Index by Subject

The Simple Gospel: Obedience – Its Nature and Importance

As Jesus delivered His famous “Sermon on the Mount,” He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23). Truly Jesus taught the importance of obedience when He taught that only those who do the will of the Father will enter the kingdom of Heaven.

Obedience is the act of or an instance of obeying. The word, obey, is defined by Webster to mean: 1) to carry out the instructions or orders of, 2) submit to the control of… (another). Jesus said, in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” To obey Jesus is to obey the Father (Ephesians 6:6). Further, obedience to the Father and to Jesus involves obedience to Christ’s apostles as His spokesmen after His ascension into Heaven. Consider Matthew 28:16-20, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'” AND 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” The Apostle Paul also wrote, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). Hence, we know that adherence to the writings of the apostles is as acceptable and as necessary today as it was to obey their spoken word in the first century. Thanks be to God we have the writings of the apostles in our New Testament today as they were penned under the direction of the Holy Spirit! (Ephesians 3:1-5).

Jesus said, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not… done many wonders in Your name?'” and His response to them will be to condemn them as practitioners of lawlessness. The idea being conveyed here is that even with people who were active religiously, their activity was not according to the proper authority, the law of God. The Lord had just said that only those who performed the will of the Father would enter into the kingdom of Heaven. A person may only accomplish that by subjecting his own will to the will of the father even as Jesus did while He was on the earth. Remember His prayer, Matthew 26:39, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” In John 8:29, Jesus said, “…I always do those things that please Him (the Father).”

Those people whom Jesus will refuse at the Judgment are the same as some described by Paul in Romans 10:2-3, “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” Paul said these people did not submit (recall the definition of obedience) to the righteousness of God, being ignorant of that righteousness. Friends and brethren, knowledge of God’s righteousness is a necessary prerequisite to obeying His will! Paul wrote, in Romans 1:16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes… For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” We know the righteousness of God through the gospel. Paul affirmed to the Galatian brethren that the gospel which he delivered to them was given to him by revelation of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:1-12). He told the Ephesians that he had written down this revelation of the gospel so that by reading, people could understand. He further told them that people could be partakers of God’s promise in Christ, “by the gospel” (Ephesians 3:1-6). Timothy received these Spirit directed words, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Further, we read in James 1:22-25, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” Each of us needs to continually look into the word of the gospel, notice how it reflects upon our lives and how our lives compare to the righteousness revealed therein, then pattern our lives to change more and more into the image we see when we look into the word (2 Corinthians 3:18). We need to guard against forgetting what is written in God’s word as the writer of Hebrews said, Hebrews 2:1, “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away,” and thereby become the forgetful hearer described by James who fails to continue in obedience to the word.

The only logical conclusion which can be drawn from the weight of the evidence supplied by these various scriptures is that only those people who gain a knowledge of God’s righteousness through reading and/or hearing (Romans 10:17) the gospel as it is revealed in the Holy Scriptures and who then continually submit to such will be permitted to “enter the kingdom of Heaven.”

In conclusion, Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica of a time… “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Even as he also said, so do we. 2 Corinthians 5:11, “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” Dear reader, please do not let yourself be among those who will be so treated by Jesus when He returns. Please decide now to begin the lifelong commitment (Luke 14:28-30; Hebrews 10:38) of living by faith, with a continuing knowledge of and obedience to the gospel of Christ.

Begin your commitment now by developing a knowledge of and an obedience to these scriptural teachings:

  1. Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”; Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”; Revelation 21:27, “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
  2. Matthew 1:21, “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” Matthew 26:28, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
  3. If we believe these truths and obey Jesus, we can have eternal life in Heaven (John 20:30-31; John 8:24; Acts 8:37; Romans 10:9-10)
  4. If we repent of our sins, our sins will be blotted out. (Acts 3:19)
  5. If we confess Christ, He will confess us before His Father (Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:10)
  6. If we are immersed in water, in obedience to God, our sins will be washed away (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21; Romans 6:3-6)
  7. If we faithfully keep the Lord’s commands to work and worship according to His pattern, Heaven will be our eternal home (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 20:7; Romans 12:1-2).