Marriage has the potential to be either the most fulfilling experience two people can have together or the most miserable burden of life. Sad to say, many people mumble a weary amen to the last half of the statement.
What is the factor in marriage that determines the quality of the relationship? Love, of course. If a man and a woman truly love one another their marriage will bring them great satisfaction and joy If, on the other hand, selfishness is allowed to reign, mutual respect will be lost and the relationship will begin to feel confining. The sacrifices that the relationship requires will become a heavy burden.
Christianity is very much like marriage. It can be either a wonderful experience or a terrible one. And the determining factor is the same. Love.
As in marriage, a relationship with God will call for sacrifices. Marriage requires the submission of each spouse's will to that of the other. Christianity requires the submission of the will to Christ. When the heart is kept truly in love with the Lord, obedience to His will brings great satisfaction and joy. However, if we obey Him merely out of a sense of self-concerned obligation in order to gain heaven His law will seem restrictive and even oppressive.
There are many who are trying to live by the standards and commandments of God's word because they want to escape hell and gain heaven. Their hearts are not moved by any deep sense of the love of God, but they do realize their guilt and they fear the loss of their souls. So they set their feet in the path of duty and determine to live in harmony with God's will. They hope in this way to be saved. The fact is, they really do not obey the Lord, because the heart is not into the matter. They are not truly willing, but merely feel obligated. They perform the letter of the law, but they are not actuated by the true spirit of obedience, which is love see 2 Corinthians 3:6 and Romans 13:10.
In the Bible there are two kinds of obedience brought to view. One is referred to by Paul as the works of the law, and by Jesus as outward righteousness. The other Paul called obedience from the heart, or simply love. Jesus described it as inward righteousness and also summarized it with the single word love.
Works of the law are deeds of outward obedience rendered
* out of a mere sense of obligation in order to be saved.
* without personal willingness from the heart,
* without inward delight,
* without a sincere desire to please God,
*and with a view of God's character that assumes He withholds His favor until we do good.
Obedience from the heart involves an inward attitude toward God that springs forth
* from a deep sense of God's love in giving His Son to die for our sins,
* from a personal desire to do God's will because it is pleasing to Him,
* with inward delight
* and with sincere appreciation to God for the free salvation He has given us through Christ apart from any works of righteousness which we have done.
(Are you understanding what Ty is saying, if you are not clear, pray for understanding and wisdom to understand. It is important to understand these true steps to salvation and the fact that it is a free gift and we don't earn any part of it. I pray that God blesses your effort to keep reading and understanding this important topic. Grandma Joan)