These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. – Colossians 2:23
Any true long-term legalist or externalist will become deluded and become a hypocrite. This is why: you can never live up to any standard, especially God’s standard. In order to live with yourself and justify your philosophy of legalism, you have to come up with some kind of system to cover all your failures and it only leads to hypocrisy and delusional conclusions about your own life and your own goodness. This hypocrisy is so evident. That’s why Jesus calls the religious leaders of His day hypocrites. He says it right out in the daylight in front of everybody. Let me make the point this way. It’s almost like somebody needs to help Jesus learn how to better communicate! He just boldly, piercingly lays it out there. I mean, He’s on the earth, He wants to bring people to the truth of their sin and that He’s coming to save them, but He keeps offending them deeply.
Don’t you love Jesus for that? You can’t figure him out. At the end of the movie, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” Aslan, the figure of Jesus, has fixed everything. They watch him on the beach walking away from them and they wonder why he’s leaving. They want him to stay with them. Tumnus says to Lucy, “We’ll see him again… One day he’ll be here, the next he won’t.” Then Tumnus says, “After all, he’s not a tame lion.” I love that! In other words, you can’t tame Jesus into your little subjective definition of what He would be like and do. He is who He is, period. He shocks you and amazes you and startles you. You may say, “Well, Jesus wouldn’t do that.” Be careful. He does things and says things in ways that shock us because He’s not our little tame lion; however, as Lucy replies, “But he’s good.”