Do you not know that to whomever you present yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves to whomever you obey, whether sin, leading to death, or obedience, leading to righteousness?—Romans 6:16
The issue of the lordship of Christ is never presented as an optional addendum to believing faith. It is an essential and functional necessity of it. Billy Graham believed in salvation by faith in Christ alone and walked in obedience to the lordship of Christ simply because Christ alone is Lord and King. Mr. Graham’s deep humility before man was the hallmark of his spiritual humility and obedience to God. As a result, he was endowed with an abundance of the grace of God (see James 4:6).
In the Bible, the call to obey God is first seen in the call of Abram (Genesis 12:1-4). When invited to join God in all He promised, Abram immediately followed God in total obedience. Abram, in fact, did not even know where he was going. He just obeyed and went.
Holman’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary suggests Biblical obedience is “to hear God’s Word and act accordingly.” In human terms, this carries the idea of submitting to a higher authority. In Biblical terms, obedience simply means doing what God says!
In short, if we believe in Him, then we obey Him. He alone is God.
Being led by the Spirit characterizes how we work. While that mindset is countercultural and not pleasing to the flesh (Gal. 5:16), it’s the only way to live as a child of God. Seek out believers who are trying to practice dependence on the Spirit, and encourage one another not to give up.
When you experience pain or suffering, what’s your first reaction? Is it something like, “Why me Lord?” or is it more like, “Thank you Father for this experience allowing me to draw closer to you.” If you’re like most people the first reaction is probably the one you have.
We all will have our trials and troubles because we live in a fallen world. As Paul says in Romans, “The wages of sin is death.” So when we have a problem we won’t necessarily experience death but we should be reminded that something we said or did might be the cause of our situation. Sometimes it is God working in us.
Let Christ sanctify you when you have pain and trouble instead of hanging on to disappointment, anger, and bitterness. The key to contentment in every situation is a willingness to look below the surface of your pain and see both the good that Christ is working in you and the glory that is guaranteed to follow.
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.— Romans 10:9-10
There is the heart of a person and there is the mouth of a person. When it comes to salvation, the two should be in harmony with one another. If you believe in your heart that Jesus is who the Bible says He is, then your mouth should also confess that Jesus is who the Bible says he is. If you do these two things, then our verse for today says you are saved.
Although Paul doesn’t explicitly say it in this context, the Bible teaches that the person whose heart truly believes and whose mouth truly confesses will also start down the road towards a Christ-like life. It was James who explicitly made this point. He said, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?” (James 2:14). Indeed, Jesus himself said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me'” (Matthew 16:24).
The heart full of faith in Jesus will confess that faith and will begin, however imperfectly, to walk in that faith.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. II Corinthians 1:3-4
Although we live in a world full of trials, troubles, and tribulations, we do not live in a world that only has trials, troubles, and tribulations. We live in a world where there is also the comfort of God. In the midst of the difficulties of life, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort sends us the comfort we need to help us go through everything that comes our way. Indeed, He sends us the comfort we need to overcome all these things.
People who have received the comfort of God in the midst of affliction are better able to be used by God as a source of comfort to others who are going through the same kind of affliction. There is little doubt that the best comforter is the one who has already been comforted by God in the relevant area of life. Such people know the comfort of God can help overcome Satan’s attempts to harm us and know how to help others in need to receive the comfort of God.
Like everyone else in this troubled world of ours, you have been going through various and sundry afflictions. The God of comfort, however, is preparing to send you the very thing you need to help you persevere and overcome.
Keep your eyes and ears open, then, for the comfort that is about to come your way.
though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.— Hebrews 5:8-9
Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus is the “author and finisher of our faith.” That is, from first to last He is the perfect example of how we should live our lives by faith. If we have any question as to how we should live our lives, then we should look to Jesus first of all as an example of what to do.
Interestingly enough, if we look to Jesus as revealed in our verse for today, what we learn from His example is that the model of our faith had to suffer. Jesus’ life was a life that included suffering and His suffering was not gratuitous. It had a purpose. Through His suffering Jesus learned obedience. He learned how to remain obedient to God even though He was suffering. He learned not to use suffering as an excuse to disobey God’s plan for His life. He learned how to stand fast in faith through it all and obey God.
Further, we learn from Jesus’ example that His obedience to God needed to be perfected. Jesus, of course, lived in sinless perfection. However, He still needed to go through the sufferings He went through in order to become ready for His great task in life. Every experience He had and every suffering He endured prepared Him for the cross.
If the author and finisher of our faith needed to learn obedience through suffering, then how much more do we who are mere followers of His example need to learn obedience through suffering? Perhaps we need to look at the trials, troubles, and tribulations of life in a new light. Instead of complaining about them, perhaps we should consider them valuable experiences that qualify us for the tasks God has planned for us. If we go through these trying times in faith and obedience, then we will be ready for what God has in store for us.
You are a work in progress. You are being perfected by suffering for the tasks God planned for you from all eternity. You are working on your advanced degree in the specialty God thinks you are best suited for. Stand fast in faith, then, and learn obedience from what you are going through.
Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength—Isa. 40:31
Do you desire God’s best for your life? Unfortunately, many people miss out on blessings because they are unwilling to wait for His timing. Scripture encourages believers to be patient.
Your patience is refined when you are going through difficult times, when you’re frustrated with the waiting and tempted to act outside of God’s will. Always seek His wisdom, and follow the instruction you receive. Remember that “those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength” (Isa. 40:31).