`Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice
indeed, ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me from among all peoples.' -- Ex.
`The Lord will surely bless thee, if thou
only diligently hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.' -- Deut.
`By faith Abraham obeyed. -- Heb. 11:8
`He learned obedience by the things which He
suffered; and having been made perfect, He became unto all them that obey Him
the author of eternal salvation.' -- Heb. 5:8,9
Obedience is one of the most important
words in the Bible and in the life of the Christian. It was in the way of
disobedience that man lost the favour and the life of God: it is only in the
way of obedience that that favour and that life can again be enjoyed. (Rom.
5:19; 6:16; 1 Pet. 1:2,14,22) God cannot possibly take pleasure in those who
are not obedient, or bestow His blessing upon them. `If ye will obey My voice
indeed, ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me;' `The Lord will surely bless
thee, if thou only diligently hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.'
These are the eternal principles according to which alone man can enjoy God's
favour and blessing.
We see this in the Lord Jesus. He says: `If ye
keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept my
Father's commandments, and abide in His love.' He was in the love of the
Father, but could not abide there otherwise than by obedience. And He says
that this is equally for us the one way to abide in His love: we must keep His
commandments. He came to open for us the way back to God: this way was the way
of obedience: only he that through faith in Jesus walks in this way shall come
to God. (Gen. 22:17,18; 26:4,5; 1 Sam. 25:22; John 25:10)
How gloriously is this connection betwixt the
obedience of Jesus and our own expressed in Heb. 5: `He learned obedience, and
became unto all them that obey Him the author of eternal salvation.' This is
the bond of unity between Jesus and His people, the point of conformity and
inward unanimity. He was obedient to the Father: they, on the other hand, are
obedient to Him. He and they are both obedient. His obedience not only atones
for, but drives out their disobedience. He and they bear one token: obedience
to God. (Rom. 6:17; 2 Cor. 10:5; Phil. 2:8)
This obedience is a characteristic of the life
of faith. It is called the obedience of faith. (Acts. 6:7; Rom. 1:5; 16:26)
There is nothing in earthly things that so spurs on men to work as faith: the
belief that there is advantage or joy to be found is the secret of all work.
`By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed:' according to what I believe
shall my works be. The faith that Jesus made me free from the power of sin for
obedience and sets me in a suitable condition for it, has a mighty power to
make me obedient. Faith in the overflowing blessing which the Father gives to
it, faith in the promises of the love and indwelling of God, of the fulness of
the Spirit which comes by this channel, strengthens for obedience. (Deut. 28:1;
Isa. 63:5; John 14:15,11,23; Acts. 5:32)
The power of this faith, again, as also of
obedience lies especially in intercourse with the living God Himself. There is
but one Hebrew word for `obeying voice' and `hearing voice:' to
hear aright prepares to obey. It is when I learn the will of God, not in the
words of a man or a book, but from God Himself, when I hear the voice of
God, that I shall surely believe what is promised and do what is commanded.
The Holy Spirit is the voice of God: when we hear the living voice speak,
obedience becomes easy. (Gen. 12:1,4; 31:13,16; Matt. 14:28; Luke 5:5; John
10:4,27) O let us then wait in silence upon God, and set our soul open before
Him, that He may speak by His Spirit. When in our Bible-reading and praying we
learn to wait more upon God, so that we can say: My God has spoken this to me,
has given me this promise, has commanded this, then shall we also obey. `To
listen to the voice' earnestly, diligently, is the sure way to obedience.
With a servant, a warrior, a child, a subject,
obedience is indispensable, the first token of integrity. And shall God, the
living, glorious God, find no obedience with us? (Mal. 1:6; Matt. 7:21) No:
let cheerful, punctual, precise obedience from the beginning be the token of
the genuineness of our fellowship with the Son whose obedience is our life.
O Father, who makest us Thy children in Christ, Thou makest us in
Him obedient children, as He was obedient. Let the Holy Spirit make the
obedience of Jesus so glorious and powerful in us, that obedience shall be the
highest joy of our life. Teach us in everything only to seek to know what Thou
desirest and then to do it. Amen.
For a life of obedience these
things are required: --
1. Decisive surrender. I must no longer
have to ask in every single case: Shall I or shall I not, must I, can I, be
obedient? No: it must be such an unquestionable thing, that I shall know of
nothing else than to be obedient. He that cherishes such a disposition and
thinks of obedience as a thing that stands firm, shall find it easy, yea, shall
literally taste in it great joy.
2. The knowledge of God's will through
the Spirit. Pray, do not imagine that, because you know the Bible in some
sort, you know the will of God. The knowledge of God's will is something
spiritual: let the Holy Spirit make known to you the knowledge of God's
3. The doing of all that we know to be
right. All doing teaches men: all doing of what is right teaches men
obedience. All that the word, or conscience, or the Spirit tells you is right,
actually do it. It helps to form doing into a holy habit, and is an exercise
leading to more power and more knowledge. Do what is right, Christian, out of
obedience to God, and you shall be blessed.
4. Faith in the power of Christ. You
have the power to obey: be sure of this. Although you do not feel it, you have
it in Christ your Lord by faith.
5. The glad assurance of the blessing of
obedience. It unites us with our God, it wins His good pleasure and love, it
strengthens our life, it brings the blessedness of heaven into our heart.