Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why Obedience?

Initially, upon having a revelation of grace, I had a lot of unlearning to do.

Well, I am not so sure that it was unlearning, as it was learning to trust, depend, and rely on Christ alone. The core of my experience was knowing theoretically that Christ loved me apart from my behavior, but I believed that was only for my conversion; to woo me in. I didn't realize it, but I viewed God's love as something He used to bait me with, but once I bit down on it, I was to become His employee. I had to discipline myself to believe that it was because of Christ alone that God continues to give me his favor and love. It's because of Christ alone that I am a not a slave, but a son.

I am not writing here to say that faith was wrong. By no means. I continue to search out the depth of God's love. However, there were some things I picked up along the way that are wrong.

Such as?

Such as the belief that there are no "shoulds" for the believer; that there are no commands.

There are indeed commands and "shoulds", but they ought to be built on a foundation of grace, knowing that it is not our behavior that gives us good status with God.

Jesus shows us this in Luke 17:7-10

“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’?
Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

There are commands. However, if you obey commands, don't suppose it will earn you a better status with God. Christ is your status with God, and the commands you obey, are not to be obeyed with the belief that you will somehow get some bonus points. Remember the laborers in the vineyard? Those who worked twelve hours had the same pay as those who worked only one hour.

We obey, but we obey from the heart. Not from compulsion, but from the freedom we have in Christ.

This has got to be the toughest discipline that I have not yet acquired. I want to obey, but no one, not even God, will make me obey. I can only choose to. And the "reward" is the action itself. (There may be rewards for us upon the return of Christ, but Paul is very vague on the subject.)

I can choose to have joy in my spirit by obeying God, or I can choose for my spirit to be in torment by obeying sin.

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