Our God is kind, loving, compassionate, merciful, forgiving, and full of grace. What he has done for us is incredible and we owe him all the praise and worship we can manage. He also deserves the obedience of his loving and grateful children. He deserves all of their attention, affection and eternal service. But one thing we must always remember is that he also a God of justice.
We did wrong. We rebelled against his love. We deserved death. But he did not kill us. Instead, he came up with a plan to rescue us; to give us an opportunity to escape our enslavement and disobedience. The cost of the plan was all on him but the decision was all on us. As much as he loves us; as much as he has sacrificed for us; as great as his mercy and grace is, we still have to choose. In choosing we turn our back on our rebellion and doing whatever we think is best and we embrace our God as our Father, entering into an incredible relationship of love and obedience. Jesus told us plainly:
God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them! No one who has faith in God’s Son will be condemned. But everyone who doesn’t have faith in him has already been condemned for not having faith in God’s only Son. (John 3:17-18,CEV)
It all comes down to that decision so in essence our salvation is in our hands because God has done everything he can to rescue us from our own demise. But it isn't a one-off decision.There is the initial decision that allows our Father to adopt us through the work of Jesus, but then it becomes a daily decision to live in obedience and to shun evil. It is no different then when we were growing up in our parent's home. Every day we were presented with situations where we had to choose to either respect and honour them in our obedience or to rebel and do our own thing. Solomon told his son:
Obey the teaching
of your parents—
21 always keep it in mind
and never forget it.
22 Their teaching will guide you
when you walk,
protect you when you sleep,
and talk to you
when you are awake. (Proverbs 6:20-22)
At the age of 49 I still live according to what I was taught in my parents' home because it was ingrained in me and as I have grown I have discovered the wisdom of my parents. As a child I obeyed (not always) simply because I was taught to obey but as I have grown I obey for a different reason. With God it is often like this.
We don't always understand why our Father has commanded certain things but if we love him we will obey, even without understanding. As we grow and mature, we begin to appreciate his wisdom and our obedience becomes a thing of maturity. Again, Solomon told his son:
The Law of the Lord is a lamp,
and its teachings
Correction and self-control
will lead you through life. (Proverbs 6:23, CEV)
There is a reason our Father commanded what he commanded. There are reason he has restricted what has been restricted. If we are too young spiritually to understand, then love should be enough to cause us to desire to obey without understanding. But as we mature, we will begin to see and appreciate just how much the Word is a lamp for our feet and the brilliance of the instructions of our Father.
Yet today, at this moment, you have to make that decision whether you will obey or not. Don't try changing the words and fitting it in to your agenda because that dishonours our Father. That's trying to paint him as a liar and confuses the world. No, you have to decide whether you love him enough to obey what he has instructed, whether you agree or disagree, whether you understand it or not. Obedience is not doing your thing and paying lip service to our Father. Obedience is following the instruction of our Father as he has given it. Do you love him enough to do what he has said?