Regulated Ritual or Loving Obedience?

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (Ephesians 4:1).

Introduction
It is impossible to live righteously if we do not live by the righteous principles laid for us in the Word of God. The Scriptures reveal to us the way the Lord expects His children to live in this fallen world. Since He knows what is the very best for us, then would it not be wise to abide by His expert advice?

Why are we Christians?
Amazingly, some cannot really answer this question, or they may offer vague reason why they turned to Christ. The person who is unsure of why they became a believer is unlikely to be committed enough to walk worthy. Those who became Christians to escape the fire of Hell may not have the motivation to live holy and sanctified lives. The one who is living worldly has this question to answer, “Why do you claim to be a Christian if you do not obey and follow Jesus Christ?”

It is easy to see why we must understand what the Bible says about living the Christian life, that is, what salvation is truly about. If we misunderstand what Christianity is we will never see the need for walking worthy.

Doctrine and Duty
Doctrine and duty cannot be divorced. Dr. Vincent Taylor wrote, “Beyond doubt the New Testament teaches the absolute necessity of ethical and spiritual perfection.” Duty (obedience) is always the result of believing what God commands. 

Doesn’t this mean that our lives are regulated by rules instead of loving obedience to God? There are those who demand certain dress code, behaviour and thinking without any Scriptural foundation. Such societies are cultic and destructive. The Scriptures do not teach that ours lives ought to be ordered by traditions, dogmas, or dictatorial commands from the leadership. Instead we should be motivated to walk worthy by reading, studying, and the preaching of God’s Word.

Walk worthy of the Lord
In Colossians 1:9 Paul writes, “That ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” Why? So that we “might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (:10.) So we see that it is impossible to be right without living according to right principles. 

Those who ignore God’s Word will never walk worthy of Christ, instead they will slip deeper into sin … “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psalm 119:11.) Scriptural knowledge, wisdom, and understanding are the paving stones on the pathway of a worthy walk. Writing to Timothy, Paul shows that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17.) Therefore, knowing the Bible actually equips us for holy living.

Conclusion
The great majority of believers either live according to emotionalism or legalism. These two extremes result from little or no understanding of Biblical truth. The emotionalist determines how he should live by his feelings on any given day. The legalist sticks to his well-worn rut of unthinking obedience to tradition, custom, and rules of the organisation.

We who “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7) “walk after His commandments” (2 John :6) because we love God. God never wanted blind obedience to His commandments for the reasons stated above, rather His desire is “Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5.)

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