Is following Jesus or obeying God’s commands define the Christian faith?
A growing number of Christians to think so. According to polling done by the Barna Group, the majority of people living in America confess themselves to be a Christians, believe in the Bible, and pray regularly.
Do we tend to view God hovering in the clouds who regularly wags his finger to the people below imploring to obey his commands — or else?
Do we see our faith as an eternal life insurance policy — not really trusting God until it really matters with the hope that God will see their good works and applaud their efforts in keeping the commandments.
Or, does God simply say while giving his commands, “Remember me!”
Right before God gave the Ten Commandments, notice what He says,
“And God spoke all these words: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:1-3)
God has given His people commandments and we are prompted to obey them for two reasons:
1. BECAUSE HE IS GOD
He is the almighty — the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth — the Alpha and the Omega. He is the Great I AM. There is no other God.
Consider the following illustration:
A husband and a wife come into a reception hall with a large group of people. Suddenly, she falls to the ground. She is unconscious and gasping for air. Tension immediately fills the air. Struggling to know what to do, a person runs to find a manager, another person calls out in a loud voice, “Is there a doctor in the house?” Others quickly dial 911 on their cell phones.
When a doctor appears or a paramedic arrives there is relief. Somebody is here who knows what they are doing. No longer feeling helpless, you stand by in case help is needed. A doctor or paramedic points to you and says, “Go find a pillow or blanket!” You wouldn’t think twice of trying to help. If able, you follow the commands of the person in authority, because they know what they are doing and you desire to help.
Believing God is acknowledging that He is in authority and knows what He is doing. We trust that He is the CEO of the heavens and the earth. He governs out of supreme love and with one purpose in mind — for us to be his children and inherit eternal treasures in heaven.
The Bible is not about commands to be followed, but the lengths our Heavenly Father went to rescue us from ourselves.
It reminds me of the movie “Taken.”
The story is about a retired CIA agent, Bryan Mills, who rescues his daughter from thugs who kidnapped her while she was travelling in Europe with a friend. Bryan uses his unique, well-trained skills to take out anybody who stands in his way.
One of my daughter’s friends in college told us that after her family saw the movie, she turned to her father and asked, “Daddy, if I were taken in some foreign country, would you come and rescue me?”
Most fathers would like to own the skills of Bryan Mills and take out dozens of gun-yielding mafia thugs to rescue their daughter from a life of sexual slavery. At the very least, they would die trying.
A father wouldn’t think twice of risking their life to save their little girl.
This leads to the second reason why we are prompted to obey God’s commands;
1. Because God has delivered us
God, our Heavenly Father, did not just risk his life to come and rescue us, but died in our place. The same God who found us, clutched us with both hands, defeated death, and rescued us from sin. And now he simply asks us:
Trust Him. Follow His commands believing that he knows best. And no matter what happens in our life, we have an almighty God who loves, provides, and protects us. He has skills far greater than Bryan Mills. And out of great love displayed to us, we love and obey in return.
Redeemed souls rescued by the hands of grace and mercy of a loving father are caught up in a foreign land and are fighting unseen enemies.
We don’t follow God’s commands to be rescued, but we follow God’s commands because we are rescued.
And, we take heart in knowing that though we have been drafted to be in this battle, the victory has already been won.
Faith acknowledges that we have a commanding officer who;
- always reminds us what he has already done for us, and
- leads and guides us because He is in authority and knows what best.
Like any good soldier serving overseas, we long for home.