The discipline of listening and obeying the word of God provides the foundation for a life of cheerful freedom, free of fear and cynicism, a life rooted in complete commitment to God, full devotion to God’s sovereignty, and full confidence in God’s reliable ordering of reality.
The human person, as God’s creatures, is one who listens as God addresses persons. As God speaks a key element of humanness is obedience, responding to the address of command that is heard. The command of God concerns both the practice of justice in imitation of God and the practice of holiness in imitation of God. It belongs to the character of the human creature that humanness means to hear and obey the elemental, world-defining, world-sustaining, world-ordering will of God for justice and holiness.
The practice of holiness concerns the disciplined awareness that life is to be ordered with the profound acknowledgement that the core of reality lies outside self and is not given over to human control. As God said to Moses, “Speak to the entire assembly of my people and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy’. Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 17:2-3).
The practice of justice (Deuteronomy 10: 17-19) in concrete ways, is the enactment of God’s righteousness, whereby the cosmos can be ordered for life, and whereby the human community can be kept viable and generative. In the doing of justice, the role of humanness is not simply the keeping of rules, but consists in enactment of positive good, whereby human solidarity is maintained and enhanced.
The exercise of obedience is the wise use of responsible social power, especially the power and resources of the strong for the well-being of the whole community.