Faith demands obedience

Selie Visa  

The church of the ducks: The 19th century philosopher Soren Kierkegaard's told a story about a make-believe country where only ducks live. One Sunday morning all the ducks came into their little duck church, waddled down the aisle, and waddled into the pews.  

Then the duck minister came in, took his place behind the pulpit, opened the duck bible and read, "Ducks! You have wings, and with wings you can fly like eagles." The ducks all quacked out loud “Amen!” The duck pastor continued to read and said, "With your wings you can soar into the sky!" Again the ducks responded with thunderous Amen and Hallelujah so the duck pastor read some more with even greater emphasis: "Ducks, you have wings! You can fly!" And all the ducks in the church quacked, "Amen!" Then the service ended and they came out of the church. Not a single duck spread its wings to fly. They all waddled home in a noisy, “Quack! Quack! Quack…!”  

Knowledge of obedience is not enough: James 4:17 “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.”  

It is not enough to know what you’ve heard or read in the word of God about what God wills for you. What matters is that if you know what to do, that you do it! Having the knowledge about God’s will is not enough. Knowing the necessity of obedience is not enough. These things are not the same as being obedient. Knowing what should be done obligates a person to do it. The advantage of being taught about obedience is not that we get an “outstanding grade” from God because we get the right answer. To believe in something is to act like it is so. Hence, the advantage of believing God’s word and specifically, God’s will is that we obey it because it is true, good, precious, and real.  

Obedience is for our good: Obedience is for our good. James calls it the “good” which means beautiful, excellent, noble, or right. Jesus is a King.  Jesus dictates and commands. But they are meant to make us well and happy. Every command is meant for our good. They are loving guidelines of an infallibly infinite and wise heavenly Father for the good of those He loves.  

Abraham--faith in obedience: Hebrews 11:8 “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”  

Abraham is mentioned ten times in Hebrews. The great progenitor of the Jewish people and his wife are now singled out as examples of faith. The Jews prided themselves on their descent from Abraham, and the great patriarch is mentioned in the New Testament as one who had faith and who acted on his faith. In line with this the author gives more space to Abraham than to any other individual on his list. Abraham accepted God's promises and acted on them even though there was nothing to indicate that they would be fulfilled. This faith is seen in his acceptance of the promise of a child when Sarah was old and even more in his readiness to sacrifice that child-- the one through whom the promise was to be fulfilled-- when God commanded.  

God demands obedience: Micah 6:8 “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  

The scriptures clearly teach us that God demands obedience from his people. We are responsible before God to obey His commands. Obedience to the commandments of God is utterly crucial in living the Christian life.  

What God wants is a heart response to God demonstrated in the basic elements of true religion. God has told the people what is good. The Mosaic law differentiated between good and bad and reflected God's will in their religious and social lives.  

They were to act "justly", here in the sense of true religion, i.e., the ethical response to God that has a manifestation in social concerns as well. “To love mercy” is to freely and willingly show kindness to others. "To walk humbly with your God" means to live in conscious fellowship with him, exercising a spirit of humility before him. It is not that sacrifice was completely ineffectual and that simply a proper heart attitude to God would suffice. Rather, God has no interest in the multiplication of empty religious acts.  

These ethical requirements do not comprise the way of salvation. We are still called to the exercise of true religion because we are in a covenant relationship with God in which the law has been placed within their hearts not abrogated. Our obedience is inspired by the indwelling Holy Spirit, not by the letter of the law.  

We are saved for obedience: Romans 1:5 “Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.”  

The desired response to the gospel message is "obedience that comes from faith". Paul's readers were not called, as he was, to apostleship; they were called "to belong to Jesus Christ" and to be "saints", the common term designating believers. The scriptures teach us that we are saved for obedience. There are two beautiful truths balanced so wonderfully in Scripture. We are not saved by obedience. Salvation comes by grace through faith in Christ. But, we are saved for obedience.  

The test of love for God: John 14:15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command.”  

Obedience to God is the proof of our love for Him. True knowledge of God does not end with speculative ideas but with obedience to the moral law and with the presence of God's love in the believer.  

2 John 1:6 “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”  

The test of love is obedience to God's commands, and the test of obedience is whether one "walks in love." Love of God must result in obedience or it is not true love. Jesus' own love for you and I was manifested by his obedience even to death.