The teaching that God is all about grace seems dangerous. Yes. He is a VERY gracious God. But he’s also full of love, justice, and jealousy. As he rightly should be.
Think of any relationship you’ve been in. If you love someone and they repeatedly ignore you, reject you, and mistreat you are you going to keep opening yourself up to that relationship? Will you continue to attempt to cultivate that relationship if you’re the only one making an effort? What if the other person is mistreating you, maligning your name publicly, and continually doing the opposite of what you desire? What if the person keeps apologizing with their lips but literally nothing ever changes? That would be ridiculous. So, you’re in a “relationship” (not really because relationships are multi-faceted) where you’re putting in all the effort and the other person rejects you, criticizes you to others, does the opposite of what pleases you, and repeatedly apologizes but never changes. Does this sound like relationship? Does this sound like love, honor, and service? I hope your answer is, “No.”
In scripture God shows us how to have relationship with him. He clearly lays out his expectations. That is love! That is communication!
Yes, it is only by the blood of Jesus that we are saved. But we do have a part to play in this relationship. To believe that all we have to do is accept his forgiveness and do nothing any differently is foolishness. There are high expectations to be a son or daughter of the Living God. To continue living the way we were and never becoming more like him is repulsive.
Why are we so afraid to talk about this? Why are we so afraid to present His expectations as He has? Manipulating the scriptures to say less than they really do is probably not a good idea. All throughout scripture God makes it very clear how we are to live as his people, as his children. Don’t you think we might ought to listen?
Read the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. Read Galatians and Ephesians. Deuteronomy 6-10 lay of out nicely too.
“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 and to LOVE Him, to SERVE the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul,”
Deuteronomy 10:12 NKJV
Verses 12-22 sum it nicely.
•Fear the Lord
•Walk in his all ways
•Serve the Lord with all your heart
•Serve the Lord with all your soul
•Keep his commandments
•Keep his statutes
•Circumcise the fire skin of your heart (soften and purify)
•Love the stranger (or foreigner)
•Fear the Lord
•Serve the Lord
•Hold fast to The Lord
•Take oaths on his name
HE is your praise.
HE is your God.