The Right Order
by Pr. Dave Mann
The LORD has declared this day that you are his treasured possession as he promised…you will be a people holy to the LORD, as he promised (Deuteronomy 26:18-19).
The call to obey the Law of the Lord is rooted in a relationship with the Lord. In five different places in the Old Testament, the Lord inspires the writers to remind his people that they are his treasured possession -- Exodus 19:5 (just before the giving of the Ten Commandments), in Deuteronomy three times (7:6; 14:2, 26:18) and in the last book of the Old Testament Malachi 3:17.
In the New Testament, we receive the same message though in different words:
1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light
Titus 2:14 – to purify for Himself a people for his own possession, zealous for good deeds
Notice that in the New Testament, the proclamation of the intimate relationship with the Lord comes as a means of empowerment which leads to obedience to the Lord’s commands. It is NOT a call to obedience which as a pre-requisite to be in relationship with God. The relationship, the adoption, the connection comes first as the way to obedience.
Paul’s letter to the Romans also bears this message. Romans 2:5 and 16:26 both reference this truth: the kindness of God leads you to repentance.
Jesus also makes the order abundantly clear: If you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15).
Aren’t you glad that you don’t need to prove yourself worthy of a relationship with the Lord? Rather, it is God’s love living in you that gives you the power and the desire to live a life of obedience.
Lord Jesus, you know that the human spirit may be willing but the flesh is weak. Thank you for the power of your Spirit living in us that gives us the desire to live in a close relationship with you and to obey your commands which are given for our own benefit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
SPOKEN PRAYER: Out loud, pray for God to speak to you through your reading. Praise God for giving us His word. Ask the Spirit to help you read with faith, and to live out what you hear from God through the passage.