Thursday, October 25, 2018
1 John 4:12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
I DON'T HAVE TO!
"I don't have to," often means, "I won't." But it can also mean, "I'm not doing this because of some outward pressure, but because I want to." Children can behave to try to earn their parents' love or to avoid punishment, or their obedience can be a glad response to parental love.
The commandments of God demand obedience under threat of punishment, punishment we each know we already deserve. You see, the Law can tell us to "do this" and "not do that," but it can't give us the power to do the right and avoid the wrong.
The gospel, the message of God's love in Christ, is entirely different. It tells us how Jesus took the punishment we deserved in order to bring us back into God's own family. Through faith in Jesus, we have God as our loving Father, and that changes everything-- especially our attitude toward His commandments. Now it's not "must" but "trust." Not "have to" but "want to." Christians live by the commandments of God not to earn His love, but out of gratitude that Christ's cross leaves no doubt of that love for us. The very spring of our actions is the love of Christ.