Friday, November 22, 2019

Orange Moon Cafe "Empowered Obligation"

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe

"Empowered Obligation"

    As a young man fairly new in the Christian life, l heard a preacher say, "The Gospel is a thing of grace.  The only 'should' or 'ought to' we must live by is that we should get rid of the 'shoulds' and the 'ought tos'! "

    Regretfully, my flesh leapt up to greet this unbiblical notion.   "Wow, praise the Lord!  No more obligation or duty!"   Thankfully, however, the Spirit of God and the Word of God arose to correct my faulty response.  I began to see how many "shoulds" and "ought tos" grace the pages of the New Testament epistles.  Indeed, the writers that proclaim salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ as the freest gift ever given nevertheless declare holy obligation as a fundamental expression of God's grace in His Son.

    "Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more" (I Thessalonians 4:1). 
    "Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" (Titus 2:12).  

    These and many other direct expressions of obligation call born again believers to embrace responsibility to God and people as a fundamental expression of living in the power of the Christ who saves us not only from our sin, but unto His quality of life, character, self sacrifice, and devotion to others.  He lives within us to motivate a determined sense of obligation that does not conflict with His freely given gift of grace, but rather confirms it:

   "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).

   If the Spirit of Christ were not present with and within us, "should" and "ought to" might not be such commonly expressed themes of the New Testament epistles. However, our Lord is present.  He is within us.  And He does promise that the grace of His freely given gift includes the power to live with obligation not as legalistic burden (the aforementioned preacher's notion), but with as the fruit of liberty in the Lord Jesus (the New Testament's clearly stated teaching).  As He said, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36).  Free for what?  To fulfill the great commands of Scripture, namely, to love God and others as a sense of empowered obligation and personal responsibility keenly sensed and embraced.  "I must be about My Father's business" declared the Lord Jesus even at the tender age of twelve years old" (Luke 2:49).  As His Spirit lives in us, we will know the same sense of duty, as empowered by the assurance of grace whereby we view obligation not as burden, but as delight…

"It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
(Philippians 2:13)
"Let us have grace, that we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear."
(Hebrews 12:28)

Weekly Memory Verse    
   For by Thee I have run through a troop.  By my God I have leaped over a wall."
(II Samuel 22:30)



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