God has always blessed those who obey Him and pronounced a curse on those who disobey Him. Humble, unquestioning, absolute and implicit obedience rendered to God by His creatures has been, and always will be, pleasing to the Heavenly Father. Since it is through strict conformity to God’s thought and purpose as revealed through His word that He gives spiritual blessings to men, it is therefore of the greatest importance that we learn His will and render absolute obedience in all things that pertain to our eternal salvation.
The laws of life must be obeyed if we would enjoy health. The laws of justice must be obeyed if we would enjoy the blessings of civilization, and the laws of the natural world must be obeyed if we would use its mighty forces for the general welfare of all. Is it any wonder, then, that God has set certain spiritual laws for man to obey and that He blesses man when man renders humble obedience to them?
If men will not obey and serve God, they are the servants of the devil, sin, lusts, riches, cares, and pleasures of this world. In either case, the act of obedience is exercised. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16). Not all of life is worship, but all of life is service, and man is a creature of choice. “Choose you this day whom ye will serve” was the farewell charge of the veteran Joshua to the tribes of Israel who gathered at Shechem (Josh. 24:15). The Israelites were at a solemn crisis, and their destiny hinged upon the choice they made. Man today is responsible for the choice he makes in life, just as Adam and Eve were responsible for the choice they made in the garden of Eden. Sin came into the world by disobedience because man chose the opposite of obedience.
The life of Christ is our perfect example of obedience to God. He came to do the will of the Father. Jesus lived, without deviation or exception, by the words proceeding out of the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4). He conquered by obedience. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:8-9). Yes, He bore the penalty of disobedience of the race, enabling men thereby to become partakers of the divine nature. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8). This all-embracing sacrifice should challenge all that is in man and cause him to gladly render humble obedience to Christ in all things. The Saviour left us an example in His suffering that we should follow in His steps (1 Pet. 2:21).
Our Lord said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Paul expresses it thus: “Therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10). Love makes obedience natural and inevitable, but to the loveless heart the commands of God are irksome. Obedience is the test of sincerity and whenever man serves and worships God acceptably, love and obedience go hand in hand. “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” (John 14:21). The proof of love is obedience. Men need to love God more.
God does not, cannot, and will not bless those who are living in disobedience. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). When men refuse to be baptized for the remission of sins, they deliberately disobey a plain command of God and, therefore, cannot expect the spiritual blessings promised the obedient.
There are four ways one may disobey God:
- By adding to the word of the Lord,
- by taking from His word,
- by substitution for something God commanded, and
- by deliberate disobedience by a refusal to hear His word.
These different ways of disobeying God are practiced today throughout the religious world. If man would adhere strictly to the teachings of the Bible, we would not hear of so many “isms” and there would be much less confusion in the minds of people who are seeking after truth.