Faith and law are different. Law defines behavior that is necessary to go to heaven, producing lists of minimum requirements. All types of legalism focus on behavior, just with different lists of essentials. Often, the irrational conclusion is drawn that if one person can be acceptable to God without a certain behavior, then all people can be similarly excused.
In contrast, faith responds to the grace of God. Without a response, faith does not exist. Those who love God will seek to please God. The only reasonable way to express that love is through means for which God has expressed His pleasure. Deciding how to please God without considering what God has communicated is self-serving, not God-serving.
The following passages describe things that please God:
- 1 Thessalonians 4:1 Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God.
- 2 Timothy 2:4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
- Hebrews 13:16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
- Colossians 1:9 – 12 For this reason we also, since the day we heard of it, do not cease to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering and joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
- Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.
- 1 John 3:22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, and He gave us commandment.
These passages describe things that do not please God:
- Romans 8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
- Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
To please God, we must have the kind of faith that God calls faith, not what man calls faith. We must know the Scriptures in order to know what true faith is.