Whole Duty Of Man


J.M. Beatty

In the confusing world of Christian rhetoric we are often frustrated by our failure to understand the duty of man in the sight of God. This Bible lesson is not all-inclusive concerning this topic, but it will attempt to establish a solid biblical structure that will clarify our duty in God’s sight.

Eccl 12:13-14 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (14) For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (KJV)

Eccl 12:13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, {is:} fear God and keep His commandments, because this {applies to} every person. (NAS)

To fear God and keep His commandments is the duty of every living human being that has walked on planet earth. Moses also understood this basic two-fold spiritual principle.

Deut 10:12-13 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, (13) To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? (KJV)

Moses understood that God’s basic human requirements are to fear the Lord God and love Him, and to keep His commandments. Notice the similarity between the exhortation of Moses with the teachings of Jesus.

Matt 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (38) This is the first and great commandment. (39) And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (40) On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV)

Jesus also presented the duty of man as a two-fold process of loving God and our neighbors. According to Jesus all the commandments found in the law and prophets find their root in these two spiritual principles. From the writings of the Old Testament to the teachings of Jesus the duty of man has not changed we must fear God and love Him, and keep his commandments. Now lets correlate these three variations of the same two-fold duty of man.

Fear God

Solomon, Moses and Jesus all associated the fear of the Lord with a deep reverence and love for God. Should we fear the judgmental aspects of God’s righteousness only then we have missed the true spiritual attitude of reverential love.

Moses also associated divine Godly fear with walking in God’s ways and serving the Lord with all our heart and soul. Moses wrote that these three attributes constitute true fear of God.

Walk in God’s Ways

Ps 128:1 Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways (KJV)

We can only fear God to the degree we are willing to walk in HIS ways not our personal lusts and desires. Never loose sight of the fact that we cannot walk in our ways and God’s ways at the same time. In order to walk in God’s ways we must learn to say NO to our fleshly desires. Simply stated we cannot fear the Lord without being His disciples (Lk 9:23).

Prov 16:6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil. (KJV)

Prov 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. (KJV)

We read that the fear of the Lord is to learn to hate the things that God hates. The important point we must remember is our need to search our hearts for the attributes and characteristics that offend God, not search the hearts of our brothers. The fear of the Lord is to examine our lives from the signs of evil and depart from these ways.

Deut 14:23 And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always. (KJV)

The fear of the Lord can be taught. God instituted the spiritual principle of the tithe in order to teach us to learn to fear the Lord always. When we reject the concept of the tithe we frustrate the ability of the Holy Spirit to teach us true Godly fear.

Love God

2 Cor 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (KJV)

Jesus clearly taught of the importance of loving God with all human strength and ability. We display our love for God by perfecting holiness and allowing the Holy Spirit to cleanse us from all filthiness of flesh and spirit. How can we walk in holiness with developing a true intimate love for God? We will not have the strength of heart to flee from sin and become the servant of God in holiness (Rom 1:4) without an intimate love with God.

Reference: Ps 25:10; 89:14 Prov 3:7 Prov 6:16-19 Ps 29:2 Rom 6:22 Eph 4:24

Serve God

Eph 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (KJV)

Col 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: (KJV)

Jesus taught that in order to serve God we must follow Him in His personal calling and ministry. We also serve the Lord by remaining diligent and fervent in spirit. We serve Christ in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit not in our doctrines and religious debate.

Reference: John 12:26 Rom 12:11 Rom 14:17-18

Gal 5:13-14 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. (14) For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (KJV)

On too many occasions we are admonished by the Bible to serve one another in the fear of God. Our love and fear of God can be determined by our willingness to love and accept each other. The body of Christ is built up by love then we must conclude that the body is in need of our service (Eph 4:16).

Do His Commandments

Now we come to the second principle defined by Solomon in whole duty of humanity. The whole duty of man can be summed up in the principles of fearing God and doing His commandments. Jesus taught that the two great commandments are to love the Lord our God and the second commandment is to "…love thy neighbor as thyself…". Who is our neigh-bor? This is a fair question! The parable of the Good Samaritan taught that our neighbor is any person in need that we have the ability to aid and assist. In Prescott Estates we find our neighbors, in prisons, hospitals, and even on street corners we find our neighbors. But let me present one other area we also find our spiritual neighbors.

Gal 5:13-14 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. (14) For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (KJV)

We read in Galatians that our willingness to serve one another also depicts our love for our neighbor. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves. A command of this nature requires a personal involvement with other people. Is it possible that our doctrine requires personal love for our neighbors, but our actions speak otherwise? Are we expecting our neighbors (in the church) to love us first? Do we come to church with the attitude of receiving personal ministry and blessing only?

1 Cor 12:24-27 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: (25) That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. (26) And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. (27) Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. (KJV)

Eph 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (KJV)

Should we come to church with the attitude of receiving personal ministry? Absolutely yes we should! But the opposite application is also true. We should also come to church with the attitude of giving ministry and blessing. We are the body of Christ, when one member is suffering and in need of ministry the other members of the body should provide that care.

Each blood bought Christian is a joint in the body of Christ with a personal ministry to be added to the corporate supply. The body can only grow in love when each member is part of the ministry. When one member suffers we should all weep with him or her, and when one member is honored all member should rejoice. Why do we work together in this fashion? The Apostle Paul answered this question in a clear and concise fashion; "…That there should be no schism in the body…". Consider with me this thought. Is it possible that our lack of involvement and our willingness to impose upon a few ministers our responsibility to do the work of the ministry has created a spiritual schism in the body of Christ? When we say that it’s the responsibility of the pastors or elders to provide spiritual ministry to the body and we fail to engage the ministry ourselves, then its possible that we do not love our neighbors as ourselves.

Conclusion of the Whole Matter

Let’s conclude this study with these thoughts. The whole duty of man is to fear God and keep His commandments. Solomon summed up our reason and purpose for human existence in these two spiritual principles. At first glance we might trivialize the importance of these two principles because of their spiritual simplicity. Our lack of personal involvement in body life and personal ministry speaks volumes concerning the two greatest com-mandments presented by Jesus. Take the time to consider duty to God and His kingdom.