Obedience from Love

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Reading the Word

Psalm 119:1–3 (ESV)

1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD!
2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
3 who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the entire Bible. It spends 176 verses telling of the goodness of God’s law and the blessings of keeping that law. The believer finds great benefit in living in obedience to God’s word. However, we must understand the type of obedience that this psalm, and the whole Bible, commends.

There are two ways to keep the word of God. The first is out of legalistic adherence. This is the person who obeys in order to earn blessing. Scripture makes it clear that no one will be saved through the keeping of the law because no one can keep it completely. In this case, the law is not a blessing, but a curse. The second way is obedience out of love. This is the person who understands the grace and mercy that has been shown to them by God and who loves the Lord and wants to obey, not to gain blessing, but as an act of love and devotion. Notice how Psalm 119 speaks of the obedient one who seeks the Lord “with their whole heart.” This is not legalistic obedience, but obedience from love. Our God has shown great love toward us and is worthy of our loving obedience.

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