Enoch walked with God.
The believer of our generation does no less.
You see him poring over his books, applying himself to his calling as a student. You see him on his knees in the barracks, oblivious of the jeers of his “buddies”. You walk past a young couple in the coffee shop, you hear them fervently discussing the will of God for their lives. You ring the door-bell of the home of a young family and are greeted by the staccato of the piano accompanying untrained voices blended in strained harmony. He can be detected not only by his presence in the house of God, but more particularly by the condition in which he arrives and what effect the Word has on him when he leaves.
Rare? Not if you care to look.
Dull? Not for those who walk with Him.
Useless? Not for those who know the joy of the love of God.
The Word of God has much to say about morality, a true morality of love. As we take a brief look, let’s remind ourselves that in order to walk with God, we must let God speak, listen to His Word, and believe, “My hand thou holdest in thy own, to keep me near thy side”.
Then our walk is everlasting.
GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY AND THE LAW OF LOVE
As covenant youth we have come to appreciate the sovereignty of God as it is related to our lives. Since God alone is the giver of life, ,first by creation and subsequently by providential direction, He alone has the authority and power to determine the basis for covenantal friendship. If a man is to walk with God, he has to be in harmony with God, he has to meet God’s demands for friendship. Since the covenant friendship that God extends to man is a reflection of His own covenant life which He enjoys in Himself as triune God, these demands are very high, none other than perfect love of God. God provided man with these qualifications by virtue of His creating him in His own image. Adam and Eve possessed a heart filled with the love of God and thereby was consecrated to the service of God. They had minds that retained the true knowledge of God, and they were created with wills that inclined them to perform the righteousness of God. Because of this they were able to walk with God when He came to them in the cool of the day.
The fall into sin did not change this basic relationship of God as sovereign and man as servant. God retained the basic requirements for friendship, viz. love. Man, however, is now unable to fulfill them. Since fallen man has lost the image of God and has become spiritually the opposite, he hates God, is consecrated to the service of sin and the devil (death), and delights in doing the opposite of what God requires. As a fallen sinner, man is not fit for covenant friendship with God, Rom. 5:18. Natural man does not walk with God.
Into this picture, Christ appears. The sovereignty of God extends into the eternal good-pleasure of His counsel. By the decree of election God willed to glorify His name by the salvation of His people in Christ. God placed His righteous demands for covenant friendship upon Him. Since Christ was made the sin-bearer for His people, these demands of God were placed upon Him, and He bore the penalty for the sins of His people as an act of perfect love.
This Christ did with His death on the cross, (Gal. 4:4, 5). The sovereign God did not change His demands for covenant friendship; He transferred these demands to One Who was able to fulfill them on our behalf. By His death and resurrection, Jesus established the basis for covenant life with God by removing the guilt of our sins and fulfilling the perfect law of love.
In applying the benefits of His death to us, Christ enables us to enter into this covenant friendship. By nature we are outside the sphere of the covenant; therefore our nature must become changed. Christ received the authority to do this when He arose, (Matt. 28:18). He received the power to do this when God gave to Him the Holy Spirit by Whom He delivers His people from sin and translates them into the covenant, (Acts 2:33).
This Christ does through the gospel. By the message of the gospel the sinner is confronted with God’s sovereign demands for covenant friendship. The sinner is commanded to turn from his evil way, to believe in Christ as the only source of righteousness with God, and to live according to the law of God. The gospel makes plain that the exalted Christ makes His demands upon the sinner that we love God and our neighbor perfectly, (Matt. 22:37-39). There is no sphere of life that escapes these demands. The hearts of rulers are in His hands, (Prov. 8:15); citizens are called to obey rulers, (Rom. 13:1); the, church must do the work of Christ, (Matt. 16:19); He instructs fathers and mothers, (I Peter 3:1-7); He places His demands upon children, (Eph. 6:1-3); He tells laborers their duty, (Col. 3:22). On page after page, the Scriptures warn from evil and exhort unto faithful obedience. The sovereign God makes His demands of perfect love known. In the keeping of them there is great reward, to live apart from them is death.
THE UNCHANGEABLE CHARACTER OF TRUE MORALITY
From the above, we conclude that the character of morality is always the same. Perhaps you react to the foregoing and say, “That’s all nice for the people who walked with God during Bible times, but our day is so much different. How can a morality given to a handful of people, mostly Jews and dwelling in Palestine, be determinative for me, a product of the “Now Generation?” We have an entirely different situation today compared to Bible times. We have the products of the industrial revolution, we live in our scientific age, we walk on the moon, our moral problems are different. How can a first century morality govern the twentieth?
