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Why Obey the Commands of Scripture?

Posted by on Mar 7, 2011 in discipleship | 12 comments

Why Obey the Commands of Scripture?

We know that Paul wrote that we are saved by grace through faith, and not by our works. (Yes, I know that James wrote that we are justified by faith that includes works, but that’s for another post.)

But, after writing something like that in each of his letters, Paul would then write a series of commands. These were typically written as imperatives: you must do this. Or, simply, “Do this!”

Have you ever wondered why Paul would write commands that we must (apparently) obey, even though obedience does not earn our salvation? And, if we understand other parts of Scripture, obedience will not cause God to love us, and neither will disobedience cause him to reject us.

So, why obey the commands of Scripture?


12 Comments

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  1. 3-7-2011

    We obey Christ’s commands out of love for Him and as Paul says in Romans we have been empowered to do so since His love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who He has given to us allowing us to love God and neighbor thereby taking care of the other commands this is done by dying to self and walking in the Spirit, this produces the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives making us more Christlike.

    But in a word=love

  2. 3-7-2011

    IOW take on of Pauls imperatives and see if obedience to Christ’s command to love God and neighbor works as the prime mover! Works all the time.

  3. 3-7-2011

    Jesus said, “Go and make disciples…” and then said,”…teaching them to observe all I have commanded you…”
    Mt28:19-20

    If we are going to be disciples, it is imperative that we obey Jesus. After we become disciples, the salvation by grace through faith is in past. To be a follower of a Jesus we must actively follow Him, and that is what a true disciple does.

  4. 3-7-2011

    The main distinctive of the new and better covenant ratified in Christ’s blood is that it is not a weak covenant of external constraint but is an covenant of divine internal motivation and empowerment through His indwelling presence.

  5. 3-7-2011

    Hutch,

    So, if we love him, why do we need the commands? If we don’t love him, why are the commands beneficial?

    Jack,

    Yes. But, of course, the Great Commission is itself a command… :)

    -Alan

  6. 3-7-2011

    We are new creatures in Christ but that doesn’t mean that we automatically mean that we know how we now should live. We know we ought not live as the world but the commandments reveal to us how we should relate to one another and to others as Christ’s redeemed sheep.

  7. 3-7-2011

    Titus 2:14 tells us of our Lord “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” In other words, the purpose and substance of our salvation, is that we now have the desire and the power to do those good works that we once hated, or considered too costly.

    This restoring of humanity to the likeness of our Creator brings Him glory by revealing His love and righteousness to the world. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16

    It is also for the good of others, both directly, and in that we are the salt of the Earth (Matthew 5:13); if we did not stand in the gap, God would not delay any longer the judgment of the wicked (Ezekiel 22:30).

    Finally, it is good for ourselves, because no amount of blood spilled at the cross could cause the Holy, Righteous God to allow sinners to keep on sinning eternally.

    If God were willing to forever look the other way concerning sin, then there could perhaps be universal salvation. But, Christ did not go to the cross to excuse rebellion, but rather to put an end to it: “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” – 1 John 3:8

    Only those whose old, sinful nature is crucified with Christ, who by the gift of the Holy Spirit are being conformed to the image of Christ, can escape the wrath to come.

    So, to answer the question, why obey the commands of scripture?

    Because we love God, and want to glorify Him by showing others how good His law is. Because we love our neighbor, and God’s law shows us how to act out that love. Because we love ourselves, and fear our Judge.

    But in a word=love :)

  8. 3-7-2011

    Arthur,

    We are new… but not completely or totally new? Apparently, there are times when our new nature is not active? :)

    Tom,

    I’ll ask you the same questions that I asked Hutch above: “If we love God, why do we need commands? If we don’t love him, how are the commands beneficial?”

    -Alan

  9. 3-7-2011

    Good questions. I’ll try to bring it down to a level I understand.

    Why do my children obey me? Why should they obey me?

    They know that I will always love them. Disobedience will not cost them their position in our family. (I understand there may be some extreme exemptions to this)

    I hope they obey me because they know I care. Because they know I want them to learn something important. Or just because they respect me or my position in our family.

  10. 3-7-2011

    “If we love God, why do we need commands? If we don’t love him, how are the commands beneficial?”

    God’s commands explain how true love is expressed.

    This is important for two reasons:

    1) Love is about WHAT we do and say, not just WHY. Through saving faith we become “zealous of good works”, but we don’t automatically know which works are good. Zeal without knowledge is downright dangerous, but thankfully God has not left us in the dark:

    “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
    The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” – Psalm 19:7-8

    “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

    2) Just as importantly, “he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.” (John 12:35)

    “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:” (Proverbs 6:23) “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:19-20)

    Jesus said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) But, how can we be sure that we know Him?

    “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” (1 John 2:3-5) “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:13)

    To sum it up: the law shows us HOW to love God and men. In doing so it also cuts through all our ignorance, uncertainty, and self-deception to show us IF we love God, or if we are on the road to hell.

  11. 3-8-2011

    It is a natural reality between a creator and his creation.
    We were created to accomplish purposes designated by the creator.

    Since we are made in the image of God and can create things to accomplish purposes, we expect our creations to do what we create them to do. With this natural reality in mind, we understand why God has an instruction set, algorithms of behaviors so we can accomplish His purposes for which we were created.

  12. 3-8-2011

    Jon,

    I see that love is a constant theme in these comments. I think that’s a very good thing.

    Tom,

    Thanks. I love the “sum it up” part of your comment. Yes, the commands are there for the times when our old nature shows its ugly head. The commands remind us who we are and who’s we are.

    Tim,

    I like that you tied it back to creation and created purpose. We do have a purpose while we are here, don’t we?

    -Alan

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