Obedience to God
Many of us have been told that the goal of our faith is that we would be made more obedient to God. Have you ever wondered what that means, exactly?
Every sermon I can recall hearing which addressed the topic of obeying God has equated it with obedience to a moral code of conduct. As much as new covenant teachers try to emphasize God’s grace, it seems we can’t get away from the tendency to observe our own moral conduct with concern.
As popular as the idea is that obedience to God is equivalent to obeying a moral code—I don’t think it can best be described this way. I believe it speaks to a deeper issue.
First, I’d like to propose that obedience to God is simply a matter of us coming into agreement with Him. But agreement over what?
God’s desire with Adam and Eve wasn’t their adherence to a moral code—it was to have a loving relationship with them. That plan hasn’t changed. He wants to have the same with us.
The relationship He had with Adam wasn’t lost because of disobedience. Consider for a moment what would have happened if Adam had eaten from the forbidden tree, but continued to embrace God as his loving Father. He would still have been guilty of disobeying a moral code, but it would not have destroyed his relationship with God. Their relationship was damaged not when Adam disobeyed, but when he forgot that he was God’s beloved son and hid from Him. The enemy’s chief tactic against us has always been to call into question God’s love for us and suggest that we are not loved, and not His sons.
The real trick the enemy pulled off that day was not convincing Adam to disobey God’s orders. It was convincing him that God did not love him anymore. Not surprisingly, the serpent tried to question the identity of the second Adam, but failed miserably, because Jesus knew exactly who He was and how much the Father loved Him.
How many of us have avoided drawing closer to God out of fear that He may not love us?
Sin is a real problem, but it results from our failure to understand who we are. It’s an identity problem. All our effort to avoid sin will not free us from it. But when we fully grasp the reality of our identity as beloved children of God—and when we begin to live from that reality—sin no longer has power over us.
Obedience to God is perhaps best understood as coming into full agreement with everything He says we are. It’s embracing our true identity and accepting the fact that we are unconditionally loved and completely accepted by our heavenly Father.
This reality should make obeying God a joy, and not a chore.
Oh, I loved reading this one, PM. Absolutely!
Profound word! Thanks!!!
PM, this has profound global implications for how the Church presents the gospel. It fits right in with the growing awareness of how shame affects people and cultures, and how the gospel addresses shame as well as guilt. See the issue of “Mission Frontiers” on this subject which I helped put together a year ago: missionfrontiers.org/issue/archive/the-power-of-honor
Another facet of your insight here is that Adam and Eve’s *guilt* took them from the place of highest honor to a place of deepest *shame*, and this shame made them unable to believe God’s love for them.
Throughout the Gospels we see our brother Jesus (and our Father) reaching out to those upon whom society heaps shame, and counting as nothing those esteemed by the world. This truly is unbelievably good news to the humble.
… truly “unbelievable” to men and women living in shame. Without the work of God’s Spirit, no one can comprehend or accept such good news.
Fortunately the Holy Spirit is just as ready to work in hearts as Jesus was to die for them, and the Father is to receive them.
Robby! Reading the article you posted too, (really, the whole PDF file on Honor/Shame) and it’s blowing my Western-trained mind up in a really great way. How fun to take off a veil of my cultural glasses to see something “old” (the gospel, and in fact the entire Bible) in a completely different light.
Good observations, Robby. Thanks!
Deep! Profound! Amen 🙂
The Truth sets us free, to be who we are created to be. A great reminder
I’m so glad that the Holy Spirit is sharing the same message across!
Incidentally (maybe not) I posted on the very same subject here:
I’m amazed at the agreement in revelation to this.
Glory be to God!
So PM, my wife and I have been on both sides of the religious fence in our lives. First, we grew up in traditional churches, then moved on to more charasmatic church settings. Both left us feeling empty. I has not been until the last few months that we have started studying the bible in greater detail that we have uncovered absolute gems in scripture that have led us to hunger so much more for the word of God and not just a show on Sundays. I believe that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I do not believe that He changes His mind on things in scripture. We’ve been taught that the New Covenant has done away with the Old Covenant, but is that really the case? All I can say is since we have started studying on our own and reading the bible more in context and have started to decipher some of the difficult scriptures where it seems to be contradicting itself we have found that there is an importance in the New Testament of keeping the commandments of the Old Testament. There have been so many questions on our journey in Christianity and I have so much more that I could share, but I am convinced that God’s commandments are still valid for us today. I don’t feel burdened by following them, if anything I feel honored to try to follow them as best as I know how and it’s brought about a deeper meaning in my own life of how much He really loves us and has wanted to bring us back to Him all along. Traditions of man have kept us away from His true heart. If you really love Him you will obey His commandments (John 14:15). I’d love to get some of your thoughts on this PM as our entire way of believing things has really changed. We’ve been pretty much thrown out of our church because of our belief in the scriptures. Seems that if you have questions they are not supposed to be asked regarding the church.
I want to walk again and be made hold.
I’m praying for you.