13.4 Discharging one's obligations at work and in society

The religious, social, and professional conditions in which human beings find themselves result in various necessary modes of conduct. For Christians, the basis for fulfilling these obligations is belief in God as the One who creates, establishes, and maintains order. The imposition of obligations and the demand for compliance with them are essential characteristics of the Mosaic Law. Even in the new covenant, man is not absolved of discharging certain duties. Fulfilling these is understood as an expression of belief in the gospel.

The Ten Commandments provide orientation for fulfilling one's obligations. From the Fourth Commandment, for example, one can derive both the requirement for children to respect and show gratitude towards their parents, and for parents to take responsibility for their children. Ultimately, the point is to respect and accept authority all the way up to God. The Third Commandment also refers to conduct in everyday life.

The Third Commandment tells us to keep the Sabbath day holy, but the Bible passage goes on to state: "Six days you shall labour and do all your work" (Exodus 20: 9). The individual is therefore obliged to use his energies for his own welfare and that of his family, as well as on behalf of the state and society (Genesis 2: 15; 3: 17). It is the will of God to give mankind their daily bread, but they must also do their part toward this end. Christians are obligated to conscientiously discharge the tasks assigned them in daily life.

Fulfilling one's obligations must take place within certain limits. It must not become a career pursuit that takes on higher priority than one's own wellbeing or that of one's surroundings.

Apostle Paul emphasises the believer's duty to comply with government regulations (Romans 13: 1 et seq.). The following principle stands above everything else, however: "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5: 29). Paul adds to this that each one is jointly responsible for the common good (Romans 13: 6).

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