PROVERBS 7:2-3: “Obey my commands and live! Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes. Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.” NLT
OBSERVATION: What is the pathway of life? Is there a difference between the pathway of life and the source of life? What role does grace have in the relationship between salvation and obedience? A clear understanding of these questions is needed!
There is a clear difference between the source of life and the pathway of life. When we misunderstand these two principles we will either miss the door of salvation all together or we will never reach our full potential in Jesus Christ. The commandments of God were never meant to be the source of life. The source of life is found only by grace through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!
- “Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” Romans 3:19-20 NLT
If we approach God’s commands as the source of life we will be continually frustrated. The law was given as an expression of God’s holiness, which is life. However, when we try to achieve a right standing with God by keeping these commands we fail. His commands, His holiness, only reveals how sinful we really are! Paul wrestled with this as he wrote his epistle to the Romans.
- “…So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good. But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes.” Romans 7:10-13 NLT
So, how do we justify these statements of Paul with the exhortation of Proverbs? Paul acknowledges that the Law, God’s commands, are holy, just, and true. However, the law is not what is the concern. The concern is our sin. If we use God’s commands as the source of life we find ourselves under the condemnation of sin. We must be delivered from this condemnation by something more powerful than our sin. We must be delivered by grace through faith in Jesus Christ!
- “But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” Romans 3:21-24 NLT
So, if God’s commands are not the source of life, what are they? They are the pathway of life! The pathway is the walk of faith for those who have been redeemed through faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ. They do not obey these commands to be accepted by God. They obey these commands because of their deep love for what He has done for them through our Lord Jesus Christ! They begin to live by the power of grace through the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus!
- “Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” Romans 6:12-14 NLT
God’s commands no longer produce in us the knowledge of sin because we have been crucified with Christ and we are risen with Him to a new way of living through the Spirit. What once brought death now brings light and life. It is not because of our effort, it is because of the freedom we have been given by God’s grace. What we could not do before Christ we find ourselves doing in the freedom and power of the Holy Spirit. As we walk in His love we are empowered to walk in His light and life. The commandment that proved to be death before we were saved becomes the pathway of life and fulfillment through God’s grace!
This is the difference between God’s commandments being the source of life and the pathway of life. God’s commands, apart from God’s grace, always lead to guilt and condemnation. The commandment reveals our sinful nature. This knowledge of sin brings us to Christ as we recognize our need for a Savior. When we are saved by grace through faith the commandment that once worked death becomes the very pathway of life as we walk no longer in our own strength but in the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, let’s read the verses from Proverbs again in this light. Let’s meditate upon them with the understanding of grace and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s begin to enter into the fulness of life as we walk in the light of His life!
- “Obey my commands and live! Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes. Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.” (Proverbs 7:2-3 NLT)
In Jesus Name!