Saturday, August 25, 2007

# 215: Obedience

# 215: Obedience Exposing false teachings is what this blog is about. And one of the most disturbing travesties of all, which has been mentioned dozens of times herein, is omitting the importance of obedience as an intricate part of God’s plan of Salvation. Some of the arguments that make light of obedience are the following: obedience only gives a person rewards; who is totally obedient to all that is commanded in Scripture?; lack of obedience cannot do away with Christ’s work on the cross; if Christianity depended on obedience, what happened to grace?; if Christianity depended on obedience, there would be no one who qualified, since all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God; when we don’t obey, Christ’s blood covers that sin; how can we not sin, since all humans are flawed? I am certain there are dozens upon dozens more illegitimate excuses that negate obedience as a primary condition in verifying we are God’s holy children.

The reason obedience is not preached or enforced to any degree by conventional churches—they are the ones who mostly are the culprits—is because the laity does not desire to hear about their personal failures and weaknesses; they would rather be told how blessed they are to have God’s favor, and for being members of such a dedicated and caring church.

Isn’t it funny that there is not one Biblical verse that says, "It is only human to disobey,” or “It is okay to disobey"? But there are about 45 verses that say the exact opposite. I will undertake the arduous task of listing the vast majority of verses that stress obedience.

This is the functional part that obedience plays in the lives of all born-again Christians: When we repent of our sins, we accept that Jesus Christ died for the sins of all who believe/have faith in His redemptive work on the cross; that belief is the initial action that gives us Salvation. Many people stop there by not living up to the remainder of Scripture which tells what the result of that life-saving belief. When that belief is real, love for God and for our fellow man/woman will be one result of our initial belief, along with our obedience to all that is taught (commanded) in the New Testament. That is the needed response, or better yet, the result of our love for God and neighbor. We cannot display our love without action, and obedience is the active part which confirms that love. Words of love alone don’t count for beans, except when they coincide with our obedience. Does that make sense to you? If it doesn’t, just continue reading to see all the upcoming hardcore, Biblical evidence.

We must know what Christ’s teachings are and what commands we have to obey before we can put our obedience into its proper prospective. The reason obedience is stressed as much as it is in Scripture is because God, Christ and the Bible writers knew in advance that disobedience could/would be the weak link and downfall of many. Without the knowledge of many, obedience is the most difficult and the most avoided segment, to say the least, in living the Christian life. Here are a few of the posts that tell what our obligation is along with, as already mentioned, how much obedience is emphasized: posts # 197, 142, 92, 76, 57, 31. There may be some redundancy in a few of those posts, but bear with me; most likely the majority of us need it.

This post is mainly for those who don’t know why or what to obey or believe. Then some may believe it is not necessary to obey except when it's convenient, since they already have been saved; to them, this post will be the most shocking of all that has been written thus far.

I will say no more, but just let the New Testament speak—since this is a Biblical blog—as it tells why continued obedience is an imperative (absolutely essential) part of the genuine Christian life.

1) Romans 1:5. ". . . to the obedience that comes from faith."

2) Romans 6:16 ". . .you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness."

3) 2nd Corinthians 9:13. ". . . men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ . . . ."

4) 2nd Corinthians 10:6. "And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete."

5) Hebrews 5:8-9. "Although he [Christ] was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and once made perfect, he became the source of eternal life for all who obey him." If we were to forget all others verses, we must keep this one in mind at all times.

6) 2nd John 6. "And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands."

7) 2nd Corinthians 2:9. "The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything."

8) 2nd Corinthians 7:15. "And his affection for you is all the greater when he remembers you were all obedient, receiving him in fear and trembling."

9) 2nd Corinthians 10:5. ". . . and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

10) Titus 3:1. ". . . to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good . . . ."

11) 1st Peter 1:14. "As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance."

12) Matthew 28:20. "And teaching them to obey everything I [Jesus] have commanded you."

13) Luke 11:28. "He replied, ‘Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’"

14) John 14:15. "If you love me, you will obey what I command."

15) John 14:23-24. "Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching . . . He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.’"

16) John 15:10. "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love."

17) John 15:20-21. "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also."

18) Acts 5:19. "We must obey God rather than men [church leaders]."

19) Acts 5:32. "We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him." Do you and I possess God’s Holy Spirit? Answer: only if our lives are lived in holy obedience as commanded in the New Testament.

