Endless Imperfection of Obedience
Reading or listening to the weekly news is a test of faith. The chaos of sin and death challenges the depth of our belief in new creation (2 Cor 5:17). Even among believers, there are constant failings of obedience. God's law remains a reminder of our failure compared to God's standard.
Christ's teaches us to pray that God's sovereign will be more experienced here on earth. The following is an excerpt from The Lord's Prayer: A Family Devotion,
It’s a reality but a reality not completely experienced. It’s experienced perfectly in heaven, God’s holy and righteous place of judgment (Ps. 11:4), but in a veiled way on earth. The Church must pray that this would change.
Disciplining children is one of the least fun parts of parenthood. You see I don’t just teach my kids to obey me, but also to obey and respect their mother. I communicate a stern warning that while dad is not in the house his authority resides perfectly within their mother. Of course, it resides perfectly with her when I am in the house, but children tend to forget when fathers are away. God’s abiding in heaven leaves no questions. But the reality on earth is similar to disobedient children when the father is away. Christ has been given all authority in heaven-and- earth (Matt. 28:18-20). This starts an intimate relationship between the two. Yet the world does not fully experience this. It seeks to fight and strive against the Lordship of Jesus. The church is taught to ask for this change. On this petition Augustine said, “[This] is intended to convey the following meaning: As the righteous do your will, let sinners do it also” (Sermon on the Mount). Supreme obedience found at the throne of God in heaven would come down through Jesus and into the church to “the righteous.”
Into the church. That means this prayer starts with us (1 Pt. 4:17). Barth would pray, “In the execution of thy plan, liberate us from this endless imperfection of our obedience” (Prayer). Our prayer is that the will of God, and holy perfect obedience, be manifest in us to manifest the kingdom. This kingdom on earth is founded in the salvific work of God alone (Eph. 2:4-6).