Legalism is any system of morality or any body of rules that is not grounded in something external to man, something transcendent, i.e. in God. Most or all of the current systems of law and government throughout the world are probably based in legalism, since that is the default system apart from God. In all the areas colonized by England, we adhere to a body of law called common law or case law. This is basically the culmination and conglomeration of all our older, previous laws, prior rulings, and codified customs, going all the way back hundreds of years into our mother country, England. When judges encounter unusual situations that might be precedent setting, they can always research case law decisions for guidance, which may even include cases in other jurisdictions that have addressed similar issues. There is even a principle called stare decisis that requires adherence to previous precedent as well as honoring the rulings of higher courts. While case law is meant to keep judges from making wild rulings that are arbitrary, keeping them connected to the precedents and customs of our culture, it is, nonetheless, inherently flawed.
Over the course of hundreds of years, the sheer weight of legalism and man’s sin has taken the chain of subsequent decisions to some bizarre places that do not accord with our deeper moral principles. This always happens with legalism no matter where you study it in the world and in history. Moreover, there can still be wild rulings as we have seen in the U.S. because the “interpretation” of what the other case law decision means is “in the eye of the beholder.” If the judge has an agenda, is not well educated, or is not experienced enough, then he or she will produce flawed rulings. This is exactly the situation we have in the United States with virtually no rhyme or reason to many court decisions. Sometimes when judges break with precedent, we can have necessary moral changes such as the integration of schools, but other times, this break in precedent has produced flagrantly immoral laws such as Roe versus Wade, which gives women the right to murder their unborn babies. Let me be very clear here, any violence against another human being is a violation of the laws of love (Matthew 22:36-40).
But violence against innocents is an abomination to God. It is a big step further into sin by even taking the life of one who is defenseless and is even totally dependent on the mother that is breaking her sacred duty to care for the child and, instead, killing the child. Abortion is the sacrificing of children to our personal whims, which is even more arbitrary than the sacrificing of children to pagan gods that God has already prohibited (Lev. 18:21). Speaking from God’s perspective, absolutely any taking of a human life without serious, significant reasons and without authority is a very significant breach of God’s loving care for that life and a usurpation of His authority over that life. By taking a human life (especially for frivolous reasons), you are putting yourself in the place of God, making judgments that are way beyond your authority and way beyond your understanding.
Thankfully, our God is a merciful God. He will forgive anyone that has sinned, no matter how great the sin, if they will only turn to Him, humble themselves, and accept the blood of His Precious Son as atonement for their sins, entering into a covenant relationship with Him. Then He can begin to repair our broken lives and our broken hearts, and He can make us ultimately into better people over the course of years walking with Him. But there is no sin too great for God. There never has been. There never will be. His love and mercy are far too big for any of our sins, and the Precious Blood of His Son is way too powerful, no matter who we are and no matter what we have done. I pray that all of you will experience His boundless Love and Mercy today.