I gave them my statutes and showed them my ordinances, by whose observance everyone shall live.
The issue of obeying God’s word is more important or well-defined for me today than it was previously, but that’s probably because I have what I believe to be a better way of thinking about it than I used to. Previously I would think in terms of the third use of the law. This is a concept that is helpful, stating that God’s law is primarily intended to show us our need for salvation (cf. Romans 5:20). The law also threatens us so that it prevents us from grossly ungodly activities. The third use is to guide us in doing good. Want to know what it looks like to love God and your neighbor? Look at the Ten Commandments; they can guide you in that realm.
Jesus answered, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”
The idea of Covenant and Kingdom has helped me further understand how it is that we are saved by the grace of God, totally and freely as his gift. Nothing we do makes that happen. God does it all, and we receive that gift by faith. Even faith itself is a gift of God’s Holy Spirit. It’s God’s doing from first to last! We have this beautiful covenant relationship with him, and are God’s children. This establishes our identity.
We also are called to “live under [Christ] in his kingdom” in the words of Martin Luther (cf. Luther’s Small Catechism, the explanation to the Second Article of the Apostle’s Creed). As citizens of God’s kingdom we represent the King in the world. We do that by obeying his commands and reflecting his love.
So much for the theology lesson. There is more to be said in that vein. But for me today, I will seek however possible to represent God’s gracious rule in my heart by faith, obey his commands, and rejoice in his presence in my life. How about you?