The Spirit who gave the law also gives life... yet, the letter of the law kills!
The writers of the new testament under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit have taken the words of Jesus and have given to us a road map of "the faith". It was built upon the foundation of the writers of the old testament who were also under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The entire bible holds the word of life in; truth, examples, stories, poems, prophecy and history. Yet the letter of the bible kills the soul that reads it... except... When the Spirit of life breathes life into the text. It is then changed from the word of God to the "Rhema" word of God. It is then that the word of God impacts a persons life and change occurs.
The first example is walking as a child, hanging onto guide posts to give himself balance. The second is walking as an adult with the strength, knowledge and freedom that comes from within. Both of these are necessary in some degree during your entire life. It is not one or the other... but both.
Faith in this context can be considered as a system of religious belief based on the current level of knowledge held by those who proceeded us and/or today's teachers, pastors, etc... and who have established rules and codes of conduct based on scriptural references.
Obedience is to listen attentively to what is being written and/or spoken and then coming into compliance or submission to the one in authority or those who are in command.
It is important to understand that even Jesus while on the earth was our example of obedience to the faith. Later in life He also showed us obedience of faith within. The dividing line in the life of Jesus was the time before His baptism and that of after His baptism when the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. Even our Lord had to learn obedience through suffering so that He could be perfected.
Hebrews 5.7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by God as High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek,
... yet He learned obedience. He became our perfect example of what it means to walk in the faith and He is now the author of salvation to all who obey Him. Do not think that you can walk anyway that you wish. Only those who will obey Jesus, the author, the father of our faith, will also like Jesus be accepted by the Father.
This is not earning salvation through works. This is simply the response of the obedient heart of those whom He has called. You cannot say that you have repented of your ways and have accepted God's way of doing things if you continue to disobey the word of God. If you refuse to believe what the word is saying, you will not obey and thus you prove to yourself and those about you, that Jesus is not your Lord.
All of us are going to have to make decisions everyday of our lives, whether to obey or disobey what the bible says we ought to do. The calamity that fell upon mankind started with the disobedient action of Adam. Remember Romans 5.19 For as by one mans disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Mans obedience many will be made righteous. Thank God that Jesus proved Himself obedient to the way and will of God for His life.
Do you understand that you have a call on your life if you are a Christian?
Romans 1.5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;
From this scripture we see that Paul received grace and apostleship. In vs6 Paul says that we too are the called of Jesus Christ. The wonderful thing about this statement is that all who accept Jesus have received the grace of God. That is the common gift to all those who believe. Note should also be taken that Paul has a ministry and that all who are called have a ministry as well. You also have a ministry in the body of Christ and it is your duty to clothe yourself with the cloak of the office that the Lord has given you.
So then, why were you given this grace and this ministry? For obedience to the faith. This faith he is referring to is not that inward faith of the believer but "the faith"... the religion and traditions of the fathers that include all the writers of the bible. Many will talk about unity. To achieve this unity they are willing to water down the word, chop it down, until we have a base we hold in common. The problem with this approach is that creating unity in this way diminishes "the faith" and we are left with a pamphlet of "believe this at least" instead of the whole word of God.
The common problem facing the body of Christ is that where the word of God goes the lies of Satan follow. Over the course of time this has caused division in the church. The only answer to this is a willing heart that will search out the counsel of the new testament scriptures in the light of the whole word of God given from genesis to revelation. It is like children who are arguing with each other because each of their fathers' told them something slightly different. When this occurs the children should seek out their grandfather who is the grandfather of them all. If students argue with their teacher, teachers with their pastor, pastors with their denomination, etc... it is time to seek the words of our grandfathers of the faith... Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, etc...
Keep in mind though that I am talking about obedience to the faith... the faith of the fathers... and not about the renewing faith that comes by revelation of God to the spirit within a person. I am talking about the outward conformity to the faith handed down from the Apostles for the children to walk in and not about the inward faith of the spiritually mature in Christ.
Until love, for others and God has matured, we are children. Until we understand "the way" we make mistakes. We say that we have the truth and that the world will know we are Christians by our love. That is the testimony of a changed life to those who are not yet within the body. It is our witness to a hurting world. Yet... we all start out as children, more carnal than spiritual, more ignorant than knowledgeable. This is why before they see the testimony of love in our lives they should at least see the testimony of obedience to the faith. If not the unbeliever will echo these words of our Lord... "Why do you call Him Lord and then you don't do the things He is asking you to do?" In fact, how can you call Him Lord and disobey the word He has given through the apostles? Paul, when writing to the Romans said that their obedience has become known to all and that because of this he was glad on their behalf. (romans 16.9)
The world needs to hear the words of "the faith of our fathers" as written in the scriptures. They need to see us walking in obedience according to the commandment of our everlasting God. If not... they will perceive us as denying the word and denying God. If that is the case, then perhaps then they are right.
All this not for our salvation but our protection. All this as a testimony to the truth of the way to those who are still without Christ.
I would like to leave you with these words from the apostle Paul:
Romans 16.25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith 27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.
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