|"Obedience out of love or duty?"
Jesus' propitiation (sacrificial death on the Cross) is our exalted example of obedience through His faithful
and uncompromising loyalty to the Father's will ... Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane: "...Take this cup from me.
Yet not what I will, but what you will" (Mk. 14:36). Christ's work on the cross is the example of total
surrender and obedience to the Father's will; Jesus saying to the Father, "...Here I am, I have come to do
your will..."(Heb. 10:9). "For as by one man's disobedience (first Adam) many were made sinners, so by the
obedience of one (Christ) shall many be made righteous"(Rom. 5:19). There is obedience driven out of duty
and fear of consequences and there is obedience given out of love, devotion and submission.
Opportunity to engage in disobedience, in this day and age, is clearly increasing at an accelerated rate as
social mores are progressively relaxed, cultural prohibitions disappear and tolerance for behavior contrary to
God's absolutes reach new levels of permissiveness. "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil..."
(Isa. 5:20-Italics added). Glossing over of evil, and the re-dressing of wickedness to give it the appearance of
righteousness (BSB v.20) will be both the technique and system of deception brought into play by the accuser
in the coming days in order to mask the righteousness of Christ's commandments, statues and decrees. The
visual media (TV) has already accepted this compromise, the print media has fallen in line and the courts are
soon to follow. We live in perilous times and without the protective covering of the blood of Christ the
mind of man will be ever increasingly vulnerable to the great end-time delusions and counterfeit truths.
What we hear significantly impacts what we believe; what we believe significantly determines how we
obey. Our behavior is one of the best indicators of our faith (and obedience). Disobedience leads inevitably
to rebellion, stubbornness and enmity. Ritual obedience does not have the power to impart salvation; only
the shed blood of Christ can offer forgiveness of one's sins and bring eternal life. True obedience is a fruit
of our love and devotion to the Father's will and the imputed righteousness that comes through His Son,
Christ Jesus. Let us pray that we not fall victim to the self-righteousness of the Pharisees, "...unless your
righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the
kingdom of heaven"(Matt. 5:20). Righteousness here is the righteousness of the heart and not 'works' and
'religious' legalism. Let us not be found lacking in the righteousness imputed by Christ: our love of Him and
our devotion to Him will bear the joyful fruit of obedience, worship and faithfulness. If you are being
obedient out of a sense of duty (religious law) and/or sacrificial works, you already have your reward!
Obedience trumps sacrificial religious works, every time (see 1 Sam. 15:22).
Submerge your faith into the wellspring of Christ's love in order that your obedience to His commandments
will bring glory to His name and that you may continue to be found pleasing in His sight (see Ps. 19:14).
Jon D. Hannum, Ph.D.
Amen Ministries of Austin