Thursday, December 5, 2013

Obedience That Comes From Faith

Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake.
Romans 1:5 NIV
This verse comes out of Paul's opening introduction in his letter to the Romans.  In it he expresses that he has been tasked with calling Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.  We are all familiar with obedience.  It is called for in most of the things we do.  Nearly activity of our lives has some set of expectations associated with it.  How many rules are associated with driving a car?  Or even going out to eat?  Sometimes the rules are explicit, like following the speed limit, while sometimes they are implied, don't stare at fellow dinners.

Why do we obey these rules, either explicit or implicit.  Generally it is out of a sense of obligation, or a fear of the consequences.  If I fail to obey, I may not be allowed to continue in that activity, I may face a fine, or I may get my nose punched in.  And all to often we take this approach as believers, obeying the Bible's instructions out of fear of the consequences of failing to do so, or out of a sense of obligation, it is what is expected of me.

But Paul gives a better reason for obedience here as he talks about obedience that comes from faith.  I have been called to obey as a response to faith.  My obedience should flow out of my faith.  If I really believe that God exists and that he has a purpose for me; if I really believe that Jesus died on the cross for me, and that he rose from the dead; if I really believe that the Holy Spirit is living in me, and providing direction to me; then I will naturally want to do what pleases him.  Not because I am afraid of the consequences of messing up.  And not because I feel like I have to.  But because I want to.

Obedience to God should not be the result of trying to improve my standing with him.  Rather it should come about because of my standing.  I belong to him, I am happy about that, and I want to serve.

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