The New Life: Words of God for Young Disciples of Christ
"Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people" kjv@Exodus:19:5.
"The Lord shall greatly bless thee, if thou only carefully hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God" kjv@Deuteronomy:15:4-5.
"Learned he obedience by the things which He suffered: and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him" kjv@Hebrews:5:8-9.
Obedience is one of the most important words in the Bible and in the life of the Christian. It was in the way of disobedience that man lost the favour and the life of God. It is only in the way of obedience that that favour and that life can again be enjoyed.1 God cannot possibly take pleasure in, or bestow His blessing on, those who are not obedient. "If ye will obey My voice indeed, ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me"; "The Lord shall greatly bless thee, if thou only carefully hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God." These alone are the eternal principles according to which man can enjoy God's favour and blessing.
We see this in the Lord Jesus. He says, "If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in His love" (kjv@John:15:10). He was in the love of the Father, but could not remain there except by obedience. And He says that this is equally for us the one way to continue in His love. We must keep His commandments. He came to open for us the way back to God. This way was the way of obedience. Only he who, through faith in Jesus, walks in this way will come to God.2
How gloriously this connection between the obedience of Jesus and our own is expressed in kjv@Hebrews:5, verses 8 and 9, "He learned obedience, and became unto all them that obey Him the author of eternal salvation." This is the bond of unity between Jesus and His people, the point of conformity and inward agreement. He was obedient to the Father--they, on the other hand, are obedient to Him. He and they are both obedient. His obedience not only atones for, but drives out their disobedience. He and they bear one mark--obedience to God.3
This obedience is a characteristic of the life of faith. It is called the obedience of faith.4 There is nothing in earthly things that so spurs men to work as faith. The belief that there is advantage or joy to be found is the secret of all work. "By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed." My works will be according to what I believe. The faith that Jesus made me free from the power of sin for obedience, and sets me in a suitable condition for it, has a mighty power to make me obedient. Obedience is strengthened by faith: Faith in the overflowing blessing which the Father gives to obedience, in the promises of the love and indwelling of God, and in the promise of the fullness of the Spirit which comes by this channel.5
The power of this faith, again, as of obedience, lies especially in fellowship with the living God Himself. There is but one Hebrew word for "obeying voice" and "hearing voice." To hear correctly prepares one to obey. It is when I learn the will of God--not in the words of a man or a book--but from God Himself, and when I hear the voice of God, that I will surely believe what is promised and do what is commanded. The Holy Spirit is the voice of God. When we hear the living voice speak, obedience becomes easy.6 Let us wait in silence on God, and set our soul open before Him, so that He may speak by His Spirit. When, in our Bible reading and praying, we learn to wait more upon God so that we can say, "My God has spoken this to me, has given me this promise, has commanded this," then we will also obey. "To listen to the voice" earnestly, diligently, is the sure way to obedience.
With a servant, a warrior, a child, a subject, obedience is indispensable--the first sign of integrity. And will God, the living, glorious God, find no obedience with us? 7 No, let cheerful, punctual, precise obedience from the beginning be the mark of the genuineness of our fellowship with the Son whose obedience is our life.
Father, You make us Your children in Christ, make us in Him obedient children, as He was obedient. Let the Holy Spirit make the obedience of Jesus so glorious and powerful in us, that obedience will be the highest joy of our life. Teach us in everything only to seek to know what You desire and then to do it. Amen.
For a life of obedience, these things are required:
1. Decisive surrender. I must no longer have to ask in every single case, will I or will I not, must I, can I, be obedient? Now it must be such an unquestionable thing that I will know of nothing else than to be obedient. He who cherishes such a disposition, and thinks of obedience as a thing that stands firm, will find it easy, will literally taste great joy in it.
2. The knowledge of God's will through the Spirit. Please, do not imagine that because you know the Bible in some manner you know the will of God. The knowledge of God's will is something spiritual. Let the Holy Spirit make known to you the knowledge of God's will.
3. The doing of all that we know to be right. All doing teaches man. All doing of what is right teaches man obedience. All that the Word or conscience or the Spirit tells you is right, actually do it. It helps to form doing into a holy habit and is an exercise leading to more power and more knowledge. Do what is right, Christian, out of obedience to God, and you will be blessed.
4. Faith in the power of Christ. You have the power to obey. Be sure of this. Although you do not feel it, you have it in Christ your Lord by faith.
5. The glad assurance of the blessing of obedience. It unites us with our God; it wins His good pleasure and love; it strengthens our life; it brings the blessedness of heaven into our heart.