Don’t confuse God’s love and grace with His delight.
You can have the former, which is unmerited, but still miss the latter, which comes from doing His will and obeying His commands.
If you doubt this, just do a quick word search on “delight” in any good online Bible translation. You will see verse after verse along these lines:
- “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.” (Psalm 37:23).
- The Lord delights in those who obey Him (Num. 14:8-9 & 1 Sam. 15:22); who walk in integrity (Prov. 11:20); who act faithfully (Prov. 12:22); who are upright (Prov. 15:8); who resist evil and speak truth (Prov. 15:26); and in bringing justice and righteousness to the earth (Jer. 9:24).
Furthermore, we are told repeatedly to delight in the fear of the Lord, in doing the Lord’s will, in His precepts, in His Word, and in keeping His commands. (Psalm 1:2, 37:23; 40:8; 112:1; 119:16, 23-24, 47 & 77; Isaiah 11:3; Jer. 15:16; Rom. 7:22)
A great tragedy today are Christian who emphasize love and grace, but dismiss – if not outright attack – the obligation to obey His precepts and commands, do His will, submit to scripture, and reverently fear the Lord.
What they don’t understand is that although His grace is freely given, it costs us everything to accept.
Such Christians conform to the spirit of the age by denying this distinction and insisting that Jesus is just a friend with benefits. In wanting only His favors, however, they will never know His delight.
Like them, our fellowships teach that we don’t obey to earn God’s love and grace. That would be legalism.
Unlike them, however, we also teach – mainly by example – that without obedience, we don’t really know His love and grace, and certainly will never know His true delight.
A love relationship with Jesus, rooted in His grace, is vital – but I refuse to stop there. I delight in also doing the things He delights in. And in doing so, I know not simply His love and His grace, but also His delight.
I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t get much better than finding my delight in the things that delight Him – like loving Him enough to obey His commands, do His will and submit to His Word – and feeling His delight in return.
Balance and discernment are sorely needed once again in the Household of God.