Doing Our Duty
Walking Humbly With Our God
This week’s catechism lesson is a bit of a transition from what has taken up our time in previous recitations of the WSC. Having heard much about how we are saved the writers of the catechism are now giving witness to saved Christians about what is expected of them in their holy state. In some ways everything that follows is about the process of sanctification and the way in which Believers are to act in light of what the Lord Jesus has done for them in not only sanctifying them by His blood, but in justification and adoption as well. The big question is how are we being made ready to attain the glorification which awaits God’s covenant children at the last judgment. It needs repeated that this “duty” that we will discuss is not a co-operative work to accomplish our finished redemption. On the contrary this is the use of the completed work of Christ in our lives as we are conformed by the Spirit to be more and more like Him. As we walk through these opening questions one of the things we will need to consider is how then should we act as receivers of the free grace and gift granted by our Heavenly Father and the application of it by the Holy Spirit in the renewing of our soul and body into new creatures in Christ?
Does the faith we possess, or claim to have, bear the fruit it should?
Well, there is one way to find out.
When we hear the word “obedience” does it fill us with terror or love? Before we get too far into answering that let’s look at the Q/A:
Q. 39. What is the duty which God requires of man?
A. The duty which God requires of man, is obedience to his revealed will.
Q. 40. What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?
A. The rule which God at first revealed to man for his obedience, was the moral law.
One of our favorite Bible verses that is quoted all the time comes from Micah 6:8:
There the prophet says, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
So what He wants from His people is to recognize that because God is good, they are to do good: which is, to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly. Each of those describe in summary what the catechism says above. Everything that the Lord says or does is right. So if God says, “Don’t Steal” then you don’t steal. Like most things in the Bible this ain’t rocket science. God in His grace has made it so that we don’t need to think too much about a lot of this stuff. As we will see in the next several weeks the Lord has provided for His covenant people (and everyone in the world, remember what Paul says about the Gentiles in Romans 2?) Ten Commands. Not 613 or however you want to count all the laws in the Torah. Just Ten. It is possible of course for us to get lost in the nuance of what constitutes a violation and what equals obedience, but it should not be that hard. Most of the time our misunderstanding is on purpose. We act like it is confusing because we don’t want to follow what God has said. That’s basically what Eve and Adam tried to pull off in the garden and we all know how that turned out. It’s a lot simpler just to do what the Lord has revealed in the Scriptures, which brings us back to Micah 6:8 for a second. To do justly means to work justice in life, that is honor to whom honor is due and to follow the rubric of lex talionis, that is what you’ve probably heard as “an eye for an eye”. Some take that too literally. All it is referencing is that the punishment needs to fit the crime. You don’t provide capital punishment for a traffic violation. You also don’t reward an A on a report card with a Maserati. Justice is like for like. If God has give unto you salvation than what do owe the Lord, but to seek Him and love that which is just?
How does that fit in with obedience to the Lord? Well think about the last clause in that verse. What is our relationship to God? He is the Creator and we are the creatures. To walk humbly with your God means to recognize that the Lord’s wisdom and ways are wiser than anything we could come up with so it behooves us to heed what He says. The language of “walking with” implies that this is for our benefit. Most of you probably had a dad or someone teach you how to ride a bike. I’m sure that most of those guys didn’t just point at the bike and say “ride it” like John Wayne taught the little kid to swim in Hondo. They held you on the seat, steadied you, and gently instructed on how to stay balanced on two-wheels. There was a mutual blessing in that, and so to is it the case when it comes to our obedience to the revealed will of God. He has granted unto man a testimony on how we should live. It is for our benefit that the Lord has ordered things in the way that He has. When we decide we know better what always happens? Just like when you try and ride that bike without help for the first time you fall and skin your knee. Wouldn’t it just be better to listen to the word of Jehovah than try and just do stuff in the way we would rather do it? But that’s the problem with sin isn’t it? The old man gets a hold of our ear and tries to convince us that we already know how to ride the bike and don’t need God’s help to do it…and then we fall down and bust our face.
That’s where humility comes in. Recognizing and admitting that we do not have the answers or the knowledge as to how best to do things takes meekness. It also means swallowing our arrogant pride and saying, “Yes, Jesus, my king and my God, teach me the ways of righteousness so that I may flourish in your kingdom.”
This is why we obey the law.
Because we love our Christ and see His glory in His word, and in His ways.
Here is extra reading for today:
Blessings in Christ,
Rev. Benjamin Glaser
Pastor, Bethany ARP Church