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I am remembering a moment, a Christmas Eve in the living room, putting a massive toy of some sort together, as quietly as possible.  It’s something I wanted to get done quickly, it was late and I knew the boys would be up before dawn, wanting to get into the presents.  I was tempted to simply look at the picture on the package and build from that, except that this clever manufacturer had printed instructions that began with:

“Please follow instructions carefully, the designers and manufacturers of this product wish to do everything in their power to ensure your enjoyment and safety.” 

“…to ensure your enjoyment and safety.”

And I had another epiphany.  It was about something that had been in the news during that Christmas Season: The Ten Commandments.  Some city somewhere is going through some sort of thing about a stone in front of the courthouse and a manger scene and a menorah, or something.  Anyway I had either forgotten or suddenly realized the Ten Commandments (the Decalogue) are a prime example of “the Designer-Manufacturer’s…wish to do everything in His power to ensure our enjoyment and safety.”

The TEN COMMANDMENTS (or as I like to call it, “THE CODE”) are the pattern for life in this age, written by the One who created this age.  Said another way, “If you want enjoyment and safety here on earth…follow these ten easy steps”.

Following the THE CODE, or any rules and guidelines set by God, don’t get us into the next age of eternity, Jesus makes that clear.  Jesus says it is by our faith that we are restored.  It is a gift from His Father and our Father that we can be restored to the ideal created in Eden, and remain close to God, even into the age-to-come.

We don’t stand next to the Father and walk with Him through eternity because of who WE are, but because of who HE is.

Jesus spent His time as a Teacher on earth trying to re-explain, clear up misconceptions, and help us see His Father in a new light.  He was clear in what was and is expected of those who believe and follow, but His emphasis was on active love between each other…in response to the great gift given to us by His Father, NOT as some sort of test to see if we should “get into heaven.”

THE CODE makes practical sense in this created world.  These are the “directions” for living well, with our Creator and with each other.  I’d go so far as to say, even the most spiritually-insensitive could benefit from living in this world according to the THE CODE.

But again, following these rules have nothing to do with our forever life, or the restoration of it.  The Apostle Paul was also clear that we all fail.  We fail on purpose and/or innocently.  And when we do, Jesus stands to defend us as someone who has worn our skin, seen with our eyes, and walked our path.  The fear of disappointing and offending God, that many of us grew up with, is something that doesn’t come from God, except in the way that we should “fear”, or better said, “be in awe of” Him.  We should appropriately fear and respect a Being with the power to obliterate even our very souls with a blink of His eye…and yet chooses not to.

Does God sit in heaven, yearly “going over the books” and writing or erasing each of our names according to our deeds, good and bad?  I honestly am not there to witness that or see it.  I can only tell you what the scripture, the Spirit, and my own experience with God tells me: He would race across the universe to merely give us a hug.  He is completely and totally wrapped up in us…for us, it’s all about God, and for God life is completely about us.

His concern is not only that we are with Him and He is with us, forever.  But also that while we are here, we have a taste of what it will be like in the age-to-come.  We can do that by following the Designer & Manufacturer’s instructions for creating a better world.

“Please follow instructions carefully, the Designer and Manufacturer of this product wishes to do everything in His power to ensure your enjoyment and safety.”