Sunday, April 12, 2015


Paul reminded the Roman Christians that they had been set free from being a slave to sin and now they were to, "obey from the heart that form of teaching which was delivered you. " [Romans 6:16-17]  We need to understand that there is absolutely no conflict in the New Testament between faith and obedience. There is a genuine conflict between living by faith and living by the Law, as there is between Grace and Law, but none whatsoever between faith and obedience in the life of a believer.

In fact, were one to attempt to separate faith and obedience one would effectively destroy both. There is no real biblical faith without obedience and no real biblical obedience except it flow from the reservoir of genuine faith.

The biblical message of Christ and His Cross work is to be understood two ways. There are those things declared to be accomplished and you can bank on them being true. [Generally written in the Indicative mood] Then there are those things commanded that are to be obeyed in light of His accomplishments. [Written in the Imperative mood.] The only thing we do with the accomplished things is believe them. [Rest in their genuineness] It is impossible to obey a fact declared accomplished. It isn't even addressed to our will but to our mind or understanding.

Likewise, a command is not to be believed but obeyed. It is not addressed to our mind or understanding but to our will. We can certainly trust it is a wise thing commanded and is best for our lives, but it is to be obeyed.

The Christian life is to be lived with this duality in mind always. As we believe who He is and what He has accomplished on our behalf, we are to then obey what He commands in every realm of life whether it be marriage, family, work, ministry or whatever a day may bring. Christianity is not a thing of religious activities to be performed, but a way of life. As we choose to obey what He commands, trusting who He is and what He's done to be real, we will find the power and authority for the living of life. Troubles, trials, good times alike, will come and go, but life will be meaningful and abundant BECAUSE He is alive in and through us.

Study the New Testament to know the ways of God and obey the will of God as you see it trusting that the ways you've learned are true. This is obedience flowing from that reservoir of faith in His accomplishments which was mentioned earlier. Do this as a way of life and a "well done" will be heard for your living of life in this, the year of our Lord, 2015.


Aussie John said...

Hit the spot again! "we are to then obey what He commands in every realm of life", yet that obedience is an act motivated by the love of God in us and not a chore to gains kudos with God.

I love Isaac Watts words, with special note of the last two verses:

Curs’d be the man, for ever curs’d,
That does one wilful sin commit;
Death and damnation for the first,
Without relief, and infinite.
Thus Sinai roars, and round the earth
Thunder, and fire, and vengeance flings;
But Jesus, thy dear gasping breath
And Calvary, say gentler things:
‘Pardon and grace, and boundless love,
Streaming along a Saviour’s blood;
And life, and joy, and crowns above,
Obtained by a dear bleeding God’.
Hark! How he prays (the charming sound
Dwells on his dying lips): ‘Forgive!’
And every groan and gaping wound
Cries: ‘Father, let the rebels live!’
Go, ye that rest upon the law,
And toil and seek salvation there,
Look to the flame that Moses saw,
And shrink, and tremble, and despair.
But I’ll retire beneath the cross;
Saviour, at thy dear feet I’ll lie!
And the keen sword that justice draws,
Flaming and red, shall pass me by.

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

A great comment and I really appreciate the Watts poem and getting to reread it after a good many years. It is beyond great, isn't it!

Bob Cleveland said...

I view it from a different angle. Jesus came that we might have life ... a very interesting definition in that verse ... and even then, in abundance. I want that life, and I'm glad I do, as I surely want to get my children things they want ... that is, I want them to want the gifts I provide them ... and I'm sure Jesus want us to want the abundant life He came to provide.

I figure the only way to do that is to do what He says. To want to do that. As far as I can tell, that hasn't failed yet.

Bobby Brown said...

Faith is a gift of God. God stokes that faith through the preaching of the gospel. And since our faith needs to be constantly stoked the gospel needs to be constantly proclaimed in our lives. So in order for me to love my faith has to be fueled and the only fuel for faith is the gospel. No faith equals no love, no gospel equals no faith, and therefore, no gospel equals no love. God grants us the gift of faith. We believe that everything we need in Christ we already have, so now we can give everything too others you without needing anything in return. The preaching of the gospel activates faith and faith activates love. The powerful secret of grace is that we actually perform better as we grow to understand that God's love for us is based on Jesus' performance not on our performance. We actually love better when we come to believe that it is God's love for us and not our love for Him that makes this thing go. It is this love for us, that births love in us, that bleeds love through us to the people around us.

Certainly you don't think I thought all this upon on my own. It is taken from Tchividijian

Rex Ray said...


Here is a hard question: ‘If we don’t have faith, can we blame God?’

“…How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, BUT you wouldn’t let me.” (Luke 13:34 NLT)

Did Jesus blame his Father for not giving them faith?

“…I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 NLT}

I think the more we understand God’s love for us, the more we behave like He wants us to do.

Aussie John said...


May I respectfully propose some Scriptures which seem to support the reality of God's great gift of saving faith to His people?

ROMANS 3:23 - "For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment,each according to the measure of faith THAT GOD HAS ASSIGNED."

2 TIMOTHY 2:25 - "God may perhaps GRANT THEM REPENTANCE leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will".

ROMANS 3:22-25 - "For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified BY HIS GRACE AS A GIFT through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith."

There are others which are rather clear in their intent: Phil. 1:29; Acts 18:27; Heb.12:2; Matt. 16:16-17; Acts 13:48; John 6:37.

Any suggestion that cooperation between God and man (synergism) seems to me to be denied by these Scriptures.

1 Cor 1:26-30 is such an encouragement to me (because the descriptions of whom are called and chosen describe everyone who are followers of Christ), and also adds weight to the claim that saving faith is God's gift,
" For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God CHOSE what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God CHOSE what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God CHOSE what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. HE IS THE SOURCE OF YOUR LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption."

Paul Burleson said...


I've been away for a week in a pastor's and wives conference and have been unable to respond. Good comments all.

I'm one of those who believes that faith is a gift. Eph. 2:8-9 says "and that not of yourselves, it [both the grace and faith] is not of yourselves." is only one that is pretty clear to me.

I'm also one that believes faith is only as good as it's object. So faith in faith or self or anything other than God has the wrong object of faith and is there for false faith.

Then I believe our faith grows [little faith as opposed to great faith] as we get acquainted with the object of our faith.

The finally, as I pointed out in the post, I believe faith and obedience are two sides of the same coin. You don't have one without the other.

Lots of stuff to think about on this subject of faith.

Aussie John said...


You're so right,"...So faith in faith or self or anything other than God has the wrong object of faith and is there for false faith".

Your words reminded me of something I read last evening from Tullian Tchividjian's, "One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World":
"The hub of Christianity is “Jesus has done everything for you.” And my fear is that too many people, both inside and outside the church, have heard our pleas for intensified devotion and concluded that the focus of Christian faith is our love for God instead of God’s love for us. Don’t get me wrong— what we do is important. But it is infinitely less important than what Jesus has done for us".

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

It may be as simple as "those who focus on works" focus on what they are or should do for God and "those that focus on grace" focus on what He has already done on our behalf. The second would leave nothing but "responding in love" which is what I believe grace obedience is all about.