The Key to Obedience
C.S. Lewis said, “Obedience is the key that opens every door.” But how do we obey without falling into legalism? Through love. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Just as Jesus’ love for the Father was expressed in his obedience, so our love for Jesus is expressed in our obedience (John 14:31; 15:9-10). Ours is not the obedience of one who seeks to justify himself before God but the obedience of one who, in grateful love, seeks to please him “who loved us and gave himself up for us” (Eph. 5:2; Gal. 2:20). Thus we may speak of “the obedience of love.” As with faith, the source of this love is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Sonship, who draws us to the Father’s love. And Jesus has promised his help: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16). To the one who, by the Spirit, embraces the obedience of love, Jesus goes on to say, “I will love him and manifest myself to him” (14:21), and, “My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (14:23). Thus, as John Stott once said, “the test of love is obedience and the reward of love is the self-manifestation of Christ.” This promise of personal intimacy with the Father and the Son enabled by the Spirit takes us to the very heart of the trinitarian life, a life of grace that is free from law. A life in which we joyfully will to do the will of God and to please him in all things.
This is the heritage of all who have come to a living faith in Jesus Christ. If we would enjoy the fullness of this life, let us embrace the obedience of faith and love and daily seek to walk by the Holy Spirit, through whom all these blessings come (Gal. 5:16–25). And in prayerful meditation upon Jesus’ words, let us ask the Sprit to teach us and transform us more and more into his image.
Thomas A. Tarrants, III, D. Min. Vice President of Ministry, C.S. Lewis Institute, has lived in the Washington, D.C. area since 1978 and served as President of the C.S. Lewis Institute from 1998 to April 2010. Prior to coming to the Institute, he served as co-pastor of Christ Our Shepherd Church and Director of The School for Urban Mission, both based in Washington, D.C. He is the author of two books and is a consultant for Church Discipleship Services, developing discipleship programs and materials to strengthen the local church. Tom earned a Master of Divinity Degree from Eastern Mennonite Seminary and Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Church Alliance.
|Page 1 2 3|
To view this full article on a single page, click here.
To receive electronic or hard copies of Knowing & Doing, click here.
To browse the Knowing & Doing archives of articles, click here.