In the last blog on The Plow we went into detail concerning obedience. The topic of obedience is not meant to lay a foundation for legalism or bondage to rules and regulations. Rather obedience is our rules of engagement as soldiers for the kingdom. In order to make a difference, to be used by God, to be who we are meant to be, we need to be obedient. We are not obedient to a tyrant who asks us to be obedient just for fun. No, we are obedient because God loves us and wants what is best for us and the kingdom. We obey in love through the love given to us.
The Scriptures also speak on the negative side of obedience, disobedience:
- Wrath will come to the disobedient: But to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness – indignation and wrath. (Romans 2:8)
- Those who are disobedient are foolish and bewitched: O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? (Galatians 3:1)
- Vengeance will come upon the disobedient: In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 8)
- Shame comes to the disobedient: And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.
- (2 Thessalonians 3:14)
- Judgment will come to the disobedient: For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)
Why would the Scriptures be so clear on speaking forth obedience of the saints if the Church is not meant to teach on it? The Ministry Manifesto orders the leadership of the Church to teach on obedience, and the disciples of Jesus to be obedient. A careful study of Romans 6 will instruct the disciple how he can be obedient. Romans 7 tells the believer that self cannot be obedient. And Romans 8 illustrates the obedient life controlled by the Holy Spirit. The commands are meant to be taught and obeyed.
Andrew Murray in his book Abide in Christ gives this encouragement:
“And if even for a moment the commandments appear grievous, just remember whose they are. They are the commandments of Him who loves you. They are all love; they come from His love; they lead to His love. Each new surrender to keep the commandments, each new sacrifice in keeping them, leads to a deeper union with the will, the spirit, and the love of the Savior. The double recompense of reward will be yours – a fuller entrance into the mystery of His love, a fuller conformity to His own blessed life. And you will learn to prize these words as among your choicest treasures: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” (Emphasis in the original)
In the next installment of this series we will look at the Great Commission.