16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel.
Do you experience a gap in what you believe and how you live?
The Apostle Paul has certainly seen this inconsistency in those whom he had taught and nurtured while he bore witness of the gospel to them. Even though these believers had heard the gospel and had the knowledge of the truth, they could still be legalistic or loose in how they lived and how they treated others. This is why Paul had to write all those epistles to different churches, explaining the gospel again to the believers and reminding them to live consistently to their belief and act accordingly.
In the same way, we too can fall away from the gospel when we stop obeying the gospel and turn our focus from faith to dead works. Ignorance leads to disobedience and disobedience leads to restlessness and loss of freedom. This is how Paul describes it:
1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.
2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.
3 For we who have believed do enter that rest.
We are called to believe and to deeply immerse ourselves fully in the gospel of God’s grace. The “them” here refers to those people in the wilderness. They died not because of their sin, but because they were not obeying God’s way of salvation that led to rest.
Paul tells us that Jesus offers rest to all believers, and if you are not moving forward to enjoy His restful blessing, you will fall back to a restless life of disobedience and unbelief. In other words, rest is an act of obedience which comes from a clear understanding of the gospel.
Many believers, however, are confused with the true character of rest.
Some wrongly assume rest is simply laying back and watching the world go by. They could not be farther from the truth. Rest is not inactivity or passivity, but it is to engage in faith-producing actions that result in maturity and fruitfulness. Paul tells us that when we mix faith with the truth of the gospel, we get to benefit from the reality of the finished work of Christ.
The more you hear and believe the gospel, the more you will experience the goodness of God in every area of your life. This is because you will realise that the gospel is so much more than saving you for heaven, but making heaven real on earth.
What is distracting me from fully obeying the gospel?
© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.