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What We Believe About Obedience
Obedience that is motivated by anything other than we were loved first and gratitude for the gift of salvation that comes through faith is legalistic and wrong. Such motivation makes the work of Christ for us less than it actually is. Our only motivation should be indeed to live a life that says thank you for not only the gift of grace, our salvation, but any other blessings that come as a result of the sacrifice of Christ.
At no time can anyone say I have earned, or I deserve, or I am being blessed, or God is rewarding me for some perceived obedience. Doing so would not only cheapen that sacrifice but also place God in our debt for something we feel we had done. Not to mention it would leave God less than He is. When we claim God is sovereign, we claim that he acts, wills and purposes independent of anything man does or will do.
To think that we can live in a way to make us deserving or make God happy with us is also a point not only of cheapening Christ's sacrifice, but also of cheapening God himself and His law. The law is a reflection of God's character, which is perfection.
By saying that we can keep God's law and claim an obedience that will make Him happy with us is to claim a law that does not reflect God. Thus, in effect we lower God's standard of perfection to something obtainable and cheapen the law. Because the law reflects God's character is why we must rely on His grace in order not only to live it, but to respond gently with His mercy to ourselves and others when we fail to do so.
The work of Christ was sufficient in and of itself. There is nothing more to do or that needs to be done. His work satisfied God’s need for justice, that our failure to live in a way to please God brought.
Christ died for us, not because we were good, or could make ourselves respectable to God, but because we could not. Therefore, to say that now more must be done, or that there is need for us to do more is not making it about Jesus, and as a result, it really amounts to nothing at all done to bring us closer to God.
If such works were not needed before we came to Christ, they are not needed after. For God needs nothing from us. We came into the relationship through the grace of God offered freely to us through Christ, and we continue forward in this relationship freely under the power and strength of the Holy Spirit working through us.
It is never about our failed obedience, for in truth we will always be, more often than not, unprofitable in such attempts and often found forgetting that our sins were forgiven. That is why it must always be about the only One who lived in perfect obedience. So that now when God looks upon us, He sees neither our failed attempts nor our great attempts at obedience, but always the imputed righteousness of Christ that came through the ultimate performance given by Christ.
To say that we must do something that amounts to keeping God happy is nothing more than our arrogance, and our narcissistic nature that continues to make us think we need to be approved of; or constantly taken notice of. Such arrogance keeps us from not only resting totally in the Blood of Christ for our salvation, but it also keeps us from believing and accepting that there is nothing left to do, really, after we come to Christ!
Our obedience is not the point; Christ's obedience was. We are no longer condemned when we are in Christ Jesus. Nor, can anything separate us from the love of God, including our own disobedience or lack of Holiness. As a result, we no longer make excuses, defend or justify our failures. So does that mean we should not be obedient, or choose not to give sin power in our lives? NO! Nor does it mean we should not choose to recognize the old way of thinking or living, or acting as dead to us now.
The Bible is very clear that we are to recognize our old ways as dead and to make choices that reflect we are now in a relationship with God. Paul constantly compares the way we used to live to the way we should live in Christ specifically to show that we were once the servants of Satan, but now we should look at ourselves as servants of God.
Christ said that those who love Him to keep His commandments, and that the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to remind us of those commandments and to keep peace in our hearts when we fail.
So why be obedient now? Why do anything at all? Because we have been freed to be able to do so. The cages have been destroyed; the doors have been opened and we have been set free.
We have been set free to be able to be what God intended us to be; that begins with the worship of Him and the obedience that comes out of that worship. We do not obey to get His love, but because we have it, we can now obey Him out of love.
Even when the believer does not feel like doing something, he should, simply because it is the right thing to do. However, because our minds are deceitful beyond our abilities to conceive, rarely will our motives be pure. As a result, this type of obedience cannot bring about or be used towards claiming a righteousness of our own.
So, each moment the first choice we must make is not to tighten our shoelaces in order to get ready to go, or do in our own strength or our own abilities, but to accept that we cannot. We cannot live in a way that pleases God without the grace that He so freely gives us.
This is a grace given freely, regardless of the response of the giver. The second choice is to every day choose whether to serve the one who demanded our service or the One who now loves us in spite of whether we respond in kind.
To continue, though, to make choices that reveal that we once were God’s enemies, is a choice to be enslaved again. The only choices that represent the freedom God has now given us are choices that reflect that we are indeed thankful that we now have the freedom to say thank you for loving me even when I could not even truly love myself. These types of choices always result in us offering our bodies as living conduits, in which Christ lives through us, to point others to God’s glory and the cross.
God is never pleased with sin, wrong choices or disobedience. To say that He is, would be to say that God is pleased with sin. God hates sin and cannot look upon it.
God is not in the sin business; He is in the giving business. Giving freely of His grace, mercy and love to all of those who are unprofitable and imperfect. He truly has given all that His beloved need to live this Christian life.
He is in the shaping business, working all things to our best as He shapes us into how He created us to be. God is not in the punishing, nor does in which He uses to hammer His children into shape. He is in the molding business, molding us through mercy, grace and love into His masterpieces.
Our obedience should never be used as a tool in which to determine whether others obedience measures up or if we are living a life in which we can say we are doing something.
Nor, should we use our obedience as a standard to compare the obedience of others. Christ obedience is always that standard.
Should we be obedient? Yes! In fact, we should now more so than ever, because of the grace freely given! The price was expensive and it was paid through the blood of the perfect lamb and it is really is now the least we can do.
Yet, when we fail, and we will, we can rest in God's grace knowing that he does not deal with us according to such failures but according to the righteousness of Christ. When we feel as though we have stumbled all over ourselves, we can find mercy, peace and His love in knowing that all of the time when He looks upon us it is with same delight He looks upon Christ with.
Isaiah 61:1; Matthew 11:28; Luke 4:18; John 10:28; 14:23-31; 16:12-14; Acts 17:24-28; Romans 5:1-2,6-8,9,18-21; 6:1,11-23; 8:1-3,30-39; 11:6; 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 3:4-6; 5:14-21; Galatians 3:1-4,17-21; 5:1-3,13-26; Ephesians 2:2,8-18; 4:17-32; Philippians 1:6; Colossians 1:11; Hebrews 11:6; 1 Peter 1:13-25; 2:12; 2 Peter 1:1-11; 1 John 2:3-6; 4:9; 5:2-3,13