"If you love me, keep my commands" (John 14)
"For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother" (Matthew 12:50)
As a Christian, I don't feel that I can earn God's love through my effort, but I do believe that after having been purchased by His blood, that I am called to live a holy life. "He has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus..." (2 Timothy 1:9) This year, I've read a lot about the grace that saves - but now I'm eager to step forward and see how that same grace equips one to live a holy life devoted to loving God and loving others.
So I found myself in the book of Exodus. What is the Law that Jesus refers to over and over again (Matthew 5)? What was God's purpose in giving that Law? What was the goal of that Law? Am I called to live a holy life according to that Law? We hear about the 10 Commandments in church, but what is my relationship to them? Am I free from them? Am I bound to them? Am I called to look into them in order to see myself more clearly? (Romans 7) What was written on the stone tablets that Moses carried down from the mountain? What did Jesus mean when he said "keep my commands?" What did Jesus command? How am I falling short? Where am I obviously making no effort to keep this law? How can I grow more godly? What would it look like to be more "godly"?
After reading the latter portion of Exodus, I had to go back and read it again. I charted out - where did Moses go, what happened, why did he go up the Mountain more than once? What did it mean that he built an altar and wrote God's words down and sprinkled blood? I highlighted the events, tried to understand. The next day, I read some commentaries. I just kept thinking the word in my head. Mediator. Mediator. What would the people have done without Moses? In light of the awesome, unapproachable glory of God, there was Moses. What a blessed mediator he was for them! He delivered the words of God (the first part of the Bible) to them. He prayed for them. He spoke with God on their behalf. He taught them God's words. I'm so thankful that God has shown Himself to be such a mediator to me - graciously giving me His word, helping me to understand it, and interceding on my behalf. Surely without His mercy, I would close up the Bible and say as the people did: "You [Moses] speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die."
Since reading Exodus, I've found myself in 2 Peter and 1 Peter and now eager to begin a study reading through the Gospels from this perspective: "What did the Lord Jesus command?" May God give me understanding on this new leg of the journey from grace to grace. May He open my eyes to see Him and to see myself more clearly. May He teach me more of repentance, growth, self-control, obedience, knowledge, and what it means to walk with God. It's only by His Spirit that I will understand, only by His Spirit that I will be able to trust and obey. Only by His Spirit that I will "be holy because God is holy."
"Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Galatians 5:25