The Requirement Of Obedience
God is big on obedience. Here are a few examples from His word.
“So you shall keep My commandments, and do them; I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 22:31)
“You should diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and His testimonies and His statutes which He has commanded you.” (Deuteronomy 6:17)
“Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.” (Deuteronomy 8:6)
“You shall therefore love the LORD your God, and always keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances, and His commandments.” (Deuteronomy 11:1)
“Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments and hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Joshua 22:5)
3 “Keep the charge of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn,
4 so that the LORD may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’” (1 Kings 2:3-4)
“Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day.” (1 Kings 8:61)
Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets.” (2 Kings 17:13)
I said, “I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments.” (Nehemiah 1:5)
That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments. (Psalms 78:7)
My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments. (Proverbs 3:1)
Then he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live.” (Proverbs 4:4)
Keep my commandments and live, And my teaching as the apple of your eye. (Proverbs 7:2)
I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed and said, “Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments.” (Daniel 9:4)
And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19:17)
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)
“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” (John 15:10)
3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.
4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 John 2:3-4)
And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. (1 John 3:22)
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3)
So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. (Revelation 12:17)
Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. (Revelation 14:12)
Solomon said, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
You are making a grievous error if you think that you, or anyone, can form a covenant relationship with God who created you and not keep His commandments. Of course, some will say, “We are only human, sinners by nature, therefore it is not possible to keep God’s commandments.”
That is a lie.
We are commanded to keep His commandments. Therefore, we can keep them.
Then, how is it done?
Obedience Is Supreme
Keeping the commandments is done only one way: Obedience to the guidance, leading, teaching and direction of the Holy Spirit. This includes all of the instruction, both the written word and inward spiritual revelation provided by the Holy Spirit.
To keep all of the commandments must be the great, overriding desire of every believer’s heart.
1 Kings 8:61 says: “Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day.” Nothing could be more clear than that.
There is one other fallacy that must be avoided at all cost. It is the doctrine that says your soul, i.e., your mind and intellect, is not rejuvenated when your are born again. Repentance requires a total giving of your spiritual self to Jesus. That is, you crucify all of your spiritual being with Jesus on the cross. Giving of your total spiritual self is the way of making covenant. This is how you become born again.
1 “So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the LORD your God has banished you,
2 and you return [repent] to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons,
3 then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.” (Deuteronomy 30:1-3)
You repent by giving your entire spiritual self, heart and soul, to die on the cross with Jesus. When you do this, you receive a new heart and a new soul. Therefore, Paul would proclaim.
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Paul was totally crucified (spiritually) and his entire spiritual being (his heart and soul) was made new. There are those who say that only your heart, not your soul, is made new when you are born again. They say this is so because Paul also says that we are to renew our minds. Our mind must, of course, be renewed, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t reborn along with the rest of you when you were born again. Please refer to my article, “Renew Your Mind” for a more complete discussion of this topic.
We are to serve God in the same way we came to Him … with all our heart and all our soul.
“Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.” (Deuteronomy 4:9)
We are to diligently keep our souls in line with God’s commandments. In this way we prevent the soul from being overrun by old lusts. Our constant practice of denying each temptation by not allowing the mind to follow the old ways eventually trains the soul to completely disregard all of the old ways. This is the renewing of the mind. To not follow this course of action will cause the ways of God to depart from our heart.
“But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29)
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5)
“Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 10:12)
“It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 11:13)
It is a fallacy to believe that you can be born again while your heart continues to devote itself to the fleshly pleasures of the past. Those who are born again receive a new heart and a new soul. Also, the Holy Spirit is sent to take up permanent residence in your new heart. Jesus said the Holy Spirit abides with us forever.
16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
17 that is the Spirit of truth [the Holy Spirit], whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)
The Holy Spirit is our teacher.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26)
The Spirit teaches all things pertaining to God. The kicker is that we must receive His teaching and then act on it.
This is obedience.
This is the walk of sanctification.
This is how we know our love for God is true.
God has a simple test for determining who loves Him and who does not.
“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” (John 14:21)
23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.”
24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” (John 14:23-24)
And the idea of testing us to see if we love Him is not only a New Covenant reality.
“You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” (Deuteronomy 8:2)
Your obedience is a sign of your love for God.
Your obedience is required.
Obedience to the teaching and leading of the Holy Spirit is the way you walk the walk of sanctification leading to eternal life.
It is a lie of Satan that believers cannot live in holiness and righteousness. It is imperative that we do so, not only for our own health and well-being, but for the soundness and wholeness of the body of Christ as well.
In the next article, Keeping The Eternal Covenant: Part IV, we look at the role confession and forgiveness play in sanctification.