“Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.” — Isaiah 26:8
Mark Twain encountered a ruthless businessman from Boston during his travels who boasted that nobody ever got in his way once he determined to do something. The businessman said, “Before I die I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I’m gonna climb Mount Sinai. And when I’m up there I’m gonna read the Ten Commandments aloud at the top of my voice!” Unimpressed, Twain responded, “I got a better idea. Stay in Boston and keep ‘em.”
The attitude and actions of our generation reveal that the concept of obedience has become the “Cinderella” of the church today. Because we live in the age of grace, many believe that obedience to the law is a second-class pursuit…an unwanted step-child to be pushed down and ignored.
The godless direction of our society is only a reflection of the godless character of most of those who profess a new birth. The Law of God has been thrown aside and individual moral value systems are being established by the person in the pew. Everyone seems to be doing what is right in their own eyes.
In this beautiful song of Isaiah 26, Isaiah acknowledges that the way we demonstrate our trust in the Lord is by obeying His law. Obedience is the key to trust and the key to love. Jesus told his disciples, “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them” (John 14:21).
In religious circles, the quickest way to be labeled a “legalist” is to call for obedience to the Word of God. I was recently castigated by a youth minister’s wife because I confronted her husband and her for their consumption of alcohol. They would not acknowledge the Bible’s unfavorable view of drinking, or my offense as a brother, to their sinful actions. They did admit that they only did it when they were away from their community on vacation. They admitted hiding their actions from others!
They accused me of being a legalist and a Pharisee. They also informed me that if Jesus was here, He would make a whip and beat me severely. They said I represented everything that was wrong with Christianity. I must admit, I don’t think there is anything wrong with Christianity. I just think something is wrong with us when we do not line up with the Word!
Isaiah said that not only do we show our trust by obedience, but we will also possess a heart that desires to glorify God. Obedience always intensifies the heart’s desire to glorify God. Passion, as a rule, is fed by obedience. It is a cyclical thing: obedience feeds passion, passion feeds obedience.
So, I ask you, will we avoid the trap of “false grace hedonism,” that is flooding the church with ungodliness and ungodly men or will we seek to walk in obedience to the Word of God–the Law of God and see holiness of heart and character return to the church? A return to obedience by the church will begin one person at a time. You must decide. I must decide.
If we maintain the status quo, the church will die and to the grave it will go!