Thursday, March 20, 2014

Believe vs Obey

He who believes in the Son has eternal life;
but he who does not obey the Son will not see life,
but the wrath of God abides on Him.
John 3:36

The top quote is by Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher/theologian/poet who is considered to be the first existential philosopher.  Despite his credentials, his message above is pretty simple - belief and obedience are intrinsically connected.

John agrees in his statement, as well.  It's not a gospel of works salvation but a gospel of faith in what Jesus accomplished on our behalf that produces obedience.  Do you see it?  If we were to write this verse out as simple equations, here's what it would look like:


Person + belief = eternal life


Person + disobedience = no life but wrath


obedience is the proof of belief

So let's test this hypothesis:
  • Noah believed God was going to flood the earth, so he built an ark
  • Abraham believed God would keep His promise to make a great nation of Isaac, so he willingly offered Isaac as a sacrifice to God, expecting God to raise him from the dead
  • Jacob believed God's promise to bring him back home so he faithfully served Laban, waiting for God's instruction to return
  • Joseph believed the dream God gave him, so no matter where he was he worked hard and sought the Lord's favor in all he did, waiting for the promise to be fulfilled, saying, "Not you, but God…"
  • Joshua believed God would give him Jericho, so he gathered his men, gave them trumpets and marched around the city day after day after day
  • Moses believed God's instructions at the first Passover, so he applied the blood of a lamb over his doorpost so that God would not kill the firstborn in his house
My point is easily made by walking through the lives of the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, but let's make this more personal.  You've heard this question before:  If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

There are three things you can do in response to this verse above:

First option - you can get mad and say that Kristen is promoting works salvation and disregard the equations.

Second option - you can start to work, work, work on being good so that you guarantee eternal life.  That, by the way, will be a fail.

Third option - you can examine your life and seriously consider if you are person who walks by faith (belief plus obedience minus feelings with heart set on God - my daughter has taught me the art of abbreviating!)  True belief drives you to obedience out of gratitude - do you know Jesus?  Do you know yourself?  Do you realize how much He loves you and what He has done to get your attention?  Do you understand that without Him you are a slave to sin and with Him you are a slave to…well…Him?  If He bought you, your life is not your own - He doesn't force obedience but considering the price He paid, it makes logical sense that what He asks of you is in your best interest. 

This verse can affirm your relationship with Jesus or it can shed a light on some truth in your life.  Come on, friends, let's do some spring cleaning!  Where do you walk by faith?  How do you obey the Son?  Is there enough evidence to convict?

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