Faith and obedience

Vaclav's picture

Obedience to God is the outward expression of the inward reality, faith in Jesus Christ.

Obedience without faith is self-righteousness.

Faith without obedience is self-deception.

Faith and obedience are inseparable, like husband and wife. Not perfect, but complementing each other.

When I speak of our faith in Jesus Christ, I mean it's a justifying faith. Faith that justifies a sinner. Faith which receives "the free gift of righteousness", the perfect righteousness of Jesus credited or given to us, simply through the chanel of faith, or trust.

And what do I mean when I speak of our obedience to God as the outward expression of the inward reality of genuine faith within us? Just that. I do not mean that our obedience is our right standing, or our righteousness before a Holy and righteous God. Our imperfect obedience to God, though it comes from faith in Jesus, could hardly be the righteousness by which we are justified. Jesus was the only Man who obeyed his Heavenly Father perfectly. With him alone is God pleased. He alone has achieved perfect righteousness in his life. And it is through Jesus our perfect human representative before God that we receive this "free gift of righteousness", by faith. By faith in who Jesus is and what he has done FOR US (past tense) in his life and death.

So our desire to please God, our love for our neighbor, our obedience to God, all these though imperfect are an evidence of the fact that we have been justified by God, have been considered righteous in God's sight through faith in Jesus.

So, faith is the chanel though which we receive Jesus Christ, our righteousness.

And our obedience is not our righteousness before God, it's too imperfect even in the best intentions. So our obedience is an evidence that we truly trust in Jesus as our only acceptance before God.

So, as a believer in Jesus, my eyes must never be on my obedience, but on Jesus. Knowing him, loving him, trusting him. He is all that matters when it comes to knowing and having a relationship with God!

If a person has an addiction to porn, telling him or her to stop, try harder, or that they'll go to hell if they don't stop will simply not work. I know people who have tried many things, for many years...and really the gospel of the free grace of God in Jesus Christ, is the only truth which creates a new desire or love for God. For it is the only power there against sin.

Thomas Chalmers (Scottish Theologian in 1800s) said in one of his sermons entitled "The Expulsive Power of a New Affection":

"It is seldom that any of our bad habits or flaws disappear by a mere process of natural extinction at least it is very seldom that this is done by the instrumentality of reasoning, or by the force of mental determination, but what cannot be destroyed may be dispossessed, and one taste may be made to give way to another and to lose its power entirely as the reigning affection of the mind. The boy, who ceases at length to be a slave to his appetite does so because a more mature taste has brought it into subordination. The young man may cease to idolize sensual pleasure, but it is because the idol of wealth has gotten the ascendancy, so the love of money can cast out the love of sloth. However, even the love of money can cease to have mastery over the heart if it is drawn into the world of ideology and politics and he is now lorded over by a love of power and moral superiority. But there is not one of these transformations in which the heart is left without an object. The heart's desire for an ultimate object may be conquered, but it's desire to have SOME object is unconquerable. The only way to dispossess the heart of an old affection is through the expulsive power of a new one. It is therefore only when admitted into the number of God's children through faith in Jesus Christ that the spirit of adoption is poured out on us -- it is then that the heart, brought under the mastery of one great, predominate, and supreme affection is delivered from the tyranny of all its former desires and the only way that deliverance is possible. Therefore, it is not enough to hold out to your people the mirror of their own imperfections. It is not enough to come forth with a demonstration of the effanecent character of their enjoyments, or to speak to their consciences of their follies. Rather, make every legitimate method of finding access to their hearts for the love of him who is greater than the world."