Fri May 8 Q 129 and 130: His Will Revealed
129. But this second point we have mentioned concerning the Christian life.
Yes, and we said that the true and legitimate service of God is to obey His will.
Because He will not be served according to our own imagination, but in the way that pleases Him.
The final questions of part 1 of the Catechism makes inquiry of the reiteration found the “second part” of question 128, “…so that we may be governed and led by the Holy Spirit, in the service of God.” That is, the second part makes reference to truth given in questions 7, 91, 112-113 and 126. But rather than explaining the reason for the repeated emphasis or making an apology for the appearance of redundancy, the Catechism reaffirms what has been said and makes reference to it a third time.
The significance of this should not be underestimated or lost on a contemporary church audience of a progressive and postmodern world. The truths derived from the implications of the Gospel need to be reemphasized to those of us who struggle with faithfulness and full obedience. Therefore, it is stated again that “true and legitimate service of God is to obey His will.” Sufficient service before God cannot be found in any form other than to follow his voice, which is given both through his word in the Scriptures and his word preached, both by the power of the Holy Spirit’s gracious illuminating work (cf. I Thess 2:13; 5:19-21).
In contrast to some who might wish to claim that all acts of ministry, kindness, compassion, or religion serve God – even some acts that might run contrary to what is revealed in his word – only that of which God has spoken for us to do, and that which aligns with what he has spoken of us to do, will be found pleasing in his sight. The other things we do in the assumption of pleasing him are no more of true service than of any one of us saying, “I have lived and the bottom of the sea without oxygen and spoken with giants squids.” Upon hearing such a statement, a listener might respond by saying, “You mean, you dreamed that you lived at the bottom of the ocean?” What we imagine to be true and right does not necessarily correspond to reality.
In the same vein, there is no true service to God apart from the reality of what he has revealed to be service to him. It therefore rests upon us to seek his will through his word for all matters of life and faith—those of the individual, family, and church body. Things we do because they seem right, have always been done as part of a Christian or church life, or are sanctioned by years of traditional practice (and of our comfort therein) might not have any merit to God—at least not toward the God who is real rather that the god of our dreams. We should repeat this truth to ourselves and our churches many times over.