Obedience

Published on Mar 12th, 2014 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Obedience

Obedience

Peter says this, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth…” (I Peter 1:22) The Bible teaches truth to us that is always amazing because it is so foreign to us.  We learn the foreign truth that we are saved by grace alone through faith.  We know it is not by our works in any way.  Salvation is a complete and solo work of God in our lives.  We need the Lord to purify our souls so that we are able to walk in obedience.  Without the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in our lives we realize that all of our works are as filthy rags and are worthless.  That is so foreign to us that it takes a work of the Spirit of God on our hearts and minds to accept that truth.  We then begin to find great rest in those truths by living our lives in grace.  Those truths get us off the hamster wheel of life that has us striving so hard to improve ourselves to please a Holy God.  We only please God through Jesus.  He did all of the work.

Now Peter tells us that our souls are purified by our obedience to the truth.  What is going on?

We must remember the truth that our salvation is a solo act of God. It is completely and utterly his work in our lives.  The Father chooses us, the Son accomplishes everything for us on the cross, and the Spirit of God applies the work of Jesus in our lives and creates a new person within us.  It is solely a work of God.  That is our salvation.  Our sanctification, on the other hand, is our living out this new life we have been given.  It is also a work of God.  We cannot grow spiritually apart from the power of the Spirit of God. God conforms us to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29).  In his grace, God also gives us a role in our sanctification.  We are part of this process.  We choose to place ourselves in positions to be changed more and more into the image of Christ.  We choose to walk in an obedience that produces purity.

In this passage in Peter we learn that the Word of God plays a tremendous role in all of this.  We can allow the Spirit to use the Word of God to change us by daily study of the Word, by exposing ourselves to the preaching and teaching of the Word, and by obeying what we hear from the Word.  God purifies us so that we can walk in obedience.  Our walk in obedience (we choose to obey) is used by God to produce greater purification.  That purification produces greater obedience…what a glorious cycle!!

Notice what Peter says, “Obedience to the truth”.  We do not get to choose how we walk in obedience.  We must be obedient to the truth. In the New Testament the word for “hear” is “akouo”. It is where we get the word for acoustics.  The Greek verb for “to obey” is “hupoakouo” or hyper hearing.  God is emphasizing to us that obedience is centered on hearing the truth in such a way that it then changes the way we live.  That is important.  I change my behavior, not because I am following a set of rules that will produce righteousness in me (only God can do that) but I change my behavior because the truth of who I was and who I am now empowers that change.  When I choose to expose my life to the truth of the gospel every day, the truth of who I was, what Jesus truly accomplished on the cross, the work of the Spirit in my life, the glory that is to come…when I choose to hyper hear those truths every day I then make it easier for me to choose to walk in a worthy manner.

My obedience is important.  It is used by God to produce purity in my life.  It is used to set me apart from evil to holiness.  My choices of obedience need to be choices that move me toward the truth, toward the Word of God.  I am careful not to simply choose things that make me feel more holy and godly because of some kind of puritanical or cultural mindset (I do not smoke or drink or chew, or go out with girls that do) but I make choices based on the Word of God that drive me toward the truth.  Do you know what Peter gives as an example of this kind of life?  He speaks of a sincere love of our brothers.  A real love for others that drives you to desire to be with them, to act kindly toward them, to be involved in their lives, to move them more toward Christ…puritanical, cultural obedience produces self righteousness that drives you away from your brother.

Today, how have you chosen to walk in an obedience that drives you to the Word of God?

Comments are closed.