Hello my friend. You asked:
How does obedience fit into the grace of Christ? anonymous
Hello anonymous. Consider the following:
Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? Acts 15:10
We misunderstand obedience because we overlook the obvious. Or have we not considered God’s declaration that none of his people obeyed or were declared righteous?
just as it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God.” Romans 3:10-11
Contrary to popular opinion, obedience is something that never actually happened under the Law. Now, don’t confuse this with the reality that specific acts of obedience took place during the time Israel was under the law - because they DID! Instead of dulling the sharp edges, ask yourself how it could be possible that LAW could produce obedience when it only reveals sin and DIS-obedience?
Have we missed the significance of God’s workings in spite of the Law’s bondage? Obedience happened because God put His Spirit upon certain people to do certain things for certain periods of time. For example, Joseph…
found favor in [God’s] sight, and served him. Genesis 39:2
And why was that? Because…
the LORD was with Joseph… Genesis 39:4
Who would question Moses’ faithful obedience? But did you see that God told Moses,
My presence will go with you and I will give you rest. Exodus 33:14
No one is good but God; and God with man is always miraculous. We have used these and other passages as scriptural proofs falsely assuming we’re supposed to TRY to be obedient. Then we compound the problem by ignoring the miraculous working of God in the Old Testament writings, the words of Jesus, and the letters and writings of the apostles. What if the miraculous displays of obedience before Christ were actually SHADOWS of something yet to come? Simply stated, obedience NEVER, EVER happened by the works of the law!
Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. Galatians 3:21
But then the miraculous happened!! For upon the stage of failure, Jesus Christ - the obedient one - entered. He wasn’t obedient because he TRIED, but simply because the life within him was the Spirit of God. It is HE who fulfills the righteous requirement of the law in us
For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:3-4
The obedience which was foreshadowed in the Old Testament and revealed in Jesus Christ has been accomplished in you. Your obedience does not come from trying, but springs from the life that has been put within you - for it is the same that is in Christ. The obedience of faith is what you have been brought INTO through Christ.
through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, for His name’s sake, Romans 1:5
If we’re stumbling over obedience, we’re actually stumbling over Christ, for He is the life of God in man.
and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. 1 Peter 2:8
I still struggle with many of the scriptures that appear to emphasize obedience and works and doing. I felt condemned constantly as a law-breaker, and still condemned as a grace-keeper. I think that I keep expecting my performance will be perfected somehow through grace… anonymous
That is a heavy bondage, my friend. The interesting thing was that, while on earth, the religious community viewed Jesus as being anything BUT obedient. They saw him as an evil-doer, a blasphemer, a glutton, an alcoholic, a sinner’s companion, controlled by the devil, a law-breaker, sacrilegious, as one not believing the Scriptures, a false prophet and teacher, a liar, a despised man, worthy of death, condemned by God and man, a trouble-maker, a non-conformist, demon-possessed, a heretic, offensive, misguided, destroyer of protocol, weak, confusing, divisive, a ruffian, mentally unstable, despised, forsaken by God, and other such things. And yet, there he was living before them as the one and only obedient man who had ever lived.
Jesus wasn’t obedient because he TRIED, but simply because the life within him was the Spirit of God. The obedience which was foreshadowed in the Old Testament and revealed in Jesus Christ, has been accomplished in you. Your obedience does not come from trying, but because the life within you is the Spirit of God. Paul declared believers have been brought into the “obedience of faith” through Christ (Romans 1:5). Is it any surprise that true obedience is greater, more miraculous than we have understood it to be?
The fact is only Jesus has kept the will of God. When we view our life through law we ALWAYS come up on the short end of the stick. The religious community tried to measure Jesus’ obedience according to the flesh and missed it. And we know the condemnation of attempting to measure ourselves by that same standard. There is no life in this viewpoint, and no truth in it either.
Any obedience we have ever achieved on our own is totally and completely bogus. It never happened! And yet we listen to those who play a partial obedience game. We wonder if they have a good point in asking, Shouldn’t we try to obey? What in the world are we thinking - that God grades on a curve??!! Anybody who talks about obedience without referring to the miraculous work of God’s Spirit carrying out His will through us by HIS OWN power flirts with hypocrisy. Such people know not what they propose.
Obedience is not an ATTEMPT to keep - but is the REALITY of keeping - God’s will. Trying to view obedience according to performance standards will only convince us that it is not happening. True obedience has nothing to do with religious performance, it is the miracle of God with us. When you think obedience, think of Jesus, because he is our pioneer. He boldly went where none had gone before, and has taken us with him!!