“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His Commandments, for this is the whole duty of man—for God shall bring every work into Judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.”
When we know Where we’re headed and what we should be doing while enroute, our task is really quite simply.
As the early Church developed, her leaders sought to capture the essence of her Mission in a simple, succinct fashion. From that came what is known as the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which said “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” And, down through the years others have developed other Mission Statements, such as “Love God. . .love others. . . serve the world.”
One day Jesus was asked “Which is the first (most important) Commandment of all? And, Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the Commandments is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord—and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. This is the first Commandment. And, the second is like, namely this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other Commandment greater than these’” (Mk. 12:28b-31).
In reality, Jesus was simply quoting the Jewish Shema from Dt. 6:4-5 and Dt. 19:18b. And, in reality, that’s basically what Solomon was saying in today’s Manna: “Fear God and keep His Commandments.” Or, “Live your life with holy reverence for Almighty God and obey what He’s told you to do. This sums it up in a nutshell.”
Now, we know we’re “saved by Grace through faith, not of works lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). We also know that Jesus “freed us from the curse of the Law by being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:10, 13). But, this doesn’t mean we Christians no longer live under the 10 Commandments, for Jesus “didn’t come to destroy the Law or the prophets, but to fulfill them” (Mt. 5:17).
Simply put, we now live under Grace and the Lord Jesus’ Authority; yet, that, in-and-of-itself, is sufficient reason to be the best law/Law-abiding citizen we can be. We should do what is right because it’s right—not because we might otherwise get caught. Truly, the Lord knows “the secret thoughts and intents of our hearts” (Heb. 4:12b).
That’s why we should “trust and obey—for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey.” This should be done out of delight, no drudgery (Ps. 40:8). Likewise, we should never presume on His Grace by feeling we can do whatever we want—for such is an odious offense to a Perfect and Holy God (Rom. 6:1-2, 15). Instead, we should always remember the “Judgment Seat of Christ” still awaits all Christians (II Cor. 5:9-10), while the Great White Throne Judgment awaits all those who reject Him (Rev. 20:11-15).
May the Holy Spirit help us to obey the Lord Jesus because we love Him, not because we fear Him. And, in so doing, may others be drawn to Him as well.
July 31, 2011