicalism and now much of fundamentalism approaches biblical teaching that they don't like. They call it legalism. The grace of God, however, is not a garbage can that just keeps swallowing up disobedience to God's Word. It is a cleansing agent that empowers righteous living, which is obedience to what God said.
Evangelicals and many fundamentalists pervert God's grace today. 2 Peter 2 talks about it. Men don't want to do what God says and the grace of God is corrupted to allow people to disobey scripture. That's not how God's grace works. Paul told Titus that God's grace taught believers to deny worldly lust and to live soberly and righteously in this present world.
According to James, believers are presented with tests of faith. They are to pray for wisdom to pass those tests. What is wisdom? It is the proper application of scripture. Why does someone need wisdom if scripture doesn't need to be applied? If the only scripture someone obeys are specific actions stated, no wisdom is needed for that. It's just wrote obedience. However, scripture does need application.
Almost all of scripture comes in principles that need to be applied. The application comes in a second term. God commands no corrupt communication to proceed from the mouth. Wisdom requires understanding what corrupt communication is. Believers are assumed to know.
Today if a church has a modesty or dress standard, it is called legalist. I know because our church gets it all the time. We rarely talk about dress. However, we are still criticized as legalistic. I hear these evangelicals, conservative ones, say that we are dangerous because we are telling people to keep rules and rules are legalism.
God's grace doesn't allow nudity. It doesn't allow cross dressing. Are those rules? They are God ruling by His grace in the life of a believer. Grace isn't less holy. It allows someone to live holy and pure.
The apostate wants to do what he wants. He doesn't want a boss. A common corruption of grace allows him to do what he wants and yet still categorize himself as spiritual enough, godly enough, or religious enough. This false, made-up, perversion of grace takes care of all the ways he disobeys God by not applying scripture. He's doing what he wants and still getting credit for doing what God wants, at least in his mind. That isn't the grace of God. It isn't how God's grace works.
Whole evangelical churches are doing what they want and calling it the grace of God. They design their churches to be worldly to attract the worldly. If you critique their music and their dress or lack thereof, they pull the legalist card. This is old. It occurs again and again.
If you read here, you know I call them legalistic. They are the true legalists in the tradition of the Pharisees, who reduced God's rules, His laws, to what they could keep. Evangelicals don't require obedience to the so-called non-essentials. Their view of grace says that those are permissible. The non-essential list is growing. They are not non-essential to God. God wants believers to live according to every Word that proceeds from His mouth. That's also how God's grace works.
Evangelicals, operating in the flesh, shorten the list of commandments or sayings to be kept, to a list they can keep. Pharisees did this. They asked Jesus the greatest commandment, because they were accustomed to ranking their laws, because they knew they couldn't keep them all in their flesh. Evangelicalism keeps its own rules, except in the flesh. It keeps those rules by reducing them to a smaller number. This is not how the Bible teaches Christian living. God's grace enables a believer to keep everything that God said. It is a supernatural, spiritual work in the soul of a man that testifies to God.
Reductionism, reducing what scripture has to be kept to a smaller number, depends on the flesh. It is left-wing legalism. It says that it is grace, but it really is an operation of the flesh to live how someone wants to live, but still call it Christian living. It isn't, and it won't be judged as so.
I'm tired of the legalism card, but I think it will keep going. It is a horrendous lie that is used out of guilt. Evangelicals are guilty of violating scripture. Their programs and their attendance and their gimmicks are more important than the Word of God. They are willing to keep their crowd by lying and calling true believers, legalists. I expect it will continue.