Friday, March 18, 2016

Faith to Obey

In Romans 1:5 we read that obedience comes from faith. So faith comes first; obedience follows.

Some may make the excuse that they don’t have enough faith to obey, which I would then answer with:

     “Spending time in the word and prayer will grow our faith, as will meditating on how far God has brought us and how He has already answered prayer” (Romans 15:4; Matthew 7:7-11; Mark 5:19-20; Psalm 102:19-20; 1 John 5:14).

If we are not willing to put the time and study into growing our faith, then I believe we do not sincerely desire to be obedient. 

Obedience, rightly understood, is a front-end act: the Bible doesn’t say that if we obey, then the specifics of how we want to orchestrate life will materialize.

It doesn’t say, for example, that obedience will bring physical healing. While Jesus does say, in Mark 5, 10 and Luke 17, that faith has healed a person, it doesn’t delineate whether the person’s faith was in being healed or whether the person’s faith was in Jesus’ power to heal. 

Jesus is not implying that our faith will always heal us from physical infirmity (healing in Jesus’ economy involves physical, spiritual, mental and emotional. So we best be careful about limiting the word "healing" when used in Scripture to physical recovery alone.)

I have written a rather lengthy article on the topic of physical healing in Scripture, and will not repeat it here. Suffice it to say, in discussing the teaching that obedience comes from faith, that one of the things we have faith in is God’s power to physically heal us if it is in His will to do so

Our faith leads us to obey God by trusting Him for our physical healing, because we know He can do it, whether He actually does or not. And we continue to trust Him even when the specific kind of healing we desire does not come, because we can trust that God is healing and strengthening us in other ways (2 Corinthians 12:9).

The verse I like to look at here (recorded in Luke 5, Matthew 8 and Mark 1) is when a man with leprosy comes to Jesus and says:

     “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”

Jesus’ response is:

     “I am willing.”

See, the leper trusted Jesus enough to say, “if you are willing,” never doubting that Jesus can and does heal. The sick man had faith that led to obedience to trust Jesus to make the final determination as to how things ought to turn out.

This can be applied to all areas of life.

When we, out of an ever deepening and firmly rooted faith, obey, we do not concern our self with God’s end results. That alone frees us from so much of what clouds our faith to begin with. We, like Paul, can keep ourselves on the front end: steering our walk forward in faithful obedience, in total contentment that God’s will be done, come what may.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

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