OBEDIENT FROM THE HEART

Image result for romans 6.17

THERE IS AN OLD STORY THAT GOES SOMETHING LIKE THIS:

An old man, going on a journey, left instructions for his 3 sons to take care of the farm and to build a barn by the field to the west, a house on the hill toward the north, to plant an orchard toward on the east side and dig a well on the southern part of the property. He then departed on his journey.

After the old man had left, the 3 sons went to the west where the barn was to be built. They conferred and said,

Father has made an excellent choice for the barn.” So, they built the barn according to their father’s instructions.

Next they surveyed the hill to the north for the building of the house. They conferred once again and said to one another:

Father has chosen an excellent spot for the house.” So, they built the house according to what their father had said.

After this they went toward the east side of the property and examined the area for the orchard. Upon inspection they said to one another,

This is indeed a fine spot for the orchard.” So, they planted the orchard in the instructed location.

When they had completed the barn, the house and the orchard their attention then turned to the digging of the well. They went over to the southern side to inspect the spot their father had chosen for the well. They counselled with one another and said,

“Father has truly made fine choices for the locations of the other things, but his choice for the well is not good. It’s not in a convenient location. There’s already a nearby stream, let’s forgo digging and use the stream for our water.” They then ceased their work from the father.

The question then is this, in how many areas were the sons obedient to their father? Four? Three?

The correct answer is NONE!

We can easily see that they disobeyed in one area, but they had actually disobeyed in all four. Regarding the 3 areas in which they followed the father’s instructions, they only followed their father’s instructions in the areas after they agreed with his choices.

Obedience requires following instructions whether one agrees with them or not.

OBEDIENCE, IF ONLY IN AGREEMENT = DISOBEDIENCE.

This is exactly what we see regarding our Heavenly Father’s instructions. God has given instructions regarding salvation:

  • God said that one must believe in Jesus as the Christ [Acts 10:43; John 3:16]. This makes sense to many, so they agree to believe in Jesus.
  • God said that each person must repent of their sins. [Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30). To many this also makes sense, so they agree to repent.
  • God said that everyone must confess with their mouth the Lord Jesus [Rom 10:9, 10]. This is seen as a reasonable command, so they gladly oblige.

God has also clearly commanded the believer to be Baptized in water for salvation. [Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16; 1Peter 3:21] Unfortunately, some stop at this point because they don’t agree with the Lord. They don’t see the need for baptism. Naaman had this problem, he thought waving hands was better. [2King 5:11]

So, they refuse to be baptized to have their sins washed away. [Acts 22:16].

The question is repeated here; In how many ways have those who have faith alone obeyed God? The answer is the same, NONE. They’ve only acted on the instructions with which they agreed. Obedience requires submitting to God’s will whether you agree or not. Submission implies some disagreement.

Jesus asked it this way, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” [Luke 6:46]

What about those who never heard?

Romans 10 tells us that a person cannot confess Christ unless they have heard of Him.

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” [Rom 10:14]

Many antagonists of the Gospel, this includes denominational believers, will often challenge obedience to the Gospel in Baptism by asking this question. This is one of the most challenging questions, but not unanswerable. As with all questions we turn to scriptures for the solution.

Before we answer, we must establish some undeniable facts about Christ. Here are 3 absolutes about Jesus:

1: JESUS is the ONLY WAY to the Father. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” [John 14:6]

If reconciliation to God could be done by good works of man, Mohammed, philosophy, ignorance or any other way, then what was the need of sending Jesus to provide a sacrifice? No one will get to heaven without coming to Jesus the Christ.

2: JESUS is the author of salvation for all that obey Him. All of the saved are obedient to Christ [Luke 6:46]. This is exactly the meaning of Hebrews 5:9: “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

There is no salvation by accident, ignorance nor faith alone.

3: OBEDIENCE to the Gospel is required. The knowledge of God and obedience in Baptism are essential to salvation. One is not saved by faith only [Jas 2:24], is not saved then baptized. We are saved when we are baptized (buried) in water through faith.

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” [1Peter 3:21]

There’s more that could be said, but this is sufficient to prove the point, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” [Acts 4:12]

WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER HEARD?

We answer this with the bible and just a little bit of reasoning.

Allow me to offer 2 possibilities:

EVERYONE WHO IS SEEKING THE TRUTH, GOD WILL ENSURE THAT THEY HEAR IT. We have a few examples of this in the New Testament. The first is the house of Cornelius. He was a devout believer in God and had been praying about this very thing. God sent him Peter to, “who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.” [Acts 11:14]. We can also see this when Philip was urged to go down toward Gaza and encountered the seeking Eunuch. [Acts 8:26-39]. All the more reason we need to keep preaching to the whole world. [Mat 28:18-20; cr. Lu 10:2]

GOD KNOWS WHO WON’T ACCEPT THE GOSPEL EVEN IF THEY HEARD IT. The rich man in Luke 16 wanted Lazarus to go back from the dead to warn his brothers about the torment they were facing. The answer was, nope, if they’re not listening to the revelation they already have, they won’t hear even if someone were raised from the dead. [Luke 16:19-31]

Romans 1:20 tells us people are without excuse in light of creation. We all know that many reject God and they use His creation to do it. We could all think of a person that is NOT SEEKING the truth, rather they’re seeking THEIR TRUTH. [2Thess 2:8-10].

If they wouldn’t accept the basic light of creation declaring the existence of God, they won’t accept any more light. Jesus acknowledged this when He said, “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” [Mat 15:14].

He also warned, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” [Mat 7:6]

There are those who just won’t believe regardless the effort, even if someone comes back from the dead. That’s what Jesus did, and many still won’t believe.