The Gospel Requires Obedience

This is a huge issue in the Bible. We have already looked at the requirement of repentance (which implies living a new life of obedience) and the real possibility of not sinning (which includes the clear teaching that we must not rationalise ongoing sin.) However, many passages are quite explicit about the necessity of obedience. Three times in John 14 Jesus said that we show our love for Him by obeying Him. John 14:15 If you love me, keep my commands. John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. Anyone who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. John 14:23-24 Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. John repeated this in his letters. See 1 John 5:2-3 and 2 John 6. Loving God with all our heart, soul and mind, is the first and greatest commandment – the number one thing that Christians want to do. Obedience is the way to demonstrate that love. Dismissing God’s word so as to disobey can never qualify as love for God. If God says “No” and we say “Yes” that is not love. It is not love for God nor love for neighbour. Love for God is manifested by our willingness to believe and obey His word. There are many commands to obey but two that stand out in this context are that we love our neighbours and we make disciples i.e. we seek to bring them to repentance and faith. The difference between the builder who built on the sand and the one who built on the rock (Matthew 7:24-27) was obedience. Jesus described them as “everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice” and “everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice”. Both groups hear. The difference between them is simply whether or not they obey them. People will argue that this is salvation by works. That is, of course, not the case. We are saved by grace through faith and, quite explicitly, not by works. Nevertheless, we are saved to do works. Ephesians 2:8-10 8  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God –  9  not by works, so that no one can boast. 10  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. It is our works that reveal the reality of our faith. James 2:14, 17, 18 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if people claim to have faith but have no deeds? Can such faith save them?... faith, by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead… Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by what I do. Importantly, in Romans 2, following the Romans 1 revelation that homosexual activity is a prime evidence of rejection of God, Paul condemns the readers of his letter because they do the same things they condemn in others. They have known God’s mercy but have not realised that that was intended to lead them to repentance. In that context, Paul says they are storing up wrath against themselves. God, he says, “will repay everyone according to what they have done”. The passage goes on to talk about those who do good receiving eternal life and those who are self-seeking and follow evil, receiving wrath and anger. Our obedience is crucial when it comes to judgement. It is hard to overstate the importance of this. When there are so many arguments saying that Christians do not need to obey God’s word on homosexuality, we must not be misled. The biblical teaching is that faith leads to good works; repentance means (by definition) living a new life; and we will be judged on the basis of our works. Those who justify disobedience are denying the biblical teaching about the need for obedience, and are blinding people to the reality of future judgement. Titus 2:11-14 11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. People have long tried to argue that ongoing sin is somehow a good thing. Paul addressed it twice in Romans 6. He responds to the person who says that if we are saved by grace then the more I sin the more of God’s grace I will experience (Romans 6:1), and the person who argued that we can sin because we are no longer under the law. Both times, Paul responded with a horrified “By no means!” Indeed, the primary message of that chapter is about dying to sin. Christians who have been united with Christ have been incorporated into His death, thereby dying to sin, and set free from sin. Equally, Christians have been raised with Christ to new life. Three points are important. Firstly, and quite obviously, those who are dead to sin must not keep living in sin (6:2). Secondly, if we have been set free from the power of sin, we can no longer claim that we cannot help sinning. We are no longer slaves to sin. Sin becomes a choice, not an inevitability. Indeed, Paul urged his readers to think of themselves as being dead to sin (6:11) and exhorted them to not let sin reign in their mortal bodies (6:12). Thirdly, the new life to which we have been raised is to be lived to God (6:11). Christians are to offer every part of themselves to God as instruments of righteousness (6:13). Our bodies are to be dedicated to God and used for good.

Related pages

© 2017 Peter Cheyne
A Christian’s Guide To Homosexuality
Truth In Love
Main sections Main sections

The Gospel Requires

Obedience

This is a huge issue in the Bible. We have already looked at the requirement of repentance (which implies living a new life of obedience) and the real possibility of not sinning (which includes the clear teaching that we must not rationalise ongoing sin.) However, many passages are quite explicit about the necessity of obedience. Three times in John 14 Jesus said that we show our love for Him by obeying Him. John 14:15 If you love me, keep my commands. John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. Anyone who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. John 14:23-24 Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. John repeated this in his letters. See 1 John 5:2-3 and 2 John 6. Loving God with all our heart, soul and mind, is the first and greatest commandment – the number one thing that Christians want to do. Obedience is the way to demonstrate that love. Dismissing God’s word so as to disobey can never qualify as love for God. If God says “No” and we say “Yes” that is not love. It is not love for God nor love for neighbour. Love for God is manifested by our willingness to believe and obey His word. There are many commands to obey but two that stand out in this context are that we love our neighbours and we make disciples i.e. we seek to bring them to repentance and faith. The difference between the builder who built on the sand and the one who built on the rock (Matthew 7:24-27) was obedience. Jesus described them as “everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice” and “everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice”. Both groups hear. The difference between them is simply whether or not they obey them. People will argue that this is salvation by works. That is, of course, not the case. We are saved by grace through faith and, quite explicitly, not by works. Nevertheless, we are saved to do works. Ephesians 2:8-10 8  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God –  9   not by works, so that no one can boast. 10  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. It is our works that reveal the reality of our faith. James 2:14, 17, 18 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if people claim to have faith but have no deeds? Can such faith save them?... faith, by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead… Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by what I do. Importantly, in Romans 2, following the Romans 1 revelation that homosexual activity is a prime evidence of rejection of God, Paul condemns the readers of his letter because they do the same things they condemn in others. They have known God’s mercy but have not realised that that was intended to lead them to repentance. In that context, Paul says they are storing up wrath against themselves. God, he says, “will repay everyone according to what they have done”. The passage goes on to talk about those who do good receiving eternal life and those who are self- seeking and follow evil, receiving wrath and anger. Our obedience is crucial when it comes to judgement. It is hard to overstate the importance of this. When there are so many arguments saying that Christians do not need to obey God’s word on homosexuality, we must not be misled. The biblical teaching is that faith leads to good works; repentance means (by definition) living a new life; and we will be judged on the basis of our works. Those who justify disobedience are denying the biblical teaching about the need for obedience, and are blinding people to the reality of future judgement. Titus 2:11-14 11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self- controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. People have long tried to argue that ongoing sin is somehow a good thing. Paul addressed it twice in Romans 6. He responds to the person who says that if we are saved by grace then the more I sin the more of God’s grace I will experience (Romans 6:1), and the person who argued that we can sin because we are no longer under the law. Both times, Paul responded with a horrified “By no means!” Indeed, the primary message of that chapter is about dying to sin. Christians who have been united with Christ have been incorporated into His death, thereby dying to sin, and set free from sin. Equally, Christians have been raised with Christ to new life. Three points are important. Firstly, and quite obviously, those who are dead to sin must not keep living in sin (6:2). Secondly, if we have been set free from the power of sin, we can no longer claim that we cannot help sinning. We are no longer slaves to sin. Sin becomes a choice, not an inevitability. Indeed, Paul urged his readers to think of themselves as being dead to sin (6:11) and exhorted them to not let sin reign in their mortal bodies (6:12). Thirdly, the new life to which we have been raised is to be lived to God (6:11). Christians are to offer every part of themselves to God as instruments of righteousness (6:13). Our bodies are to be dedicated to God and used for good.

Related pages

© Peter Cheyne 2017.
A Christian’s Guide To Homosexuality
Truth In Love
Site Menu Site Menu