Obeying God’s commandments
Published 3:06 pm Thursday, December 30, 2021
BY TONY HOSS
As we read the book of Ecclesiastes the Solomon imagines the vanity of life. After a period of pondering life with all its difficulties, the preacher of the book of Ecclesiastes comes to an astounding and yet proper conclusion. Solomon said, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
Solomon helps us to understand the purpose of life. Just as an architect has a conclusion in his mind when he begins to design a building, so it is with God. In the mind of God, humanity has a purpose in life. Solomon concludes that our duty, our purpose, is to obey God. The question is will we live in obedience with humility or with an arrogant prideful attitude.
We need to remember that sin takes a toll on our thinking that is manifested in our actions in life. For many people, the sin in their lives is a result of ignorance. But God, having a goal in mind, has not left us without hope. God’s goal is that all men be saved, therefore He desires that we obey Him. In His love and mercy, He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. In short, He has given us complete and understandable commandments to follow His Word. That obedience is designed for our benefit in saving us from eternal condemnation and for the glory of God. Solomon’s conclusion was that all men should obey God, the question that we need to answer is whether we will live in obedience to God. This is the greatest struggle that we face as God’s people; will it be our own will or God’s will that we submit to? We must obey God’s commandments. If we love God, we will obey (1 John 5:2-3, John 14:15). If we are honest with ourselves, a failure to obey is simply a lack of love for God in our life.
Sadly, there are those who use the Word of God for self-serving and self-elevation. Sometimes, however, there are those who use God’s commandments to elevate self. The Pharisees of the New Testament had this problem. Rather than looking at God’s commandments to improve their relationship with God, they chose to use it to elevate themselves over their fellow man. Their idea of obedience was deceptive in nature because it was an obedience filled with pride. The root of this problem is the same dilemma that men who refuse to obey today have. In essence they love themselves more than they love God. Paul gives a great example as he describes the mind of Christ. He said, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8). In the life of Christ, we see one who was willing to totally empty Himself and become obedient to the Father. (See also Hebrews 5:8-9).
If we are to fulfill our duty as man, we must love God enough to study His word, learn His commands, and obey them, and be free of self. May we all find the courage and the strength to yield to our loving and merciful God.
(Tony Hoss is minister at the Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton)