“And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” Deuteronomy 10:12-13
What does God require of you and me – what does He expect of us? God tells us: He requires us “to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?”
And note that to do this is for our own good! There is indeed blessing in obeying God’s commandments, summarized in the 10 Commandments given to Moses on Mt. Sinai and, prior to that, written upon man’s heart.
What’s the problem? We can’t! We are, by nature since the fall of Adam and Eve, stiff-necked, stubborn and rebellious – we go our own way and do our own thing rather than respecting God, loving Him and serving Him with all our heart, soul and mind. None of us loves the LORD God with all our heart, soul and mind; nor do we love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:37-39). Even though God has been good to us and chosen us to be His own, we don’t measure up, we come short, we sin, we are guilty before God and deserving of His wrath and punishment. Instead of being blessed by God’s law, our sin brings its curse and God’s just anger upon us (cf. Gal. 3:10).
What’s the answer? Since we’ve all come short and cannot measure up under God’s good law, the answer and solution were provided by God Himself. He sent His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into this world to fulfill God’s commandments for us; and Jesus Christ went to the cross to suffer the just punishment for our sins and the sins of all as our sinless sacrifice and then rose again from the dead that we might place our faith in Him and be counted just and righteous and forgiven in God’s sight (cf. Gal. 3:13; 4:4-5; Rom. 3:19-26; 4:23-25).
This is why we read in Psalm 34:18: “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” When we acknowledge and confess our sins unto Lord and look to Jesus and His cross for pardon and forgiveness, God deals with us in His grace and mercy and forgives us all our sins for the sake of Jesus and His atoning sacrifice upon the cross (1 John 1:7 – 2:2; Psalm 32:1-6).
As believers, then, in Christ, we do, as a fruit of our faith, seek to fear and honor God by loving Him with all our heart and soul and by obeying all His commandments, but we recognize that we cannot be justified and righteous before God by our own flawed obedience. Rather, we trust in Christ’s perfect obedience and His innocent sufferings and death in our stead for our righteous standing before God because only in Christ can we sinners be pardoned, forgiven and given the eternal blessings of heaven.
O gracious and merciful God, we know that Your commandments are good and right, but we are sinners and cannot measure up. We deserve Your wrath and punishment. Graciously bring us to know and trust in Christ Jesus, your Son and our Savior, for forgiveness and preserve us in that faith unto life everlasting. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible]