Mt. 6:10 π Mt. 6:33 π Mt. 24:12 π Rom. 1:5 π Rom. 6:16 π Rom. 16:25-26 π Gal. 5:19-21 π Heb. 5:9 π 1 Pet. 1:2
In Smith's imaginary re-telling of the gospel narratives, Jesus (still an unknown traveler to Andrew and John) says to Andrew, "Just as you said yourself, we must repent of our sin. God can do very little until He finds men who are willing to obey Him." (Men Called Him Master, Elwyn Allen Smith, p. 10)
Obedience to Christ and God has a much more prominent place in the gospel than is preached at most, if not all, "churches." Paul's letter to the Romans begins and ends with tributes to how central obedience to God is in the gospel of Christ. The reason God empowered and equipped him was to bring about "obedience to the faith among all nations for His name." ( Rom. 1:5 ) The gospel of the kingdom was kept secret since the world began but, in Paul's time, was made manifest to the end that men of all nations would live in obedience to the faith. ( Rom. 16:25-26 ) Peter likewise begins his first letter telling us that the elect, those whom God has chosen, are intended to be sanctified and obedient. ( 1 Pet. 1:2 ) And the writer of Hebrews tells us that Christ "became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him." ( Heb. 5:9 - emphasis added; top)
If we are not living in close, personal obedience to Christ and God, we have great reason to question whether we have truly entered into His eternal salvation! Yet today, the vast majority of people claiming to be "Christian" are systematically trained to pick and choose which of Christ's commands and God's laws they will adhere to - and then they use God's "grace" as an excuse to live sinful, selfish, decadent or extravagant (but never outright "evil") lifestyles as suits their own personal tastes. Lawlessness (doing what is right in one's own eyes) abounds. ( Mt. 24:12; top )
Paul wrote, "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?" ( Rom. 6:16; top )
Whom we obey shows us whom we have presented ourselves to - it clearly tells us who our master really is. If our life is still characterized by sin and self-will (no matter how religious or "Christian" our tastes may be), by what convoluted logic can we believe ourselves to be participants in Christ's eternal salvation? Rather, we should rightly conclude, if our life is characterized by the works of the flesh ( Gal. 5:19-21 ), that we have failed to truly enter into God's kingdom, that "place" where His will is done on earth as it is in heaven. ( Mt. 6:10 ) God still waits for men to seek His kingdom and to seek it first. ( Mt. 6:33; top ) He doesn't force it - or Himself - on anyone.
Let he who has ears hear.
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