Monday in the Third Week of Lent


Exodus 24:1-18

Ratifying the Covenant

Although it is God who has chosen us, He demands that we respond, He demands that we affirm the covenant with Him.  Here, God descends upon Mount Sinai and speaks with Moses.  Moses then returns to the people to tell them what the Lord has said.  The response of the people is clear: “All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do.”  Indeed, they even say it twice (verses three and seven).  These words will testify against them in the near future.

Still, we must affirm the covenant.  We must say “Yes” to God’s divine “Yes” to us.  It is a yes that He draws us to say, but it must be said, nonetheless.  And in saying it, we recognize God’s choosing of us, His love for us, His deliverance of us from sin and death.  And we say with the Israelites, “All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do.”  Affirmation means obedience.

As Christians we tend to trivialize this.  We too easily let ourselves off the hook.  We say things like, “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.”  True enough.  But we cannot lower the standard over some mistaken understanding of grace.  Mistaken, I say, because Christians are often masters of dispensing “cheap grace” to themselves.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer taught us that cheap grace is grace without obedience, grace without the cross, grace without sacrifice, grace without holiness.  God does not allow us this.  His grace is costly; it cost God His only-begotten Son.  “Costly grace” is obedient, cross-bearing, sacrificial, and consecrating.  It does not allow us to take our commitment to Christ lightly.  It mourns over sin, weeps over injustice, and thirsts for righteousness (The Cost of Discipleship, ch. 1).  It strives with the Apostle Paul “[pressing] on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).  It hears the warning, “Without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).

We are not saved by our obedience, but those who are saved are obedient.  There is no divorce between faith and works, between belief and obedience.  Good works are not optional.  Obedience is not a choice.  What the Lord says, we must do.  But what He says is for our good, is our freedom, brings our salvation.  Obedience is no dirty word as it has come to be in our day.  Obedience in the Kingdom is liberty.  Obedience is the measure of our love.  So let us affirm the covenant God has made with us through the precious blood of His dear Son and say joyfully, “All the words that the Lord has spoken, we will do.”

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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