The Way to Obedience
Updated: Dec 12, 2019
by Pastor Tim Gamston
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20, ESV)
The only obedience to God that glorifies him and pleases him is obedience that rests in his promises. Obedience out of duty, or fear of punishment (either divine or human punishment) doesn’t glorify God.
We know that because Paul writes…
Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23, ESV)
and Hebrews 11:6 says…
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6, ESV)
What that means for us is that when we are confronted with a hard thing that needs to be done, we have to take hold of a promise from God and believe it. We have to believe a promise that directly relates to the hard thing God is calling us to do.
We saw on Sunday morning, from the lives of Mary and Joseph, that for them the hard thing was submitting to God’s will to bring God’s son into the world and raise him in their family. It would require costly obedience. But it was costly obedience based on faith in God’s word to them. His word told them that they didn’t need to fear, for God was sovereignly directing their lives.
We saw that this faith comes from Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He is the example of faith and the enabler of faith.
What is the Lord asking you to do? As you read his word, what command is he asking you to obey? It may be that he’s asking you to love someone who’s hard to love. It may be that he’s asking you to use your time to serve his people, or to use your money to further his kingdom. It may be that he’s asking you to break off a friendship which is damaging your walk with him. It may be that he’s asking you to be more committed to his people and to pray more regularly for the church.
The next question is what promise is he giving to you alongside the command? What promise is he expecting you to believe so that you can obey him? It maybe that he’s assuring you of his love for you so that you are free to love. It may be that he’s promising to give you all you need so that you can use your time and money for his kingdom. It maybe that he’s promising you closer friendship with him so that you are free to break off the friendship that’s damaging your soul. Maybe he’s promising you the assurance of hearing him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” so that you can give more time to pray for his people.
Obedience to God flows out of believing the promises of God.