Israel — the nation as a whole — was called to love God. But this was something that could happen only individually. As a single human being given free will, each Israelite had to make the choice to love God — and they were to show that love through obedience.
What do the following texts have in common? That is, what is the common theme among them?
How much clearer could the Word of God be? Just as God doesn’t merely say He loves us but has revealed that love for us by what He has done and still does, God’s people, too, are to show their love to God by their actions. And in these texts we see that love to God is inseparably linked to obedience to Him.
This is why, when John says things like, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” (1 John 5:3), or when Jesus says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15), these verses are merely expressing this basic teaching. Love to God must always be expressed by obedience to God. That has always been the case, and it always will be. And this obedience to God means obedience to His law, the Ten Commandments, which includes the fourth commandment as well, the Sabbath. Keeping the fourth commandment is no more legalism than is keeping any of the other nine.
Though obedience to any of the commandments can be legalism, that kind of obedience isn’t really done out of love for God. When we truly love God, especially because of what He has done for us in Christ Jesus, we want to obey Him, because that’s what He asks us to do.
When Moses over and over told Israel to love and obey God, he did it after they had been redeemed from Egypt. That is, their love and obedience was a response to the redemption that God had given them. They had been redeemed by the Lord. Now they would respond by faithfully obeying His commandments. Is it any different today?
|What is your own experience in seeking to obey God? That is, what are your own motives in obeying God? Why should it be done out of love for Him? What role, if any, should fear, the biblical understanding of fear, play, as well?|