Whenever anyone begins to point out that the Bible is against legalism, everyone assumes that they are teaching that anything goes. This is no more a Biblical position than legalism. Paul is always consistent in pointing out that the true antidote to legalism is not hedonism. However, instead of teaching a set of rules and guidelines he always fights for a change of behavior—like a change of clothes.
In Christ, the believer is a new creature. The new creature comes with a new drive—a new desire—new duds. Before we can truly put on our new way of life—or maybe as we change—we have to take off the old outfit to make room for the new.
In this metaphor, the legalist is arguing for a striptease. We are expected to merely take off all our old, negative, and now unnatural behaviors and stand naked and dying for something—anything—to put on. Instead, Paul is going to stress the new outfit far more than the old. What we should clothe ourselves in rather than what we should shed. However, it is only natural that we take off the old repulsive things before or as we put on the new.
Even then, this is not a detailed “how to” of what to remove. He simply reminds the believer of the things that are no longer natural for the believer, the things that go against love: sexual immorality, idolatry and hatred. The sort of thing that would suggest to a girl how she should dress; but not the type that would have her applying a ruler to her skirt to make sure it is a short as is allowable without breaking a “law.”
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