Obedience: The Key That Opens All Doors - page 2

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The Blessings of Obedience
When we grasp an understanding of the blessings of obedience, we find them utterly astounding. Because of his great love, God has made a way for us to be reconciled to him and freed from our bondage to sin and self. Our predicament can be reversed if we will forsake our rebellion and return to him. And this is now possible because God has sent his only Son to rescue us. Jesus came to earth and lived a life of perfect submission and obedience to the Father’s will. The supreme expression of his obedience was submitting to the shameful, humiliating, and excruciating death of crucifixion, which was also the supreme expression of his love for the Father (John 14:31). In this act of self-sacrificing love, he “who knew no sin” became sin for us “so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). His perfect obedience to God’s law as God’s loving and faithful Son can now be imputed to us, and our disobedience can be laid upon him, setting us right with God, if we choose it.

Our freedom begins when we respond to the love of God as it meets us in Jesus’ call to repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15). In Greek, these two verbs are in the imperative mood and thus are commands to be obeyed. They summon us to turn from the disobedience of unbelief to the obedience of faith (Rom. 1:5). And the gift of faith makes this possible for us. Confident trust in Jesus and his message gives us life, turns us around, frees us, and sets in motion a great reversal in our lives.  

This transforming reversal progresses as we follow Jesus Christ, who says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). Following Jesus means taking steps forward in what might be called “the obedience of faith”—moving steadily away from our former areas of disobedience and back into the will of God. The power to do this comes from the Holy Spirit, whose work it is to conform us to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:13, 29). Though there will be times when we disobey, there is forgiveness as we repent and return to the Lord. This process of discipleship or sanctification, which restores the image of God in us, takes a lifetime and is completed only in the world to come. But we can make great progress in this world, which should be our highest priority.

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