by Pastor Ence Ragos Jr.
“…gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ …leading to obedience of faith…”
The word obedience brings familiar situations to mind. It is the soldiers’ way of life as they totally submit to their commanding officer. We find servants who carry out the command of their masters. We observe how a child enjoys his privileged position, and yet the same time gives heed to his parent’s instructions. These examples common to human experiences and relationships show us the proper place of trust and obedience in our lives. This is also true as we live a Christian life in the context of our relationship to God. We have been saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9) and there is nothing of human effort that would make us pleasing to God to merit our salvation.
Faith in Christ alone, through His death on the cross is and has been the foundation of all that we are and do in relation to Him. Christ Himself declared in John 6:29, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” He also said, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life…” (John 3:36). Christ equates believing and obeying as essential to having eternal life. This is because apart from believing in Christ, no one will be justified by keeping the law. It took Christ’s perfect obedience and sacrifice on the cross to sufficiently satisfy the demands of God’s justice against sin and ungodliness.
What then is the place of obedience in relation to faith in Christ? Paul declared in Romans that his purpose as an apostle in preaching the gospel is, “…to bring about the obedience to faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake…” (Romans 1:5). The whole point of the gospel and its proclamation is to declare Christ reiterates that we are to “make disciples… teaching them to obey all that I commanded you…” (Matthew 28:20). Contrary to what most people think, coming to Christ by faith is not a mere lip service devoid of the gospel fruit of obedience. Believing in Christ means that we obey Him.
Christ is worthy and deserving of our obedience. The Bible declares that we are “slaves of the one whom we obey…” (Romans 6:16). If we truly know Christ believe in Him by faith, we realize His rightful claim over our lives. His divine Person and perfect holiness demand deep and profound submission of our entire being. Christ’s rebuke to those unwilling to bow to His Lordship was, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” These words should remind us of the seriousness of obeying the One Who deserves our all!
Obedience is a joyful expression of our gratitude and submission to Christ. We could not even begin to comprehend the greatness of His sacrifice and how utterly unworthy we are, unable by any means to repay what He did for us. But once we realize how great debtors we are, our hearts will overflow with gratitude and praise!
Obedience demonstrates our true love for Christ. Christ declared, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments… loves Me, he will keep My word…” (John 14:15, 23). There is no greater motivation for godly obedience than our deep love for Christ. It is His love that “constrains us… to live no longer for ourselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” (2 Corinthians 5:14, 15).
Obedience is proof that we truly know Christ by faith and have become children of God. Children are born into this world apart from their own will and choosing. But as they grow with their families, not only are they are to submit to their parent’s authority, they learn to live according to their guidance and instruction for their own benefit. Christians are chosen according to God’s foreknowledge, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 1:1b, 2a).
The obedience of faith that Paul speaks of calls each on who claim to know Christ, to examine and authenticate the genuineness of one’s profession. This truth reminds us to bring feet to our faith, to show the depth of our allegiance and submission to Christ.
Do we truly revere Him as Lord? Is our devotion to Him springing from a heart brimming with joy, love and zeal for His Name? How much of our service is infused and energized with a deep-seated desire to honor and glorify Him? May we realize that we, as Christians are the very letter read by men. So the challenge for us is to live out the gospel in our daily life and experience!