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Related articles:
"By Faith Only?"
"Faith Only? Consider Noah."
"Proving Our Faith"
"Man's 'Complete Purpose'"
"Persuaded by the Lord?"
"The Lord Saves"

Related subtopics:
Adding to Worship
Baptisms Not in the Bible
Beware of False Teachers
Ignorant Or Vain Worship
Once Saved, Always Saved
Why Churches Are Divided
Women Preachers
"Man's 'Complete Purpose'"

Larry Ray Hafley

What is the "complete purpose" of man? What is the fullness of man? What is the "allness" or the "whole" of man? What is his fullness and completeness? The Holy Spirit says it is this: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man" (Eccl. 12:14). The word, "duty," is inserted. In essence, the writer says that to fear God and keep his commandments is "the whole of man." To "fear God and keep his commandments" is the "complete purpose," the all fulfilling, all encompassing purpose of man on earth.

"Surely," you say, "everyone who claims to be a Christian believes the truthfulness of the paragraph above." No, sadly, not all agree. Some say that if we bind or dwell on "keeping commandments," we are desecrating and denigrating the grace of God. If that charge be true, if, when we stress that men must "keep the commandments of God," we are bringing offense against the grace of God, what shall we do with Ecclesiastes 12:13? Is it true that to "fear God, and keep his commandments is the whole duty of man"? Is that statement true, or is it false? How can it be true if "keeping commandments" disparages the grace and mercy of God? But, how can it be false if Ecclesiastes 12;13 is the word of God?

Will those who disdain "commandment keeping" in order to be right in God's sight, please answer the questions above? In view of the fact that some have expressed their disgust with those who believe that one must "fear God and keep his commandments," will they tell us what they do with Ecclesiastes 12:13?

Neither we nor they believe that one can be justified by works (Gal. 2:16; Titus 3:5). Hence, it will be useless to cite us to passages affirming salvation by grace. We believe them. We accept and trust in them (Eph. 1:7; 2:5, 8, 9). We also believe Ecclesiastes 12:13. We believe that the "whole" of man, that man's compete purpose, is to "fear God and keep his commandments." Do they?

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