This is the fifth post for my short series on what a Christian is…I will bring it all to a conclusion next week. I will also be posting some thoughts by Jonathan Edwards on the Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God. Although it was written specifically for the church at large regarding the Great Awakening that started in 1734, I believe it also relates to how we view conversion and the spiritual lives of those we minister with.
Okay. A Christian is one who obeys. You can see that the growing culture around us is anti-authority. Why is it so cool to talk evil of the president? I may not agree with things he says, but why should I pursue speaking ill of him? Why do kids think it is cool to back talk their parents or make fun of the elderly? Why are you called a prude if you don’t want to have sex with everyone in the world? Why is it that vice is the only virtue that is deemed valuable?
When a culture is not marked by the desire to know God, then it will be marked by disobedience – not only to his revealed will in the Bible, but also manifest against the authority he has placed over us in the government, law enforcement, etc.
I do not want to make a 1:1 correlation between law of the state and God’s Law. I merely want to draw attention to the fact that disobedience to the Law of God is characterized by an increasingly powerful witness to anti-authority pursuits.
Biblically: Why does the Christian try to obey the Law of God? Rehearse the last 3 and 1/2 posts regarding the characteristics of a Christian: 1) He is humble, because he knows that his salvation is not dependent on him; 2) He delights in the things of God because 3) He delights in God. The Bible is very explicit in what it teaches about those things that distinguish the Christian from the non-Christian.
Rom. 6:16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed…Rom. 15:18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed.
Col. 3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord [it pleases the Lord because he has set parents over children as his authority and guidance in their lives…even more, it is an exhortation to the child of God…that he obey God from the heart, see 1 Peter 1.14].
Heb. 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. [The Christian knows that God is not distinct from the authority figures in politics and law enforcement. The unbeliever seeks to oust them when possible because he is ultimately rebellious against God.]
This idea of obedience was the concept from the beginning:
Gen. 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
God does not seek to merely save people, but that they bow their knees to him in humble submission from a heart of gratitudinous joy.
17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and iif it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
[implication: those of the household of God obey, those preparing to be condemned are disobedient]
1) Repent for any and all disobedience to God and his authorities
2) Pursue opportunities to obey the Word of God
3) Understand that obedience flows from a heart of joy and gratitude for all God has done and will do for you
4) Pray that you will be convinced that you are not your own, but you were bought by the price of Christ’s blood (1 Cor 6.19)
5) Therefore, you are a happy slave to God – or you should delight to obey his Word