Holiness. Obedience. Righteousness. These words are not naturally well received by any human, and I have personally had enough bad experiences in the church to find them particularly threatening. Talk to me about grace. Or love. But don’t talk to me about the law. My study of Ephesians (which I’ve mentioned briefly before) is really changing how I think about this. God does not save us BY our obedience, but he does save us FOR our obedience. And though the concepts of obedience and holiness have been well abused by religious legalists of every persuasion, we cannot give these words over to them and lose their true meaning and God’s good plan for the obedience of his children.
In God’s design, obedience and holiness mean at the most basic level simply following God and being like Him. He is both the definition of what it means to be holy and the channel by which we can obey Him. He is the means and the end. And His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). If you are weighed down by the ideas of obedience and righteousness, you have let the wrong people define those terms for you.
This message on the 10 commandments was preached at church 2 weeks ago, and I found it a VERY helpful lesson on how we are to think about the law on this side of Christ. Thank you Jay-Thomas Hewitt for your clear, concise discussion of this.