Love And Obedience Can’t Be Separated

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God is the composer and conductor of this symphony of life. His ‘original composition’ was created to perform together in a systematic and pleasing arrangement of parts so that harmony, peace, and order could be maintained. Creation is an expression of God’s love for man. Man was placed in the center of a virtual paradise and was given the freedom to rule over it as he pleased—with only one small exception. He cautioned Adam:“You can eat any fruit in the garden except fruit from the Tree of Conscience-for its fruit will open your eyes to make you aware of right and wrong, good and bad. If you eat its fruit, you will be doomed to die.”The Living Bible

Some people read and disregard the truth of this statement saying that Adam and Eve did not die. The truth is they did. Disobedience is sin and sin separates man from God, who is the source of spiritual life.  When man’s spirit is separated and disconnected from the source of life it can’t survive. Like the branch that is broken off a tree, without God our spirit also withers and dies.

God desired Adam’s heart to play in perfect harmony with His forever. But, Adam choose to follow the rhythm of his own tune instead. When he got out of step with God, all of mankind suffered the consequences. Adam’s decision to oppose a divine command changed what had originally been planned for mankind. Doubt in the truth of what God caused Adam to step out from under God’s leadership, and Satan stepped in to block any further direct communication with God.

We’re all born with an imprint of Adam’s song in our souls and sway to it’s rhythm all our lives. We will remain out of step with God as long as we tune Him out and insist on listening to that fateful melody of doubt instead. God still wants a relationship with us and calls to us through His Holy Spirit. He tugs at our heart until we respond to that call. Some people die without ever hearing God’s voice. Some people hear the call and refuse to answer. And, because God will never force anyone to follow him, some will go to their graves dancing with the devil.

Those who do respond to God’s call are commanded to love and are shown by Christ’s example how love must be expressed:“If you love me you will keep my commandments.”A person who loves God seeks to do whatever pleases Him before his own desires. He isn’t motivated by the fear of punishment to do what is morally and ethically right. 1 Peter 4:8 says that it is the ‘exercising of love which helps against our disobedience to God’s commandments. Exercising love restrains a person from: dishonoring his parents, adultery, stealing, lying, cheating, envy, jealousy, assaulting, raping, judging, gossiping, abusing, abandoning, ridiculing, or murdering another human being. Love keeps a man from disrespecting or damaging his own body in any way because he understands that it was created perfect in every way, and was meant to be used for God’s divine purpose. The Christians’ body is the house of the Holy Spirit. It is to be kept clean inside and out in honor of its occupant.’

Love and obedience go hand in hand. When asked what the most important Law of Old Testament was Christ replied“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.”All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others.” The Living Bible

Christ said that He came to fulfill the law, not to abolish it. He is love in the flesh. Everything Jesus said and did was out of love, and all ethical norms are established on the principal of his love. The first written code of conduct for God’s chosen people were established on Mt. Sinai. Four of them relate to God and six to man. In addition to the 10 commandments, Moses received a collection of more than 600 civil and ceremonial laws which were meant to help manage the daily lives of the Israelites so that their image as chosen people would not be tarnished. The New Testament says that we are to walk in the image of Christ by obeying God for this same reason. Although the civil and religious laws specific to the traditions and customs of those times may no longer apply to modern man, every law must be examined with its’ underlying moral application in mind. Those foundational principles are unchanging.

All of scripture was written through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for man’s benefit. The old law was meant to expose to the Israelites their sinful nature and to make them aware of God’s perfect nature. Their inability to keep every letter of the law made them realize that they could not save themselves, and caused them to depend on God. The strict adherence of the law is not what God is after. Salvation comes through faith in Christ, not by our ability to keep every letter of the law; yet, God says we can’t please Him without obeying Him.

We can’t sit on our salvation and expect the abundant life to unfold without our involvement. Our freedom to choose should never cause us to do as we please or lead others astray. The New Testament says that we are to imitate Christ and obey God’s commands. Scripture tells us what we are to obey. But if there is any doubt in our mind, we should remember this : If we can’t imagine Christ doing what we are tempted to do, we shouldn’t do it either.

A good thing for us to keep in mind at all times is that ‘love is an action word’.

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