What does the term “obedience” mean to you? Does the word carry a negative connotation with feelings of lost rights and unfair treatment? Do you associate obedience with a lack of control or power, or maybe a feeling of defeat? How we look at the word obedience completely determines how we live our life for God. Any lack of obedience could mean that God really isn’t our Lord but just some nice idea of a loving creator here to serve our needs and pander to our requests.
I started off asking if you have negativity towards obedience because it is there that the battle over selfishness is fought. It has become commonplace to so vehemently stand for one’s rights and opinions that we shade gray the area between the truth of God and the lies of Satan and this world. Many Christians want to openly accept and enjoy the grace of God not realizing or understanding that he requires obedience from us as well. His grace is what we happily receive when we actually accept, honor, and obey him. Grace without obedience is just an open invitation to do wrong and say, “That’s ok…God’s grace will take care of it.” Absolutely not!
While it would be nice if God’s grace were free (meaning just accept it and be done) and many people preach just that, the Bible teaches otherwise. Jesus, in John 14:15 says, ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” He is saying here that we shouldn’t take his love for granted. If we really love him, if we really appreciate his sacrifice and forgiveness, then our obedience to his commands would naturally follow. Likewise, Paul, in Romans chapter 5 refers to grace as a free gift (Romans 5:15), but he also teaches that our reaction to that gift should be obedience. Romans 6:1-2 says, “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”
The Bible is explicit in its instruction that to accept his gift of grace we must put sin and disobedience out of our lives and follow Jesus who gives us the hope of our salvation. Any other response is not really loving God for love is shown through action and not just acceptance. Faith, of course, is required (Hebrews 11:6), but it’s not the only requirement. We must genuinely seek him through the act of obedience.
Obedience and submission to God and his commands is actually a liberating experience. We can let go of always trying to have things just our way and give our lives over to God. And in doing so, we will come into a true understanding of what the words faith and grace really mean.