OBEYING THE WORD OF THE LORD
Obedience has always been required by God--obedience to His Word. It was required of Adam and Eve in the Edenic paradise. God commanded, and they were to obey (Gen 2:17). Noah was to obey when commanded to build an ark, through which he saved his house and condemned the world (Heb 11:7). Abraham, upon hearing the word of the Lord, "obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance" (Heb 11:8). Obedience has always been required of mankind! Under the Law, men were told, "to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams" (1 Sam 15;22, KJV).
You Can Obey
Scripture, or inspired writing, is God bringing His Word near so we CAN obey it. As it is written, "Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, 'Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?' Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, 'Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?' No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it" (Deut 30:11-14, NIV).
Peter states God's foreknowledge and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit work together so that we can be obedient to Christ. His statement engages our minds in holy contemplation. "According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure" (1 Pet 1:2, NASB). Obedience, therefore, is an essential part of our great salvation. The Holy Spirit sanctified us so we CAN obey Jesus Christ.
There is no room for disobedience. With a clarity that awakens spiritually sluggish individuals, Paul speaks of the coming of the Lord. " . . . The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus" (2 Thess 1:7b-8). Let no soul question the essentialness of obedience. It is the appointed test of the validity of professed faith!
Obeying the Commands
Faith is a response to the promises--to Divine commitment. Obedience is our response to God's commandments--Divine requirements. Both are necessary to be saved. The promises are to be believed, and the commandments are to be obeyed. The commands of the Lord are never suggestions or recommendations! They are like a door that enables the believer to enter into the blessing of the Lord. They are also tests to faith, designed to determine the validity of profession. Wherever obedience is lacking, professed faith is invalid.
Under the Law, obedience came from fear. The threat of death was held over the head of the people, thereby motivating their wayward hearts to obedience. There was no liberty in this arrangement because the people were not changed. Their hearts were not new, but remained aloof from God. Jesus came to release us from that form of compliance, enabling us to "obey from the heart" (Rom 6:17). Scripture speaks of this marvelous release. "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil--and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death" (Heb 2:14-15). There is another kind of obedience, more effectual, that is available to all that are in Christ Jesus.