Monday, August 20, 2012

Exodus 19:1-6 Obedience and Faithfulness

In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai. 2 For they had departed from Rephidim, had come to the Wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. So Israel camped there before the mountain. 3 And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5‘Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

Notice that God again commands Israel's obedience, just as He did when the Israelites first came out of Egypt (). And so God's choosing Israel for Himself, is not just a choosing by which He chooses to redeem Israel from their slavery in Egypt and then require nothing more of them. For God requires of them, as He says both their obedience and faithfulness. That is what is implicitly stated when He says: 5‘Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

The same then is true of salvation for us now. For it is God alone, through the Lord Jesus Christ, who by His grace, now rescues us from our own spiritual deadness and bondage to sin when we believe in Jesus His Son as testified to in the Gospel, calling upon His Name. And so as then, He also requires more than just our confession of the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel. He requires our ongoing obedience towards Himself through it. For that is what discipleship essentially is, believing in then submitting oneself to the Lord Jesus Christ through His Gospel. For though salvation is only received as a gift of God's love by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ's Person. We must having received God's reconciliation In Christ and His Gospel, also strive to be faithful to Him through it. Now in this there will be things in the New Covenant that we see paralleled in the Old Covenant, and then there will be things that we don't see in the Old Covenant that are unique to the New. Jesus spoke of this when He said in Matthew 13:52 “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

The reason I mention this now is so that you don't get confused about all of the Sabbath requirements and food restrictions that are unique to the Old Covenant in your desire to obey God. For our having been liberated from sin, and redeemed from eternal death, are to serve the Lord Jesus Christ not by the letter of the Law, but rather by the Spirit of God (please read and understand 2 Cor 3:5-6, 9, 18; Gal 5:1, 4, 5 etc.). Which means that we are bound to Jesus Christ and His Lordship through the New Covenant, and not the Old. Thus the Holy Spirit and His fruits (see Gal 5:22-23) then are to be our guide when we face those ambiguous areas of life the Scriptures are silent on. For the glorious liberty of the children of God extends to all areas of life, so that life in all its fullness can be lived and enjoyed by us all in Christ, As Jesus said: "I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:10

Therefore let no one steal your God given liberty In Christ by trying to define for you what is acceptable, or not acceptable for you, when these things are clearly neither immoral nor unethical by Biblical standards. For the Lord Jesus Christ having purchased your liberty for you by His own blood, should you then become enslaved to the doctrines and commandments of men? Therefore don't submit yourself to any such things. For they will add nothing to your new life in Christ. But they will undermine God's grace and commandments In Christ by seeking to establish their own (consider Matt 15:1-9; Rom 10:3-4).  And thus they will only lead you into all kinds of spiritual bondage and oppression by their misapplying and misusing God's Word to justify and impose their own "ideals" on those who sadly heed them. Which again cannot equal nor add anything to the righteousness of faith we have in Jesus, and will only bring spiritual bondage and troubles into your heart and life if you heed them (Consider Matt 16:5-12; Gal 4:9-11, 17; Col 2:20-23 etc.).
Therefore shun all man-made and self imposed "religious" ordinances and ideals which neither liberate the sinful flesh, nor honor God when one holds to them. As if we are required to serve and obey Jesus through them. Instead hold fast to the Lord Jesus Christ crucified for our sins remission, and risen from the dead so that new and everlasting life might given to everyone who believes in Him (Acts 10:34). For Jesus Christ alone is the Head of the church, and He alone is the Lord, Master and Teacher of everyone who trusts in and obeys Him as such. Therefore neither heed, nor keep the commandments of men which only undermine the grace and the righteousness of God (consider Rom 10:3-4).
Now with that said the other end of the spectrum are those who turn the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ into licentiousness by which all of God's Scriptural decrees on human morality are cast aside for the prevailing "morality" of the day. And in so doing they seek to justify clearly immoral behavior under the guise, of being "liberated" and or living by "grace". Which is neither grace nor liberty for God's grace given to us by faith in Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead first atones for then liberates the believer from their sins. It does not justify sin, it calls people to repentance from it. For nowhere in the Scriptures does God say that He will justify the wicked. He will justify the repentant, that is when anyone turns from their sins to Christ. God will justify them no matter what they have done by their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But He will not justify the unbelieving and those who continue to live wicked lives that only testify to their own unbelief. For who could have imagined a generation ago that homosexuality, a clear sin throughout the Scriptures (Lev 18:22; 1 Cor 6:9-11; Rev 22:15 etc.) would now be justified, not just in the world, but by people professing Christian faith! Nonetheless the gospel is the Power of God to salvation for all who believe in Jesus Christ Crucified, Risen, Ascended and now seated at the right hand of the Throne of God (Rom 1:16) waiting till all His enemies are made His footstool, for all who do so will not only have remission of all their sins they will have everlasting life.

Scripture Quotations
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982


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