William Ames summed up the Reformed position when he said that “theology is the doctrine of living unto God”, that is theology is the examination of the revelation that God has allowed of his person and that such a revelation has been made for the purpose that we may seek to conform to his likeness and being. The Lord said “If you love me you will keep my commandments” and to discern and keep those commandments out of Love is the way that we are told to express our Love for God.
Theology is therefore an attempt to understand the nature, attributes and commands of God and is itself at least to some extent the very reason for existence. Some people see theology as a distraction from the important things in life such as survival, good works and love but the opposite is true We should seek to survive in order to continue to bring glory to God through understanding his person (theology), our good works must be in accordance to his will (theology) and the greatest commandment is to love God, which should be shown by obeying his commandments (theology).
God has made known his person and commands through his revelation to mankind that is recorded in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. This revelation was not a general revelation to all mankind but specific revelations to specific people who God chose to be his people. This revelation took the form of covenants, that is a one sided agreement between God and man where God for his own good reasons makes promises to his people. History started with the Covenant of works between God and Adam. When man broke this covenant God inaugurated the Covenant of Grace whereby he promised gratuitous bounty to man, this same covenant was later expressed to Noah, Abraham, Moses and David and finally through Jesus Christ to the Church. Works are a response to grace, never a condition of cause of grace.
The law, that is the Levitical rules and perceptive commands such as the ten commandments are important as they show what sin is and show man the need for grace. Without law grace would have no meaning man only being aware of his need for grace and of the glory of God through the condemnation of the law. The elements of the law that were ceremonial were intended to foreshadow and announce the incarnation of Christ and these elements (i.e. temple sacrifice and the complex laws of separation) therefore became redundant when Christ was incarnated and could instead be worshipped in person, not through shadow. The balance of the laws that set forth mans moral responsibilities should be obeyed to show our love for God, never in order to receive any element of grace.
Man has been given an intellect by God in order that, when his eyes are opened to God's revelation, he may understand (to the extent allowed by revelation) the glory of God. This understanding is through the exercise of theology in order that man may show his love of God by obeying God's commandments, again identified through theology. Theology is therefore of the utmost importance as it is the route by which we approach God, any other approach that is not based on a consideration of God’s revelation is merely a short road to idol worship.