The answer is that God does not change. His demands for covenant friendship are always the same because God is always the same, (Mal. 3:6).
As covenant youth we apply this principle to the area of doctrine. God’s Word is God’s revelation concerning the truth of Himself, of Christ, and of our relation to Him. This never changes because God never changes. Thus Jeremiah said, “Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein and ye shall find rest for your souls, (Jer. 6:16)” Paul emphasized the same thing, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle, (II Thess. 2:15).” What God revealed to Abraham was also believed by Moses. What David believed was also received by Isaiah. The New Testament saints read the account of the Old Testament and believed what God revealed. Christ Himself quoted the prophets and writings, and bridges the two Testaments together. The early church confessed their faith in what is known as “The Apostles’ Creed.” God has blessed His church with statements of belief that continue to be banners of truth, not in competition with the Bible, but as expressions of the truth of God’s Word.
This same principle applies to present day morals. God doesn’t give one set of morals to His people for one generation and then alter them or amend them for another generation. God’s requirements for covenant life are unchangeable even as He is. The moral law of the Old Testament was not cast aside; Christ summarized it and applied it to the church of the new dispensation. The epistles contain exhortations and warnings which were given in the authority of Christ. Hence, “And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed, (II Thess. 3:14).”
LOVE AND OBEDIENCE
So far we have considered the standard for moral evaluation. God Himself is the final judge on right or wrong. His standard is set forth in, His Word. This is communicated to us through the Scriptures. We have this standard and are obligated to walk according to it.
How is it possible for us to observe the law of love? Man apart from Christ hates God and therefore also hates His demands. How is it that we not only receive the law of God, but delight to walk in it? The answer is that God gives us His love. Christ not only fulfilled the demands of the law and rescued us from the punishment of death and hell, but Christ also gives us the inmost desire to love God and to do His will. According to Rom. 5:5 the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. By regeneration we are engrafted into Christ and abide in Him, (John 15:4). Abiding in Christ including two things: believing in Him, (John 6:28, 29), and living a new life, (Phil. 1:21). By this union with Christ we die unto sin, (I Peter 2:25), and become alive unto Christ, (Gal. 2:20).
The test of all true love is obedience. Christ calls us, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls, (Matt. 11:28-30).” The burden that Christ gives us is that we walk in the will of God, serving Him. This burden is light because it is a love burden placed upon us by Christ. To attain unto this burden, we must take Christ’s yoke which is, “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart.” The proof of love is one’s willingness to be a humble servant, doing the will of God, that God may be glorified in all.
This proves that the world’s idea of love is all wrong, It is selfish. For the children of God, however, love is a willingness to deny oneself, take up his cross, and follow Jesus. True love which has its source in God does not express itself as walking in the fear of God simply for the sake of self, a note too often sounded by modern evangelism, e.g. Billy Graham and company. Rather it has as its object God, that He may be acknowledged as the only fountain of all good.
LOVE AND LIBERTY
Depraved man appears to be so free, yet he is a poor slave of sin. He may try to quiet his conscience that accuses him (Rom. 1:32), by denying the law of God and the unchangeable character of God’s love, yet his end is destruction. “But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil, (Rom. 2:8, 9).” The drunk’s body is broken with disease; the free love generation is plagued with venereal disease; the drug addict takes a bad trip; the pot smokers, rebels and licentious bring destruction upon their own heads. Their cities become rat traps both literally and figuratively. All this because the curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked (Prov. 3:33).
As covenant youth we are freed from such folly by a power that enables us to walk in the ways of the Lord. We look at the wretched mess of the world and confess that by the love of God we have been spared that misery and tragedy. It is the love of God that delivers us from the tyranny of our own sinful nature and infuses new qualities into our heart and lives, so that we begin to live in the joy of the covenant fellowship with God. When we wear the yoke of Christ, we realize that the burden is light. Gladly we count ourselves as nothing in the service of God. What blessed rest for us when we end the day by confessing our sins and being assured that God will forgive us and help us to overcome them.
With this love of God in our hearts we don’t envy the world; above all, we don’t walk with the world or try to imitate them. No, we receive God’s Word and respond in childlike faith, “Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth.”
Then we walk with God each day.
Then we walk with Him eternally, (I Tim. 4:7, 8).