Why We Are Afraid Of The Gospel And Secretly Prefer The Law

"The gospel begins with God's statement, 'I have called you by name, you are mine' (Isaiah 43:1).  But instead of taking that statement at face value and simply living in faith, we imagine that there are all kinds of additional duties and laws that are required of us to be 'good' Christians.  And we certainly like others to be like us.

Secretly we like laws.  Don't we secretly think that a person who manages to keep five of the ten commandments is better in God's eyes than the person that keeps none?  Besides, deep down we prefer  Moses to Christ.  Laws give us security; we know where we stand.  People who have spent half a lifetime in jail, living by prison regulations, are often helpless when they are released.  Their new freedom frightens them.  Many Christians are like that.  They are afraid of the new freedom the gospel gives them to make their day-to-day decisions in faith and love to God.  They become uneasy if they do not know exactly what is expected of them in every situation.  They are not satisfied with general Christian guidelines.  They expect the Bible or their pastor to provide them with a fail-safe rule for every conceivable situation.  It is much safer that way.  For some legalistic Christians laws are a good substitute for complete trust in the power of the Holy Spirit."

Excerpt Taken From: 
Friedemann Hebart, One in the Gospel: The Formula of Concord for Our Day (Openbook Publishers, 2000), 74.