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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
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Thursday, July 21, 2005
Why do we obey God?
This is in answer to a question asked elsewhere: Are are deeds like filthy rags or what?

Isaiah 64:6 tells us not that our "deeds" but rather our "righteousnesses" or if you prefer to keep the deed thing - our "righteous deeds" are as filthy rags in the eyes of God.

When we think that through, God is saying that the best of our best is still not righteous enough. He isn't saying our every day swill is like a dirty rag - rather he is saying the very best any of us has to offer by way of obedience is to him an "unclean" thing.

How then can we please God? Our knee jerk reaction is to "obey the law" - certainly we know that when we obeyed our own parents there was praise and not punishment - but Jesus tells the parable of the servant who works all day, comes in after his day of work, but still has to wait on his master until his master is fed and satisfied - then the servant is allowed to look after his own needs. Christ taught that this same servant was not worthy of praise, but was doing exactly what was expected of him.

Likewise, if we are perfect in our obedience we will have only done what is expected of us - and we will not have done anything worthy of praise.

How then, I ask again, do we please the Lord?

Scripture tells us that we are accepted by God in the Beloved (that is, those who are in Christ are pleasing to God because they are in Christ - and not because of their own efforts.)
There are ways for us to be "not" pleasing to God - certainly without faith it is impossible to believe God, we have to believe that God is whom He says He is, and we have to believe that God gives of Himself to those who seek Him diligently.

We cannot fellowship with God however, if we are fellowshipping with sin, and there is no relationship with God outside of holiness. So in order to have fellowship with God we walk in the light as He is in the light (God certainly isn't going to walk in darkness just so that we can fellowship with Him!).

So Christian's are obedient because they love God and want to fellowship with God. Knowing that God cannot fellowship with those who practice and embrace their sin - Christians begin a life of repenting, and in so doing God sanctifies them - just as we might cleanse a dish before we eat off of it, so too God sanctifies us through continued repentance so that eventually He can fellowship with us. The purpose of our obedience is not propitiatory - that is, we do not appease God by obeying Him, the purpose of our obedience is a desire to fellowship with God. The bible calls that desire "love" - and as many as truly love God, the same obey God. Not out of compulsion to fear God - but out of a desire to truly know and fellowship with God.
fear might make a man obey in the flesh - but love can make a man want to obey - that is, to worship God not just with his hands, but in spirit and in truth - such is God seeking to worship him.

So yes, our righteousness is as filthy rags indeed, but praise the Lord, our righteousness has nothing to do with pleasing God, we please God by our faith. When we understand this, we begin to turn from our works as a means of pleasing God, and start to receive freely what we were trying to earn beforehand.
posted by Daniel @ 10:03 AM  
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