By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.
A long obedience in the same direction.
So much goes back to this. A huge factor contributing to the possibility of transformation in this life is the fact of YHWH’s steadfast love and faithfulness. To even subconsciously know that He is always there with open arms no matter how many times we spit in His face is the most comforting of things we can experience. (This is related to why we often hurt and take for granted those closest to us and who love us most-because we assume, whether in confidence or in ignorance, that they aren’t going anywhere. They will always be there to love us.)
But what if we treated each other in steadfast love and faithfulness? With the awareness that they may reach a breaking point due to our mistreatment, our lack of appreciation for them? What if we grew in this love like we are meant to? To become more like God? The more we become like Him, the more we grow in our love for people and respond tenderly toward weakness, seeing it as opportunity for growth rather than something to be pounced upon, mocked, or gossiped about.
The second part of this verse tells us that until we hold God in more awe and reverence than sin, we will not change. The problem with sin is that we like it too much. We have more reverence for things we replace God with than for God Himself. Genuinely encountering God will shift perspective to embed in us that He is truly our fulfillment, our only giver of peace.
Shalom is what we all seek, whether we know it or not. “Lookin’ For Love In All The Wrong Places” is one of the most profound titles ever, as it is accurate commentary on most of life for most people. There is one sure way to peace and that is seeking God with your whole heart. Seeking Him with your whole heart includes thinking about Him all the time throughout the day, everyday.
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
I’ve always wondered about this verse. This was a phrase in Judaism referring to the permitting and forbidding within the context of the applicability of particular laws in particular situations. Jesus promises this authority to interpret and apply commands (keys to the kingdom–not literally heaven–to Peter, then the apostles, then the church Mt.18:18). This authority is derived by means of Jesus’ presence.
The Expanded Bible reads: And whatever you bind on earth [forbid to be done], shall have already been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth [permit to be done], shall have already been loosed in heaven.
Jesus did not say that God would obey what they did on earth, but that they should do on earth whatever God had already willed. We have a heavy responsibility to God and His word, a heavy authority even, not to be taken lightly.