9th September 22
Read — Romans 1:2-6
Message Alan Burke
Obedience! To obey, to submit, comply, to be ruled over, to yield! The opposite of obedience is disobedience meaning to define, revolt to deliberately not do what we should do or what a rule or law says we should do. Wether we want to admit it or now we are not very good at obedience and we are very good at disobedience for we are sinners, each and every one of us. We are sinful by our nature and sinful by our actions, we are not obedient to God, His word, His Law, we take it at best as advice, and try telling someone who is living contrary to what the word of God says that their actions are sinful and it’s like a red rag to a bull.
Here in this passage we are called to the obedience that comes from faith. Obedience and faith, faith and obedience, these things go hand in hand. But it is not in our obedience that we are justified before God, it is through faith. This is one of those things that we struggle to get our heads round, we live lives that are dependant on our words, efforts, endeavours, we teach our children it depends on whether they have been naughty or nice, but the wonder of the gospel is that its basis is the grace of God though Jesus.
This obedience is in response to what Jesus has done for us, it does not justify us before the Lord God but in response to this gospel, this promised Gospel, through Jesus Christ in who we are called we are to live obedient lives. We desire to live as God’s chosen people, who live lives of repentance, turning from our sin and disobedience to our Lord and God. Those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ are spoken of as unbelievers in the New Testament (2 Thess. 1.8, Rom. 10:16), for to believe is to obey, we obey because we believe. It is not obedience that gives us our justification but obedience that is a sign of our justification, as we live for our saviour, turning from sin, repenting of it, seeking to live for him, even when it means living in a way that is contrary to the world.
For the Christian life means that we strive to live for Christ and not the fallen nature that we still have. Paul was honest about the battle with indwelling sin as he says later in Romans, For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. (Rom 7:20-21). But as we believe we are seeing to live to obedience for God, as we are aware that we have been bought with a price, that the blood of Jesus Christ was shed for us. Obedience and striving for it is something we intentionally do in faith, for as James says, 'As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead' ( James 2:26). Our obedience, our works testify to the reality of faith in our lives, if are not striving for obedience then we have a dead faith that is not faith at all.
This is what we are called to belong to, we are called from our sin to obedience that comes from faith, it isn’t always going to be plain sailing but it is something that we should be striving for. This is what the church should be, for the church in Greek is the ekklesia, literally means called out. The church are those who are called out of their bondage of sin, out of the world of darkness to his wonderful light (1 Pet 2:9), for every believer we are those who are called out, called our of bondage to sin to live for Christ, all who are truly part of the church are to live in obedience that comes from faith. I’ll leave you with this question, is obedience something that you are striving for?
Q48 What are we specially taught by these words [before me] in the first commandment?
These words [before me] in the first commandment teach us, That God, who seeth all things, taketh notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God. (Ezek. 8:5–6, Ps. 44:20–21)