Cover 2017-01-22

Ron Writes

Don’t Forget Obedience

We are quick to emphasize our salvation by grace. However, we often forget to equally emphasize the expectations of grace. Grace expects a response. Grace expects a response of obedience.

The classic text, Eph. 2:8-10: "For by grace you have been saved through faith"… but don’t forget vs. 10, that we are "created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." We are not saved BY works, but we are saved FOR works.

This is the emphasis of scripture. In Exodus God gives the 10 commandments. The "preamble" to these commands says, "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery." God had delivered them. God had brought them out of slavery. Before Sinai came the exodus. There were expectations that came with deliverance. They later became disloyal to the grace they had received and God gave them over to captivity. After this they began to get it backward thinking they were saved by works of obedience and became legalists.

In the conversation about forgiveness, Jesus told the story of the unmerciful servant. You remember the story. One owed an unimaginable, un-payable amount. He clearly was forgiven. He then found a fellow slave who owed a few dollars and he seized him by the throat and demanded repayment. When the master found out what had happened, he handed the first slave to the torturers and he was condemned forever. He was clearly saved by grace, but that grace didn’t change his heart. There was an expectation that he would pass on the grace he had received to others.

In our Wednesday night class, we noted that John emphasizes the "eternal life," "fellowship," and "joy" that God has given (1 Jn. 1). John notes the need to "walk in the light." We note that it’s not sinless perfection, but direction (1 Jn. 1:6-2:2). After telling us of God’s grace, he then begins to emphasize the expectations of grace, "By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments" (1 Jn. 2:3). This is the same pattern seen in Paul’s writing as well (esp. Romans).

We have a generation of Christians who are coming to believe that obedience is optional. We are saved by grace, but we will be judged by our lifestyle and obedience (Mt. 25:41f). Like a tree that is judged by its fruit, it’s clear we must bear fruit. Salvation is a means to an end, that we become imitators of Christ. As Christ was known for His obedience, we must not forget the importance of obedience.