“Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the rules that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.”
Luke 1.6; Ephesians 6.1-3; James 1.22-25
“This” refers to “all the way that the LORD your God commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess” (Deut. 5.33), as well as everything which is to follow. Notice again how Law and promise are intertwined. These must not be separated. If we desire to know God’s promises (live in the land) we must hold fast to what He has revealed (all that He has commanded).
If we do what God commands – He Who has redeemed us by grace through faith – we will realize what God has promised. This is how we demonstrate love and fear of God, and this is how we enjoy the benefits of full and abundant life. Obedience keeps us on the path of promise – here typified by the “land flowing with milk and honey” – and leads to ever higher stages of promise realization.
All these statutes associated with the first commandment thus emphasize the role of grace, faith, and obedience within the covenant of the Lord. There is no separation of promise and law, grace and obedience, faith and love. These all define the way of covenant faithfulness and full and abundant life in the redemptive grace of God.
This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to www.MyParuchia.com and click on our Book Store.