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?