Finally I am at part 3 in this series about obedience: point 3
3. Often people confuse where and how obedience works in the life of a believer.
Part 1 We have seen how obedience is tied tightly to “forgiveness”, yet now we do not have a “sin” issue with God, but a death issue. For, we already had a system in place that took care of “sin” with the animal sacrifice. Jesus then came and finalized this “system” with His own blood… He was and is the literal Perfect Lamb of God. Jesus is the reality of the shadow that was the “animal sacrificial system”. Again, the issue is that we are “dead in our sin”. So, even forgiven, we are in need of “Life”.
And that Life is from Christ, for all life came from and through Jesus when all things were created.
Part 2 covered that often Christian and people in general confuse obedience with following the Ten Commandments, or doctrines, or traditions. We learned the purpose of the Law was to point out our transgression… and to add transgression. The issues are that some teach a form of godliness that is based on our performance, and denies the works of Jesus or/and many teach false or unsound doctrine as they are passing down traditions and what someone else taught. This can be generational and denominational… in that many have no idea that their view may not be correct… and in all sincerity they attack out of their own ignorance as they have never tackled the teachings or issues themselves. That often this comes from knowing something, yet not understanding something.
This leads us basically to where we are now.
How does obedience work in a believer’s life?
If obedience is not about performance and trying to please God… as is true with religions outside of the teachings in Christianity, how does obedience work in the life of a believer if it does at all? So many are taught that obedience is how we “please God” yet, the teachings of Jesus are very plain that we are to “be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect”, which is THE STANDARD of perfection we must have to keep favor with God by our performance. So, we must look at what and where obedience is in scripture.
The first place I would start is that Jesus learned obedience… this is important. For if we are to be perfect and the only One Who ever met that standard of perfection was Jesus, then we need to see that even Jesus Who was God in the flesh, “learned obedience” and was “made perfect” by the Father. Hebrews 5:
- Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9. and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10. and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. NIV
Notice that we often speak of Jesus as perfect, yet here is says, “once made perfect”. Jesus was perfect, yet not “proven” or one could say, “worthy of being called perfect” until after He learned obedience from what He suffered.
Philippians 2: 6. Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7. but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!
Jesus being God Himself in flesh made Himself nothing… and obeyed the Father… even to the point of placing Himself as a man, in obedience to death. Jesus was obedient.
Jesus lived his life in total dependency on the Father (John 5:19-21) … and that was his obedience. This obedience then opened the door to the Resurrected Life of God.
Rom 5: 16. Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. 18. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.19. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. 20. The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21. so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This passage is rich with the meaning of obedience and how it is to be practiced. To me it hinges all on the phrase in verse 19. “…through the obedience of the one man”. That man is Jesus of course. Notice that it is not our own obedience that makes us righteous, which I have heard taught so many times, but through the obedience of Christ… by Jesus’ obedience we are made right with God. To say our own obedience adds favor for us in Gods eyes, is a slap in the face of the obedience that Jesus “learned”. It is HIS OBEDIENCE that pleased God… to the point of Hebrews saying in chapter 2: 9. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10. In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.
Jesus is the author of our salvation… and the finisher.(Phil 1:4-6) He is the Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and the End.
We are to walk in the obedience of Christ. We are to walk in the commands of Christ… 2 John 1:6-7) John even is kind enough to tell us exactly what this command is…
1 John 3: 23. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
This is the summation Jesus gave in keeping the Ten Commandments. (Matt 22:35-40 Rom 13:9-10)
We are to depend on Jesus for everything, just as He did with the Father when Jesus was here on earth. We are to live in total dependency on Jesus for all things… in that we must also depend on Him for our obedience. This obedience is imputed to us by Grace… bought by the Blood of Jesus. To then not love God… or to not love you neighbor, or as 1 John 2 states: 9. Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 11. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.
As also later 1 John 3: 11. This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
That is why when someone disagrees with me I have no problem, yet if one attacks me on a personal level I ask them to check their hearts. For, if they are coming after me in hate, they are breaking the command of Christ to love their brother.
1 John 4: 11. This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
That is why we are not to judge, for it is not our own righteousness that is to judge, but Christ’s… in that He then is the judge and we only judge others by our lives.
“For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?”(2 Cor 2: 15-16)
We are to live humbly not lifting ourselves up… not doing harm to others. We also must be careful since we are to depend on Christ totally for all things, even His obedience, as we walk in the Spirit we do not place ourselves in opposition to the Law of Love. For if we are not careful we make ourselves the judge over it. In that we have made ourselves equal with God.
James 4: 10. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
11. Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
In closing I want to add that one should not strive to be “obedient”, rather to strive to Love as Scripture teaches “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” Here is the whole context again.
1 John 4: 15. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19. We love because he first loved us. 20. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Your walk is not about “you”, but “Christ in you” as He lives in and through you. As one does that God works out our salvation by His good and perfect will. (Phil 2:12)
1 Cor 4: 3 -5