Man, before he is saved, is in bondage to a legalistic mindset. He lives his life hoping that keeping a standard, or a combination of them, or for that matter, even a personal standard the he creates for himself, will somehow appease God. If he has any hope for heaven he hopes to point to something he's done, or is doing, that he considers "good". Ponder what we read in Matthew 7:22 concerning the Great White Throne Judgement. It is said that, "On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'" . In that final day men will hope for the best in those things they have done, but it will be to no avail. This is the state of all men before they're saved. We hope to gain enough righteousness so that God will let us into Heaven.
John 1:17 tells us, "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." When the Gospel entered our hearts we understood that we couldn't possible merit Heaven and have fellowship with God by our works of righteousness. We realized that without the Lord Jesus Christ, we were condemned to a Christ-less eternity. We learned that the only way we could have peace with a Holy God was through the work of Jesus Christ on Calvary's cross and by His bodily resurrection from the grave. There would be no boasting in Heaven about the good things we did while on Earth. No, if we were to gain the blessing of eternal life it would be entirely God's doing, not ours, because "grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."
Unfortunately, oftentimes a newly saved person attends a church that teaches that, though they are saved by grace, they are to live by certain rules. Sometimes these rules are thought to be biblical, and verses are taken out of their context to prove their validity. Sometimes the rules are biblically undefinable. As a result, the new Christian embarks on a life of continued legalism that leaves them oftentimes wondering if they've been truly saved at all.
It is important that the legalistic mindset be destroyed. This is accomplished by a Christocentric theology, by understanding that salvation and fellowship with God is not about us, but rather the Lord Jesus Christ. It's not nearly as much about me accepting Jesus as it is about Jesus accepting me.
"To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." Ephesians 1:6
The only answer to victory over a legalistic mindset is the person of Christ.