Leviticus 26:12 – “I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people.” (Leviticus 26:12)
My Musings – This verse must be read in context. There is a condition that precedes it: “If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands.” There follows an impressive list of blessings capped off by this awesome promise in verse 12 above. Of course, conditions always beg the question, what if the conditions are violated? Following the blessings are a long list of consequences, which are often overlooked, because the conditions are often overlooked. The word “if” should always give us pause. This is the immediate context.
But the overriding context is that this is a promise to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. They were under the Law. Thankfully, we are under grace and don’t have to worry about obedience (ugh, legalism!). Or do we? While it is abundantly clear that “it is by grace that [we] have been saved, through faith . . . not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9),” and many can readily quote this, we tend to overlook (and are unable to quote) verse 10: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.“
Consider also want James says in the second chapter of his Epistle:
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.“
“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”
This is not a salvation of faith plus works theology, but rather a recognition that true saving faith results in a life that is transformed, and the transformation is evidenced by good works (and avoiding a sinful lifestyle). A lack of good works (and a habitually sinful lifestyle) is likely evidence of a life that has not been transformed and calls into question whether there really was saving faith in the first place. Of course, we must be careful here. While salvation (justification) is a one time event initiated by grace through faith, transformation (sanctification) is a lifelong process. People mature in the faith at varying paces, with many ups and downs.
We are all used to people making claims. Politicians make claims about what they will do if they are elected. Advertisers make claims about the benefits of the product they are pitching. Suiters make claims about how much they love the person they are wooing. None of these claims are worth anything unless they are backed up by action. A politician risks not being reelected if they do not follow through with their campaign promises. Inventory will cease to move off store shelves if the product does not live up to the advertiser’s claims. Lovers grow apart when promised affections are not delivered.
So it is with our faith. A faith that transforms is a faith that performs. Faith inaction becomes a faith in action. Doing the least for the Kingdom becomes doing for even the least in the Kingdom. So how are things with you? Is your faith alive or dead? Is your “work produced by faith?” Is your “labor prompted by love?” Is your “endurance inspired by hope?” Are you seeking to do the “good works, which God prepared in advance for [you] to do?”
My Advice – So back to the verse in Leviticus. If we expect God to “walk” with us, we need to be walking in the same direction.