What does God want of us? God answers that question. He has made it clear from the beginning until now that He wants our love, our trust, and our obedience.
Adam and Eve were commanded to care for the Garden of Eden,to enjoy its fruit, but not to eat “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” — a tree which drew the boundary between good and evil. When they ate of that tree, they were driven in shame from the Garden and suffered death (Gen.2-3).
Later, God commended Abraham as one who “will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment” (Gen. 18:19). That is what God wants of all men.
The Bible is full of passages summarizing what God wants of us. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13). Our love,trust, and respect for God are shown by obeying His Word. Though God commands formal worship, He also teaches us to translate our worship into daily action. Jesus said, “My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it” (Lk 8:21). And again Jesus said, “Yes rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it” (Lk 11:28).
When God taught the Jews to bring animal sacrifices for sin,He made it clear that “thousands of rams” were no substitute for sincere, daily submission to His will. “And Samuel said, “Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (1 Sam 15:22).
Jesus summed it all up in these words: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matt. 22:37-40). We cannot love God until we first obey God. This is the fundamental principle of the scripture! “Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (Jn 14:15).
Knowing we have sinned and yet wanting us to be saved, God sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross, be buried and on the third day,rise again (Jn 3:16 f; 1 Cor 15:1-4). God desires all men to hear this gospel,believe and confess Jesus to be the Christ (the Messiah), repent of our sins and have them washed away by the means of baptism (immersion) (Rom 10:9-10 ff; Acts 17:30; Acts 22:16).
When we obey these first steps of the gospel, God adds us to the church of Christ, and then teaches us how to worship Him and how to live for Him each day. (Acts 2:47 f; Jn 4:23-24) Thus, He redeems us from the destiny of hell, and leads us to an eternal home in heaven. Ultimately, that is what God wants: for us to spend eternity with Him in heaven! We cannot achieve heaven until we first obey the gospel of Christ, worship God in spirit and in truth, endure trials and persecutions for the cause of Christ, and remain faithful unto death (Mk 16:16 ff; Jn 4:23-24; Jam 1:12; Rev 2:10).