Obedience

 

If we are to be obedient to the commandments of God then we must die to sin. There is really no other way. The Apostle Paul wrote:

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.   (Romans 6:9-14)

Yes, we have been saved by grace through faith. How do we interpret that grace? Does it mean a free pass from the consequences of sin? Paul continues:

What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.   (Romans 6:15-18)

As a famous song writer has written and sung: “You have to serve someone.” Jesus, while on the earth, had to make the same choices that we are required to make. In the Book of Hebrews we read:

Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.   (Hebrews 5:8-10)

We have seen saved so that we might be given the power to defeat sin. We have been saved to obey God. Jesus said:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘LordLord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.   (Matthew 7:21)

Jesus has given us the power of the Holy Spirit to help us. To receive this power, however, me must seek to obey the commandments of God. In the Book of Acts we have this testimony from the Apostle Peter to the high priest:

God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”   (Acts 5:31-32)

We are required by God to mature in the faith. From Hebrews:

Therefore let us go on toward perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation: repentance from dead works and faith toward God, instruction about baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And we will do this, if God permits. For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, since on their own they are crucifying again the Son of God and are holding him up to contempt.   (Hebrews 6:1-6) 

Disobedience has serious consequences. Fortunately, God has given us serious help to overcome it. Jesus said:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.   (John 14:15-17)

Our calling is to believe the Gospel and love Jesus. When we spend time in his presence he will help us keep his commandments. Nonetheless, we have to want to keep his commandments. We have to be willing to die to ourselves and live by the Spirit whom Jesus supplies on a daily basis. Defeating sin is a struggle. If left to our own devices we will never be able to keep the commandments of God. But we are not alone. Paul writes:

Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!   (Romans 7:24-25)

We must die to sin. The way this happens is when we are made alive in Christ each and every day.