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Summary: Excerpt from the Book, Living Forgiven

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Obedience

Obedience is difficult and requires deep commitment. Webster defines the word as "following the commands or guidance of; to conform to or comply with."

*Becoming a Christian requires obedience. It is the key condition of your relationship with God.

His Lordship demands obedience, and through obedience you fulfill His commands and statutes. By accepting Him as Savior you are acknowledging that He is the Creator of the universe and your Creator; consequently, you must submit to Him as Lord.

*The word "Lord" means master. The correlative word is slave or bondservant.

Our modern understanding of slavery is that a slave is one who is held against his/her will and has to do what he/she is told or suffer the consequences. However, during Jesus’ time, slavery was similar to being an indentured servant. People would sell themselves to another in order to provide food for their family and a roof over their head. A slave had but one compulsion, and that was to please and obey his master. As a love-slave of Jesus you should desire to do His will and obey His commands.

Jesus must be first in every phase of your life. He must be before business, before family, before friends-even before life itself. His Lordship over you must take precedence before your wants, desires, and needs. To say that Jesus is your Lord and not obey Him is hypocritical. It was by obedience to God’s call that you became a Christian, and it is through obedience that you enter into the kingdom of heaven.

*The Greek word for obedience is peitho, and it means "to persuade, to win over."

The obedience suggested is not by submission to authority, but resulting from persuasion. The Greek word pisterio (to trust) is closely related. Obedience and trust go hand in hand.

If you recall the beloved hymn, Trust and Obey, the words are coupled together, with insistence on the two being intertwined. Verse 4 reminds us:

But we never can prove

The delights of His love

Until all on the altar we lay,

For the favor He shows

And the joy he bestows

Are for them who will trust and obey.

The difference in meaning is that the former implies obedience that is produced by the latter. The obedience that the Scriptures talk about is obedience produced by trust. It is much easier to be obedient and trust someone when he or she has proven that they are trustworthy.

*When you say you love God, you are saying that you trust Him and that you will be obedient to Him.

*Obedience is purely an act of the will.

It is a natural result of your trusting Him in every aspect of your life. If you are having a difficult time trusting God, then you will not be as readily obedient to His commands.

By trusting Him it becomes easier to obey and, in turn, by obeying you will find yourself trusting Him more. The writer of Hebrews, who may have been Paul, wrote that the lack of obedience of the Israelites was the evidence of their unbelief.

"And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief." (Hebrews 3:18-19)

Faith is of the heart, invisible to men. It is that element of trust that is invisible.

*Your obedience is proven by your outward conduct.

Because it is observed, it is the outward sign of the inward work by the Holy Spirit. You prove your trust in God when you obey Him. It is the persuasion of the truth that results in faith.

For you to learn obedience, your life must first have been won over and been persuaded to live in truth. By your obedience to Jesus, you are made partakers of His salvation "and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him." (Hebrews 5:9) The bond of your union with Jesus is obedience through faith. You cannot be identified as a follower of His unless you are obedient.

*The dominant principle of Jesus’ life was His obedience to the Father, both in heaven and on earth. Your attitude should be the same as that of your Lord

"Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness." (Philippians 5:6) Jesus "humbled himself and became obedient to death" on the cross!

*It was because of obedience that Jesus was exalted "to the highest place." Because of His obedience, God the Father gave Jesus the "name that is above every name." Through Jesus’ obedience, God has decreed that ultimately "every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11)

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