"May we Thy precepts, Lord, fulfill, And do on earth our Father's will, As angels do above; Still walk in Christ, the living way, With all Thy children and obey the law of Christian love."
Our hymn echoes the prayer our Lord taught us: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10b, KJV). We want what God wants, and that means we want His holy will to be carried out in our lives every day. Above all, it is God's will that we believe in His Son and receive the gift of eternal life, as Jesus said, "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:40). Believing in Jesus, we now seek to walk in His ways, forgiving as we have been forgiven and obeying "the law of Christian love."
When God gave His Law on Mount Sinai, He told the Israelites, "If you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all peoples ... a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:5b-6a). The people did not obey God's voice; the covenant was broken. God established a new covenant, a covenant of forgiveness in which He would inscribe His Law on the hearts of His people. When the right time came, God sent His Son to fulfill that covenant promise. Jesus, who obeyed His Father's voice in all things, suffered the penalty of death that we deserved for our disobedience to God's Law. Through the death of His Son, God "condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:3b-4).
Clothed in Jesus' righteousness and walking in His ways, we seek to "do on earth our Father's will" and "obey the law of Christian love." On the night before He died on the cross for us, Jesus gave us that law of love: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35). It is not a commandment that we must obey to earn God's favor—we already enjoy that favor through the gift and sacrifice of His Son. It is a new commandment written on our hearts by the Holy Spirit, the law of love that leads us to live as mirrors of Jesus' self-sacrificing love.
WE PRAY: Jesus, help me to love others as You have loved me. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "May We Thy Precepts, Lord, Fulfill," which is number 698 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. What purpose do laws in our society serve?
2. What does it mean to do God's will on earth?
3. How does following the commandment Jesus gave us in John 14 mark us as His disciples?
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