20) Romans 15:18. "I will not venture to speak except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done."

21) Romans 16:26. ". . . by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him."

22) 2nd Thessalonians 1:8-9. "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will punish with everlasting destruction and shutout from the presence of the Lord . . . ."

23) 2nd Thessalonians 3:14. "If anyone does not obey our instructions in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed."

24) 1st Peter 4-18: "For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is hard for the righteous to be save, what will become of the ungodly and sinner?"

25) 1st Peter 1:2. ". . . who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and the sprinkling of his blood."

26) 1st John 2:3 "We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands."

27) 1 John 3:22. ". . . and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him."

28) 1 John 3:24. "Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them."

29) 1st John 5:3-4. "This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome. For everyone born of God has overcome the world."

30) Revelation 3:3. "Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it and repent."

31) Revelation 12:17. "Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus."

32) Revelation 14:12. "This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commands and remain faithful to Jesus."

33) John 15:10. "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love."

34) John 15:14. "You are my friends if you do what I command."

35) Romans 6:17. "But thanks be to God, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted."

36) Philippians 2:12. "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obey—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Salvation is something we must already have, in order to work it out.

37) 1st Peter 1:22. "Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart."

38) 1st John 2:5. "But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him."

39) John 14:21. "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who love me." Those who do not obey Jesus do not love God, even though they may claim to love Him.

40) Hebrews 4:11 "Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, [eternity], so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience."

41) Ephesians 2:2. ". . . when you followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient." Who are you and I working for? Our obedience will tell.

42) Ephesians 5:6. "Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient."

43) Ephesians 5:12. "For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret."

44) Titus 1:16. "They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good."

45) 1st Peter 2:8. "They stumbled because they disobeyed the message—which is also what they were destined for." It seems disobedience is the common denominator for doing evil in all aspects of the Christian life.

4 comments:

Steve said...

A very interesting blog. James 2:18-20 speaks directly regarding faith without works being a dead faith; however, Paul in Romans 7:15-25 speaks all to authoritatively on the human condition, even as a believer - "For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish." - Rom 7:19. If Paul cannot be obedient, what hope do we have? The danger inherent here is that without acknowledging grace, we're back to where we all started from - simply striving to be good. An important question is how do I know I am being obedient? What standard of right and wrong should I adhere to to tell me that I have arrived? If we simply seek to be "obedient" with no other direction or teaching, we will find, with potentially devastating results, that we are trying to live to a standard that the Lord has already shown us we cannot obtain.

God's peace upon all,
Steve

al thinker said...

Steve,

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment that is believed by many, thus giving me an opportunity to give you and others the scriptural point of view. Please click onto post # 76: “An Excuse That Makes Sin Acceptable.” If you are even slightly familiar with the Old Testament, in conjunction with the New Testament, that post will clarify what Paul is saying in Romans 7th chapter, that is if you possess God’s Holy Spirit.

People have been justifying their weakness for their inabilities to live as the Bible commands since the first century by that portion of Scripture. I can almost guarantee, once you read #76, you will agree with what Christ says through that post.

Concerning obedience: as has been made know many times in this blog, obedience is confirmation of our love and faith in God through Jesus Christ. Apart from that, obedience would be something we adhere to as a means of justification; at that point, we would nullify Christ’s work on the cross. You see, if we truly love and worship God with our whole being, obedience would come automatically/naturally.

As to what is the criteria for obedience, the New Testament is extremely descriptive as to what we are and are not to obey. That knowledge comes through reading and rereading the New Testament. A short-cut can be had by reading the six posts from “Religion’s Crime Against God” I suggested in post # 215: “Obedience.” What commands and teachings, we, as born-again disciples of Christ, are to be obedient to, has been my forte for the last thirty years or so, with no excuses.

As to your last comment, concerning “the Lord has already shown us we cannot obtain” I have never read that statement anywhere in the New Testament. There are a multitude of verses that say the opposite. For example: “Be perfect for I am perfect.” “Aim for perfection” and many, many more that depicts the high standards we are to continually keep as our holy grail.

You won’t hear this type of talk from the majorities of pulpits, because that would disqualify many as being born-again.

I am very thankful you wrote to the comment line, so that I can express what the New Testament teaches apart from the bias which much of organized religion expounds. That is what this blog is all about. If you find some more questionable stuff written herein, please leave another comment.

I pray God will bless you richly

althinker

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