Keeping the Sabbath (it’s in the 10 commandments)
Carefully observing traffic laws (child restraints, seat belts, stop signs, speed limits…)
Is this legalism?
I think legalism is when you try to earn righteousness before God by your works. But if God commands something and we work to obey, what is that? And if God commands something and we don’t do it, what is that?
I think that when we trust Christ for our salvation and desire to live lives of thankful, joyful obedience to God’s commands (knowing that these works do not save you), that’s obedience. And an inattention to obeying God’s commands is disobedience.
It seems to me that among Christians in America, we look at obedience and think, “Oh dear, that’s legalism” — and celebrate a form of lawlessness instead.
I don’t think you can look at someone and know for sure if they are obedient or a legalist. But if they’re breaking the law, I think you can know that they’re acting like a lawbreaker — even though they may think they’re celebrating their Christian freedom.