16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel.
How does obedience fit into the message of God’s grace?
Obedience is not something you do to obtain grace. Rather, obedience is a response to God’s grace; it is an expression of our love for God, and not a basis to win acceptance or earn favour from God.
The Apostle Paul tells us that there is a connection between obedience and grace.
God does not give us grace to do whatever we please, but God gives us grace to do whatever pleases Him. As such, obedience is not a bondage, but true freedom. This is because our obedience flows from a true and trusting relationship with Christ. And once we recognise and experience the reality of our fullness in Christ, we will not hold back from God because His perfect love for us makes it much easier to obey.
When you know the love of God you will trust and obey God naturally. In this sense, it is through the receiving and abiding in God’s love that gives meaning to our obedience and our desire to do so.
Often, we find believers who use the excuse of grace not to obey God, but that’s not the gospel. If there’s any disobedience in us, it means there’s something amiss or lacking in our understanding of the gospel. This was how Paul saw his fellow Jews when they refused to believe the gospel. They wanted to be saved by their own obedience through works—which is a personal and actual disobedience to God’s grace in Christ. In other words, they chose rules over a relationship with God because they trusted more in themselves than God.
Our ability to obey comes from a heart that’s set free to choose—not out of obligation but by revelation. When we place ourselves in the flow of how God uses His grace to give us faith to obey, we will discover that we stand to gain more through our obedience than we might lose. In the New Covenant, obedience is not a command, but a co-operation with God so that we can break free from old mindset and break into fresh growth and new beginnings.
© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
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