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Page 265

With man, however, God desired voluntary love and service. Man's freely choosing to love and obey God, not only because he 'as bound to, but because he wanted and freely chose to, was more honoring for both God and man.

In order that man might show whether he would freely choose to love His Creator or not, God entered into a covenant with him. His will and desire would be tested through God's probationary command - not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil.

The tree became the "Test Tree," the "Tree of God's authority," in Paradise. This command actually tested whether Adam would obey God and His law entirely; whether he would love God and do His will or not.

The Covenant of Works and its probationary command were most agreeable to Adam. He agreed wholeheartedly with this test for he loved God with his entire being - with soul, emotions, mind, and strength. To willingly obey God and to do His will was his deepest desire, the law of his heart.

What a wonderful covenant this was! As a true friend of God, dam loved to do that which pleased the Lord. God also loved Adam, delighted in his willing obedience, and daily communed with him in Paradise.

Furthermore, God graciously attached a reward to Adam's obedience. God was not obliged to do this, for man was bound to love and serve his Creator. Willing obedience from man was to be expected, not necessarily rewarded. But, God chose to attach a gracious reward to the obedience which He had a right to require. Adam could never do that which would demand or make God owe him anything in return. Adam was created to love and serve God perfectly. His doing so, therefore, would only fulfill the purpose for which he was created - it would not deserve or earn additional payment from God. God's promised reward for obedience was a gracious reward.

The Lord Jesus illustrated this truth with the following example:

    But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?

    And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?

  • Probationary command - A testing or proving command

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