“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve theLord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good? Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the Lord your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen. Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.” (Deuteronomy 10:12-22, ESV)
During the discussion time of our young adult gathering someone mentioned motivation for obedience. Essentially he said – “in the Old Testament people had to obey the law to be loved by God but now we don’t have to…” I guess he gets the heart of grace, that we are no longer under law and loved first. But his assumption on earning in the Old Testament is a bit off. I have to be honest, for a long time I viewed the law in the same way – as a necessity for relationship with God pre-Christ. And that is true. The teaching or law were guidelines for living but they were never for earning favor.
The truth is that Old Testament obedience and New Testament obedience are motivated by the same thing – God’s salvation and favor of a people.
The law was not instituted to achieve relationship with God but instead God established the relationship, granted favor to his people and saved them, then implemented the law to make his people holy or set apart from the cultures around them.
Yes, there were consequences for disobedience just as there are consequences for any sin. But God has never interacted differently with his people over time. It has always been favor, salvation and then obedience. Let’s not let our inclination toward earning confuse how we see God working through history.
Now in Christ, the ultimate of favor and salvation has been granted, freely. The truth is intoxicating. Obey from that place.