A few years back, my theme for the year was “No Excuses.” There are many times in life we try to justify our thoughts, words, and actions. But I know none of them hold water for me. Although there may be times there seems to be a perfectly legitimate reason I want to do something, as a Christian, if it doesn’t line up with the Bible, I have no excuse.
The other day when I was out walking the dog, I realized, “Just because God is sovereign doesn’t mean I have an excuse for not doing what I know to be right.”
Now, this isn’t going to be an exploration of God’s sovereignty. That has been discussed and debated for millennia. More so, I want to look at the appropriate course of action in light of this reality.
If I trust the God of the Bible, I must trust that He has good reason to issue the imperatives that are within the pages of the Scriptures.
As far as what Christians refer to as the Old Testament, the commands (the Ten Commandments as well as the hundreds of others) recorded there are for a clear purpose, as explained in Romans 3. Verses 20-22 read this way in the ESV: “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. ”
(I encourage you to read the entire chapter to learn more.)
But before we get the impression that Christians—or anyone else—are free to do whatever they please, it’s important to also consider the words of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, our Saviour.
In John 14:15, He says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (ESV).
The New Testaments overflows with imperatives to direct our lives . . . and the promise that the Holy Spirit will give us the motivation and ability to walk in obedience.
God Keeps It Simple
But because God knows we need things to be clear and simple, when Jesus was asked which were the greatest commandments, this was His answer: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39 ESV).
This doesn’t mean we can memorize these verses, seek to live by them, and go on our merry way. We must dig into God’s Word, seek to better understand it with each passing day, pray, get together with other believers, and so much more.
But these verses give us a springboard . . . one we will only be able to dive from if Jesus is our Saviour and we are trusting that He will give us the wherewithal to truly love.
Bottom line . . .
Though there are many things I cannot fully understand, much of what the Bible teaches is clear and leaves no room wiggle room.
If I seek to walk in obedience as if the Bible is merely a set of rules, I will fail.
If I seek to honour God and bless others by trusting Him to enable me to understand and obey, then that’s a whole different story.
And when I blow it—which I will often—I can trust His grace and His sovereignty to work it out for my good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV).