God Delights In Obedience
……..“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…….” 1 Sam 15:22
It is imperative for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know that obedience leads to righteousness. Obedience is the chief end of all true believers. Sacrifice without obedience is futile and useless. Obedience to the Lord is a big deal in the elect’s life. In fact, obedience gives evidence of being an elect. A profession of faith in Christ without a life of progressive obedience is simply a false profession.
However, don’t be discouraged in your struggles with obedience. Nor lament over your many failings in your obedience. If you have a desire to obey and are purposefully seeking to obey the Lord, that is really a good sign of a new life in Christ. Perfect obedience is for another world. Sincere and growing obedience is for this world. Let us explore 3 things about true obedience that delights God’s heart.
- True Obedience Is Salvation
Faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness and true obedience simply always go together. We cannot have one without the other because obedience is the final analysis of what salvation is all about. A person who is not converted truly by the baptism, death and resurrection of Christ cannot obey God. A carnal heart cannot obey God because it cannot subject to the law of God. This is the reason a person who has not believed by faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness cannot be obedient in the true sense of the word. Obey is what people who have attained salvation by faith in Jesus’ baptism and death that desire to do. Obedience is the objective test as to whether a person has truly received salvation and have been sealed with the indwelling Holy Spirit. Jesus said, putting it in plain English, “if you love Me, you will keep My words.” In other place He says that “a tree is known by its fruits”
- True Obedience Is Not An Act but An Attitude
God does not measure obedience like we do. We look at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart. For this reason, we need to understand that obedience is first and foremost something that comes from the heart. Obedience is an attitude. I say that because a person can appear to be obedient on the outside and actually be hating every minute of it. God has not only forgiven our sins but in a miraculous way have given us an attitude that actually wants to obey. The whole plan of salvation has as its primary purpose to create in us a new heart that is, a new attitude which says, “I delight to do Your will, O my God, You have written Your will in my heart.” A person who does not have an attitude of obedience will tend to play what we might call ‘obedient games.’ That is, he will be obedient in some things and disobedient in others. True obedience is non-discriminatory. It is an ongoing attitude that operates all the time. When we talk about what it means to be ‘true to God’ or ‘faithful to God’ what are we talking about anyway? Think about it. How can a person ever be true to God or faithful to God unless he is obedient to what God requires. The first characteristics of true obedience is that it is an attitude that God puts in our hearts when we believe in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.
- True Obedience Can Never Come From Fear, Guilt Or Duty
True obedience is an attitude that a person has who is truly born again of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. A person who truly loves God would never obey Him for fear of the consequences. The Scripture says, “Perfect love casts out fear” 1 John 4:18 A person who tries to obey God because they are afraid has not learned nor are they enjoying the blessing of obedience. A person who is seeking to obey God because they would feel guilty if they didn’t, does not enjoy the blessing of obedience either. A person who is trying to obey God in every area because they feel it is their duty to do so is not enjoying the blessing of obedience as well. A person who lives under grace obeys for that very reason. True obedience is heart deep. However, the obedience that comes from fear, guilt or duty is false obedience and is only skin deep.
In conclusion, let me interject at this point a comforting thought and that is, temptation is not disobedience. Our flesh and the devil will continually to call us to pride, impurity and unloveliness. We will come to realize that there is in all of us a carnal nature which delights in disobedience. We need to continually confess our faith in the Righteousness of God and know that we have died to this part of us. Those whose hearts are obedient will still be tempted to disobey.
Obedience is just as much a gift of God as is forgiveness in salvation.