Protection through Obedience
John 14:15 ” If ye love me, keep my commandments .”
Galatians 6:7 ” Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap .”
God’s laws and commandments have many purposes in our lives. According to Romans 3:20, God’s laws expose sin. In Galatians 3:24, we see that God’s laws both reveal the sin in our lives and bring us to Christ – for no one comes to Christ before they understand that they are a sinner in need of a Saviour. I Timothy 1:9 tells us that the law is not for the righteous, but for the unrighteous, again to expose their sin. And lastly, we see in Romans 7:14 that the law is holy and that by living according to it, we in turn can live holy lives.
But what else? Is there another purpose for God’s law? Yes. God’s law is designed to protect those He loves. Because God loves us, He sent His Son to die on the Cross for our sins that we might have eternal life (John 3:16). But because God loves us, He also gave us His commandments that by following them we may live holy, happy, and healthy lives. God set up this world such that there are consequences for our actions. Galatians 6:7 reminds us, ” Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap .” God is a just God, and when we sin we can expect consequences of that sin. In the same way, when we live obediently, we can expect reciprocal blessings. ” For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting ” (Galatians 6:8). God’s laws are set up so that by obeying them, we will find ourselves on the path to receive blessings and to rest under His hand of protection. For example, God designed the Sabbath so that His people may have a day to spend with Him and to rest from their work. God designed marriage to protect His people from pain, disease and to protect children from life without two parents. Each of God’s commands has a purpose of protection for His children.
Think about Noah for a minute (Genesis 20). Noah was a holy and righteous man whom God loved. God commanded Noah to do a crazy thing in the eyes of Noah and his contemporaries. He commanded him to build a boat before Noah had ever seen rain and then God commanded Noah to get into the boat (with a boatload of animals!) before it even began to rain. But because of His obedience, Noah and his family were spared death in the flood.
And what about Jonah? Here we have a perfect example of disobedience, repentance, and obedience (Jonah 1). The Lord commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh to speak to the people about the wickedness of that city, but Jonah was afraid of this task, so he boarded a ship for Tarshish. I think we all know what happened to Jonah. The ship bound for Tarshish was caught in a terrible storm and the others aboard knew that Jonah was fleeing from the Lord, so in an effort to calm the storm they threw Jonah overboard. Next thing Jonah knows, he’s in the belly of a great fish for three days and three nights. But in that fish, Jonah realized that he couldn’t flee the presence of the Lord. He repented of his disobedience and the fish spit him up onto dry land. The Lord gave him another chance and again commanded him to go to Nineveh. Jonah had learned his lesson and this time, he swallowed his fear and went to Nineveh. And what happened? The people heard him and repented and Nineveh was spared the punishment it deserved. Jonah’s obedience spared him death in the belly of a fish and destruction for the city of Nineveh.
God’s commandments both display His great love for His people and give His people an opportunity to display their love for Him. While faith in Jesus Christ leads to salvation, obedience to God’s commandments makes a day-to-day relationship possible between God and man. If we’re living sinful lives, the lines of communication with God are broken (Psalm 66:18). In the same way, if we confess our sins those sins are forgiven and the lines of communication are re-opened (I John 1:9). The ultimate purpose of God’s laws in our lives is that we might show Him just how much we love Him. He makes it clear that changes in our lives display the changes that take place in our hearts when we come to know Him (I John 2:5). God also makes it clear than following our conversion and acceptance of Christ as Saviour, we are to love Him and His ways and not the ways of the world (I John 2:15). As we’ve seen, there’s a dual purpose here – (1) our protection and (2) a display of love for God. In John 14:15, Jesus reminds us, ” If ye love me, keep my commandments .” For once you know Jesus Christ and experience the blessings of living a life holy and separated unto Him ( I Peter 1:15-16), you will experience new life in Christ and you will only see the blessings of obedience (I John 5:3). ” Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165). My friends, live lives of obedience and watch the peace and blessings flow!