08-Why Obey God
It is important, even imperative, that we understand obedience to the Lord God and what that all entails. Why does anyone want to or desire to obey God? Is there a right or a wrong motive for obeying God? Not only does the Holy Spirit indwell and empower us to obey the commandments, but He also gives us the proper motivation. This is so critical, for multitudes of false teachers are seducing people to desire obedience to God for the wrong reasons. Your reason for obeying God can reveal whether or not you’re walking in the Spirit or the flesh.
If we desire to obey for impure reasons we are distorting the grace of God, and making the blood of Jesus an unclean thing. In essence, we are then working for our salvation Attempted obedience that is not based and rooted upon personal identification with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, is the product of an impure heart.
There are basically two wrong reasons for wanting to obey God. First, there are many people who desire to obey God, only because they think that will bring His blessings and riches upon them. This reasoning shows nothing more than a covetous and lustful heart. They see God only as someone who can satisfy their desires for earthly gain, success and wealth. Their professed love and obedience is carnal and conditional.
The second wrong motive is held by many also. These people desire to obey, strictly out of fear of punishment. It is indeed true as Psalms 111:10 declares, that “…the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” And that we should fear Him who can judge and destroy both soul and body in Hell, as unsaved men fear men who can kill their bodies, (Matthew 10:28). Every natural man whose life is threatened seeks to find an avenue of escape from the death that stares him in the face. So also does the man who fears God’s judgment and wrath and knows that he deserves that wrath because of his rebellion. It is then that God reveals His love, grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. This is the only escape route God offers to any fearful, sorrowful man. This wrath and love of God must be preached together if true salvation is to occur.
But notice how the Psalmist says …the beginning of Wisdom. When a person meets, understands, and falls in love with Jesus Christ, that initial fear of Hell and death is transformed to reverence and love. The heart of a regenerated man explodes with thankfulness and praise for we see the incredible grace and love of God on the cross for us and because of us. We see on the cross a way of escape from the fear of Hell and death. The same Jesus we are all guilty of murdering turns to us with warm forgiving arms, if we but confess our sin with shame and sorrow.
As born again Christians, we should fear God if we have fallen into willful presumptuous sin, but desire to obey Him only out of a motive of love and respect for a holy majestic God. When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, His purpose is to produce godly sorrow and shame that drives us to the cross for cleansing. Once forgiven and cleansed, there will follow the desire to obey the Lord because we know that our sins were the very nails that caused His death, which revealed His love for us. That’s the power in the grace of God. Knowing and understanding this produces a desire not to think and do the things that caused our Lord’s death. This kind of reasoning and understanding makes the crucifixion of Jesus more than a mere historical happening. Identifying our sin with His death 2,000 years ago, will bring the Holy Spirit into the hearts of fallen men.
The fear of God is an exhausting subject which is difficult to cover in the short space of this book. But let me try to explain some more what it means to me. If you love something with all of your heart, the thought of losing that object of your love will produce thoughts of fear and terror. The unsaved, who love themselves and money with all of their hearts, are terrified when confronted with the potential loss of their money and seek ways to hang on to their gods of gold and silver. They detest and hate whatever threatens their possession and oneness with money, including God. In like manner, those who love Jesus Christ with all their hearts, when confronted with the thought of losing their oneness with Jesus Christ, are moved with fear and terror. They too, seek to hang on tighter to that which has all of their love and affection. Since sin and rebellion is the only thing that separates man from God, the true believer now has a hate and resentment towards any sin that threatens his oneness and love with God. The faithful will seek a way of escape from that sin which threatens him. Again, the only way of escape is the blood of Jesus and His indwelling Holy Spirit.
So, who is it that puts fear of loss into the heart of a born again person, when sin has wormed and worked its way back into the believers life? Who is it that reminds the fallen believer of the wrath and love of God? Who is it that says “hate that sin which threatens your love and oneness with Jesus?” Who is it that says “this sin now in you is what caused the Lord’s death?” All of these are the work of the Holy Spirit. Reading this should propel those trapped in sin to immediately confess and repent of their love for self and money. After this, one should then transfer all their love to Jesus Christ. He who doesn’t hate sin, doesn’t love God! Listen to the Psalmist as he defines God’s deliverance and preservation of His people.
“Ye that love the Lord, hate evil; he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.”