What Does the Lord Require of Us?

Micah 6:3-4 ESV

“O my people, what have I done to you?
How have I wearied you? Answer me!
For I brought you up from the land of Egypt
and redeemed you from the house of slavery,
and I sent before you Moses,
Aaron, and Miriam.”

God Knows and He Sees

God knows the evils of his people. He can see when we sin against him. He is not blinded to our comings and goings. Some people may act as though they think that God can’t see when they sin in secret, or they may have convinced themselves that God can no longer see when they sin, and in order to ease their own consciences. But God still sees when we sin.

And he has not changed how he feels about when we sin, either. Just read the New Testament from beginning to end, and don’t skip over any of it, and it will become clear to you that not only does God see when his children sin against him, but his reaction to our sins is not much different than it was when his people Israel sinned (1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13).

For, he reminded us in the New Testament of what his children Israel did after he had delivered them out of slavery in Egypt. They became idolaters and revelers, and they indulged in sexual immorality, and they were grumblers and complainers, and they put God to the test to see if he would actually do as he said he would, and he did. With most of them God was not pleased and thus they were overthrown in the wilderness.

But you might say, well that was then and this is now. But the Scriptures tell us about these things, that they took place as examples to us, and that they were written down for our instruction that we might not desire evil as they did and end up with the same fate.

And then it says, “Let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” And then he let us know that there is no temptation that we might be facing that is not common to man and God has made a way of escape that we may be able to endure it and to not yield to it. So, there is no excuse for us if we deliberately and especially habitually sin against the Lord (1 Co 10:1-22).

Jesus died on that cross to deliver us from our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin so that we might no longer live under its control but so we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. And he empowers us to live righteously in holy living, pleasing to him. His grace has given us all we need to resist the devil, to flee temptation, and to follow Jesus in obedience.

So, we are to flee idolatry, for God does not want us to be participants with demons. For, we cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. We cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. We can’t live in sin and walk in righteousness at the same time. For we are slaves of whom we obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness (1 Co 10:1-22; Rom 6:16).

Micah 6:6,8 ESV

“With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?”

“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?”

What is Required of Us?

The people responded, pondering over what they should bring to the Lord as an offering to him in order to appease God and to avert his judgments (vv. 6-7). They wondered what would please him, as if they didn’t already know. For, then the prophet reminded the people that the Lord had told them what was good, and that he had told them what he required of them.

He required that they do justice and love kindness and walk humbly with their God. And what does he require of us? He requires that we deny self, that we take up our cross daily (daily die with him to sin and to self) and that we follow him in obedience. And he requires that we no longer walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21; 1 Jn 2:3-6).

He requires that we no longer live like the ungodly, giving ourselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But we are to put off our old self, which belongs to our former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and we are to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and we are to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:17-24; Rom 6:1-23; 1 Jn 1:5-9).

For, Jesus died on that cross, not just to forgive us our sins, and not just to promise us eternal life with him, but he died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. And he shed his blood to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we would now honor God with our lives (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Co 6:19-20).

And you know what? Many people professing faith in Jesus Christ know this, though not all do. Many of them have been professing faith in Jesus their whole lives, and they have even taught the Scriptures, and some of them are or were even pastors of churches. They have been told what God requires of them, many of them hundreds or perhaps thousands of times.

Yet, many of them are turning away from the Lord and from the truth of his gospel message and of what he requires of those of us who will follow him. And they are chasing after the gods of this world, and they are wasting away their days here on this earth in revelry, and in sexual immorality, and in adultery, and in homosexuality. For they are lovers of self instead of lovers of God.

Opposing the True Gospel

And many of them are now opposing the true gospel of grace in favor of a cheap grace gospel which makes no demands on them, which requires nothing of them other than some one-time profession of faith in Jesus. And since they are opposing the true gospel, they are also opposing the gospel’s messengers, and they are persecuting them.

Those of us who are following the ways of the Lord, not in absolute perfection, but not in deliberate acts of sinful rebellion or in habitual sin, and who are still holding on to the biblical gospel, and who are teaching it, and who are exposing the lies for what they are, and who are calling people to repentance and to obedient faith in Jesus, we are being persecuted.

Not everyone persecutes us, mind you. Thank the Lord he has given us those within the body of Christ who have not sold themselves out to the cheap grace gospel who are encouraging us and us them. But it can be a lonely life sometimes, and sad, for so many professers of faith in Jesus are not following the truth but they are following the lies, and so many of them are living worldly lives, and so true fellowship is sometimes scarce.

But the Lord has called us and where he has called us he will also provide for us. So, we can be encouraged that we are not alone and that our Lord will help us and he will hold us together no matter what comes our way.

Breath Of Heaven (Mary’s Song)

Songwriters: Amy Lee Grant / Chris Eaton

I have traveled many moonless nights
Cold and weary with a babe inside
And I wonder what I’ve done
Holy father you have come
And chosen me now to carry your son

I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now
Be with me now

Breath of heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me your holiness
For you are holy
Breath of heaven

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