A Treasured Possession (Part 2)

We have done nothing to impress God that He would choose us. But because He has chosen to pour out His grace on us, we are called to obey, but also obey in joy.

Our main theme has been this: (Read the last article in this series here.)

Because of what God has done, we are to respond in joyful obedience as we receive and use His blessings for His glory, for our good, and for the good of those around us.

Last time, we saw that God has saved us from utter destruction. But how are we to respond?

‌God calls to respond in obedience

“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine” (Exodus 19:5).

‌This is not a two-sided bargain, but a statement of reality: if there is obedience then they show themselves to be His treasured possession.

‌Jesus says the same thing:​

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

‌‌If we have a heart that is changed by God, it is a new natural response to love, obey, and keep His covenant. This isn’t working to attain something. God has saved them by His own strength for His glory. They didn’t earn His favor. 

‌From the saving act comes a heart of gratitude and love. And from that love comes obedience. And obedience, being a display of love, shows whose you are, God’s treasured possession.

‌One might object here and say that it doesn’t read that way. Two points of note: the if-then statements in this kind of covenantal language are not the cause and effect of common English language, and if it were, then God would have abandoned Israel and the church a long time ago.

‌Alec Motyer says it this way:

“God’s law is not a ‘ladder of merit’ by which we try to climb, by grim obedience, into His ‘good books;’ it is a way of life revealed to those who are already by redemption in His good books. He brings us to Himself and then requires us to live so as to please him.”

Chosen by God

‌Both God’s faithfulness and a proper historical understanding of the Biblical covenant lead us to the conclusion that God has set His affection on an undeserving people and called us to love Him in obedience.

‌The same is true of us. We have done nothing to impress God that He would choose us. But because He has chosen to pour out His grace on us, we are called to obey, but also obey in joy.

‌When we rightly grasp our position before God, we will be able to obey from joy more fully. And the many blessings that God gives us is even motivation, when viewed properly for obedience. 

‌Obey what? 

‌Several kinds of law are following this section of scripture: moral, civil, religious. The civil and religious law set the people of Israel apart from the rest of the world in physically noticeable ways. 

A people set apart

‌The moral law of God sets God’s people apart at the very core of their being. The 10 commandments in the next chapter is the moral law of God. Jesus called us to obey this and even went further.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment” (Matthew 5:21).

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27–28).

‌For the people of God, the law is life and joy:​

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2).

“Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97).

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)

‌The laws of God restore the created order and protect from destruction of sin. It’s a fence that contains all the gifts one could ever need, but we are too often peeking through the cracks wishing to be outside the fence, or we try to hop the fence from time to time. God’s law brings joy. 

‌Our calling is to obey the word of the Lord and seek after Him in all that we do. And responding to His work of salvation in obedience will always lead to blessing, which we will look at next time.

James Hammack is a regular contributor to The Rope. He also is digital services manager for The Alabama Baptist/TAB Media. He also serves as worship pastor at Sovereign Grace Church, Prattville. He and his wife, Alicia, have three children.


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