Obedience: Submission vs Compliance

As we discussed in previous posts in our series on "A Call to Obedience," obedience is submitting to God, not simply following his commands.  Driving the speed limit when you find yourself next to a police cruiser isn’t obedience.  It’s compliance.  Similarly, following God’s commands because you fear the very real consequences is mere compliance,... Continue Reading →

Obedience: Do We Truly Have Faith?

Convinced of their own holiness – whether by the false promises of cheap grace or those of legalism – they place their trust themselves, not their Creator. And so, they continue their lives to the end, like the passengers on the Titanic, trusting man’s constructions while being blissfully unaware of the cold, hard death that lies in their future.

Obedience: A Gift of God’s Grace

If grace comes from the riches of [God’s] kindness of forbearance and patience, it is not something we can purchase with our own righteousness – can one buy pure gold with filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)? Nor is it something we can receive as if it were worthless. No, it is a gift from his richness into our poverty, and such a gift should elicit the intended response: repentance.

The Response of Obedience

Where legalism attempts to earn God’s grace by following his commands (or the rules we have instituted in lieu of those commands), obedience is the following of God’s commands that flows from God’s grace. We cannot earn God’s grace with our “obedience.” That would be to assert that we are able to be “good” first, apart from God.

Legalism: The Trap of Hopelessness

...helplessness is not the same as hopelessness. On our farm this year, we had 17 baby goats born. When they are born, they are often helpless even to breathe on their own, as their faces are covered with mucous. Left alone, they will suffocate. But they are not helpless, because God has given their mothers the instinctual drive to lick their babies clean, starting with the face. What’s more, that licking stimulates the babies’ nursing reflexes.

Legalism: The Trap of Rigorism

Having fallen into the pit of sin...we respond by trying to work our way out of it. Rigorism is a twisted theology in which we convince ourselves that we are able to earn grace. It is, at its heart, a reduction of the blessings of saving faith into animist or transactional religiosity – the belief that we are able to direct the divine by our own actions.

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