Discipleship: Trust and obey…

Obedience. Leviticus 26 is about the blessings of obedience and the penalties for disobedience to God’s commandments in his covenant (or promise) between God and his people, as delivered through Moses on Mt. Sinai. The Israelites agreed to obey God’s laws, and God promised to bless Israel if they obeyed his laws, but to punish them if they disobeyed his laws.  The old Mosaic covenant was characterized by works of obedience or righteousness, which were required of God’s people in order for God to bless them.  As the people of Israel disobeyed God, His blessings were removed.
Faith (or trust in God as Lord of our lives).  The new covenant in Christ is characterized by grace.  Christ said prior to his crucifixion and resurrection, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”  (Luke 22:20)  We are justified (made right before God), or saved, by our faith in Christ.  (Ephesians 2:8-9)  It is by faith we are saved, not by works of righteousness.  The new covenant, sealed through the life and blood of Christ, recognizes that we are sinful by nature and incapable of performing works of righteousness on our own.  “There is none righteous, no not one.”  (Romans 3:10)  We are still called upon to be holy (sanctified) and to do good works (James 2:26), but we are justified (or saved) by faith alone (Romans 4:5, John 3:16).  The Mosaic covenant was sealed by the sacrificial blood of animals.  The new covenant was sealed by the blood of God’s only son.  Under the old covenant God dwelt among his people in the tabernacle.  Under the new covenant of grace the very spirit of God dwells within us as believers.  If we disobey God, His spirit is reduced in power and effectiveness in our lives.
Faith and Obedience.  Christ embodied both the old and new covenants.  While on the cross, Jesus declared to have fulfilled his mission on earth, and the barrier between God and his people was removed.  God no longer dwelt in the tabernacle but in every believer through the Holy Spirit.  Under the Mosaic covenant, God’s Commandments convicted his chosen people to obedience. Under the new covenant the Holy Spirit convicts us unto righteousness.  Christ said that he had not come to destroy the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament, but rather to fulfill or complete them with his sacrifice on our behalf.   Christ was asked, “Which was the greatest commandment to obey?”  He answered, “To love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind… and likewise to love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Matthew 22:36-38)  As the old children’s hymn says so well, to be happy in Jesus, we must “trust and obey.”  Put our faith in Him and love God and others.  Trust and obey, for there is no better way…

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