‘If’ denotes a condition for an event, and that condition must render true before the associated event can be raised. Life abounds with situations where ‘if’ plays an important role in determining what gets done. Walking with Jesus is no different.
One of the first recorded ‘ifs’ is an encounter between God and Cain. Cain and his offering was not acceptable to God and Cain was angry about it (Gen 4:6,7). God responds to Cain with a fundamental truth:
If you had done the right thing, you would be similing. [CEV]
And this remains fundamentally true to this day. If you do the right thing, there should be no reason for your countenance to fall, as did Cain’s. Attached to the ‘if’ is an ‘else’ or ‘but’ condition. It’s the alternative event raised when the ‘if’ renders false. In the case of Cain:
But you did the wrong thing, and now sin is waiting to attack you like a lion. [CEV]
And we’re all too familiar with the ‘ifs’ in our lives. But looking back be careful of getting too fixated on the “what if” of the past. Tis folly. Focus instead, on looking forward and doing the next thing you need to do, “right”. If you do A, then what? Else, what? But do that which is right.
But now it’s also hard to know what the right thing to do is.
Pro 14:12 You may think you are on the right road and still end up dead.
Prov 16:25 Sometimes what seems right is really a road to death.
And more, the thing we do in and of itself doesn’t determine wether it’s right or not.
Pro 21:3 Doing what is right and fair pleases the LORD more than an offering.
Since there are many accounts of God rejecting the offerings made by His people- even though they were doing what God asked of them, technically speaking. Isa 1:11, Jer 6:20, Amos 5:21, Mal 1:10. But there were areas in their lives that were clearly not right. From the outside, it might have appeared to be good enough…
Pro 16:2 We may think we know what is right, but the LORD is the judge of our motives.
Pro 21:2 We may think we are doing the right thing, but the LORD always knows what is in our hearts.
So doing the right thing is related to the condition of our heart and is rooted in our motive, for a start. But motive without the right foundation can still go wrong. Our own experiences will testify that we thought we were doing the right thing, with the right motive, but it ended up otherwise. The proper foundation for Abel’s acceptable offering was faith (Heb 11:4). And because he offered in faith, he obtained the witness of God that he was indeed counted as righteous.
So, if we have faith, we will do the right things, that is to say, do the things we need to do, “right”. If we find ourselves not doing the right things, we can always go back to God and His Word to help us get it right.
Heb 4:12 What God has said isn’t only alive and active! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts.
By working with God, He will teach us, His Word will be a lamp unto our feet and we will live right. But for this to take place; even if God does teach us; even if God does corrects us; if we don’t heed His correction, sin will wait to attack.
Pro 15:10 If you turn from the right way, you will be punished; if you refuse correction, you will die.
And to be taught by God, requires an attitude of obedience. This is what i’m learning. He will not break a bruised reed, but beware your stiff neck. But what does it mean to obey God? What do we have to obey?
The greatest commands Jesus gave us: love the LORD and love your neighbour. And these we are to do, not just speak. So what does it mean to love God? We keep His commands. And what does it mean to keep His commands? We have the love of God. For God is love and we abide in love. And only when we get this right, does everything else fall in place. 1 John 4:7- 1 John 5:3
Even as far back as dot, all the blessings and curses are according to one big “if”:
…if thou shalt obey the voice of Jehovah thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law; if thou turn unto Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul… (ia. Deu 30)
Mat 19:17 …If you want to have eternal life, you must obey his commandments..
Joh 8:31 If you keep on obeying what I have said, you truly are my disciples.
Rom 10:9 So you will be saved, if you honestly say, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death.
Joh 13:8 “You will never wash my feet!” Peter replied. “If I don’t wash you,” Jesus told him, “you don’t really belong to me.”
If you continue in God’s Word, love Him, only then is there access to the rest of what He says. There is only one door, and that door is Jesus. If you try climb over the wall, you’re a thief, trying to steal and claim that what does not belong to you. If we obey, we will do right, and if we do right, we will be smiling 🙂
Jam 2:8 You will do all right, if you obey the most important law in the Scriptures. It is the law that commands us to love others as much as we love ourselves.
1Co 7:19 Being circumcised or uncircumcised isn’t really what matters. The important thing is to obey God’s commands.
Rom 13:9 In the Law there are many commands….But all of these are summed up in the command that says, “Love others as much as you love yourself.”