Wednesday, April 21, 2010

faith & obedience

hand in hand Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

John 3:36


The New Testament does not separate obedience from faith. When it comes to following Jesus and believing in Jesus, both are necessary for true possession of eternal life. That fact is that obedience to the gospel necessarily follows faith in the gospel. We struggle always with the “correct” degree of obedience.


I prefer to let Jesus Himself settle the matter. It is not necessarily about who we associate with. He was the friend of sinners, yet He perfectly obeyed the Father. And it was religious legalists who only stayed in their own company who could not stand what Jesus did. So the obedience that was found in following Jesus was not rote legalism. It was a life committed to knowing Him. Those who followed Jesus in this way were transformed by Him.


So today, faith in Christ for forgiveness of sin is followed by a willing heart to follow Him. it is not about legalism. But it is always about a serious, life-changing, personal commitment. And the obedience that follows that follows is to Jesus, not human ideas or lists of Christian activities. Without that faith and obedience to the Son, no one will see life or forgiveness of sin. That is clear from this text. Real faith longs to obey and follow Jesus. False professions are not compelled to obey the voice of the Master.


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