Obligation

<<duty, indebtedness>>

This is a morally or legally binding duty of conscience or custom, a ‘keeping our word’ even when it is costly by honouring the promises made (Ps 15:4). The focus is not on expecting or demanding our rights but rather honouring the obligations we have towards others. “Give to everyone what you owe” obviously means anything we have borrowed must be returned (Rom 13:1-7). It also means fulfilling the responsibilities of relationships such as parents and children, employers and employees etc.

God desires we go beyond this sense of duty to lovingly wanting to obey and serve Him, from a deep gratitude that we have been forgiven of our sins and been made righteous in His sight. We are permanently in debt to Christ and besides endeavouring to love Him with all our being, we are required to show that appreciation by loving our neighbour as a continual obligation (Mk 12:30,31; Rom 13:8-10; Phm 1:17-19). Going beyond the compulsory requirements into the realm of sacrificial love is known as going the second mile (Mt 5:41).This includes forgiving and doing good with the motive of blessing others. Helping carry the burdens of others fulfills this law of Christ (Gal 6:2).

It is sin when we know the good we should do but fail to do it (Jas 4:17). As Christians we are obligated to live by His rules, not just to satisfy our own desires (Rom 15:1,2; 1 Thes 4:1). One good turn deserves a reciprocal action, and by doing to others what we would have done to us, often results in reaping what we sow (1 Sam 25:4-8; Mt 7:12; Gal 6:7-9).

We have an obligation to tell the lost about Jesus, and make disciples of those who respond (Ezek 33:6; Mt 28:19,20). Honouring, respecting and obeying our parents and

 Do I fulfill all my obligations?

authority figures is expected of us as is providing for those in our care (Ex 20:12; Eph 6:1-8; Heb 13:7). We are to pray for those in authority, Christians who are being persecuted and believers in general (Eph 6:18; 1 Tim 2:1,2; Heb 13:3; Jas 5:16).

See also: authority, love, neighbours, obedience, responsible/responsibilities, submission.


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