Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Agreeable Obedience (Psalm 112)

"Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who delights greatly in His commandments" (Ps. 112:1).

A deadly disease is sweeping through our churches, one that steals away the joy of Christianity, the purity of living for the Lord, and the security that comes from dwelling on His precepts. That disease is the belief that once a person says that he believes in God it does not matter whether he keeps the law. He can have Jesus Christ as Savior but not Lord of His life and Master of his soul. It does not matter that he continues in his sin for God’s grace will abound. But Paul clearly tells us in Romans 6 that we are not at liberty to go on sinning so that grace may abound, for we have died to sin. How then can we live in it any longer? Paul exhorts God’s people to put to death the misdeeds of the flesh and, by God’s grace, to be obedient to Christ.

Does this mean that Christians will not sin? Of course they will continue the struggle against sin all their lives. This struggle against the flesh caused Paul to cry out, “What a wretched man I am. Who will save me from this body of death?” Yet despite this struggle, God expects the Christian to obey His commands. He commands us to be holy as He is holy. How do we know what it means to be holy except for the decrees and statutes laid out in His Word? When the Christian is regenerated by the Holy Spirit, he is given the ability to obey God’s commands. Not only is he given the ability, but he is given the desire—a desire that causes him to delight in God’s commandments. While the struggle to obey is very difficult, and at times the flesh rises up in rebellion, the heart of the believer, at the core, is inclined toward God. When rebellion occurs, it should grieve the believer’s heart.

It is because of this change in the nature of the believer, wrought by the Holy Spirit, that the psalmist can write in Psalm 112, “Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who delights greatly in His commandments.” Only the regenerate have a proper reverence and fear of God. Only the regenerate can delight in His ways and His precepts. The obedience of the believer is not servile but delightful. The man who delights in God’s commands will reap the blessings of eternal life, security in the Lord, and happiness beyond his imagination.

Read James 1:14–26. What does this passage say about a person who does not obey God’s commands? What does he mean by “the perfect law of liberty”? How does this passage parallel Psalm 112? How does James describe pure and undefiled religion? Do you delight in God’s law? Do you strive to lay aside all filthiness?