Obedience of faith Part 2

Obedience without faith is disobedience, rebellion, and hypocrisy and is motivated by fear of punishment (after the age of accountability). Obedience of faith begins with faith and is motivated by love.

1 John 4:18 New King James Version (NKJV)

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

Obedience of faith Part 1

A living example

My beagle loves me and desires to please me.  When he accidently freed himself from his harness and leash, he came to me when I called and allowed me to re-harness him.  His love for me keeps him safe. In the same way my love for God through Jesus Christ keeps me safe because I always want to do God’s will.

Abraham demonstrates obedience of faith

Obedience is not about punishment. Obedience is about faith, love, grace, mercy. Abraham is our template for a person of God who demonstrates obedience of faith.

Genesis 22:1-18 New International Version (NIV)

22 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

This command to sacrifice his son was a grievous command by any standard. So why did Abraham obey it? The answer Abraham gave to Isaac in verse 8 shows how much Abraham trusted God.

8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

And it turns out this is just what happened.

God’s testimony of Abraham’s obedience

We don’t often hear about Abraham and his obedience.  This is because he was a humble man and when he told the stories to his children and grand children, he left it out. But we hear from Isaac in chapter 26.

Genesis 26:1-5 King James Version (KJV)

26 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.

2 And the Lord appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:

3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;

4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;

5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

Before Moses

We have to look in Romans to find out what it meant to obey God before the Law was given by Moses.

Romans 5:13 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

13 (To be sure) sin was in the world before ever the Law was given, but sin is not charged to men’s account where there is no law (to transgress).

Political Righteousness is Hypocrisy

The concept of obedience of faith is an indictment against the religious right and also the irreligious left. God demands that we do not politicize our relationship with him.

Matthew 6:1-6 New International Version (NIV)

6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Act today

The gospel message is a call to action for each of us. If you are a born again Christian, it is a call to consider your private life with your Lord and Savior and redouble your efforts to grow in love and faith so your obedience of faith will commend you. Otherwise it is a call to search inside your  heart and hear God speaking to you, kind words of love and restoration.  When you hear his voice, do not harden your heart.

Hebrews 3:7-9 New International Version (NIV)
7 So, as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you hear his voice,
8     do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors tested and tried me,
though for forty years they saw what I did.

Obedience of Faith Part 1

How to be born again