God is a lover not a lawyer. The law was our idea of a relationship. We ate from the wrong tree and we desired law over relationship at Mount Sinai. God’s plan has always been grace. Look at the garden before the fall, He provided. Look at His relationship with Abraham 400 years before the law, He provided. This verse is so key in understanding His nature. Ponder it in your mind and let the Holy Spirit speak to you.
Rom 4:5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
God justifies the ungodly, period. That truth will set you free. Jesus is proof. Jesus is what it looks like in our human reality. The cross is the judicial obligation of a just God. The cross is what love looks like in application. The resurrection is our title-deed to display to the enemy. The resurrection is our guarantee that all the requirements have been met. The resurrection is our evidence of transformation. A risen Lord is our claim to the Kingdom of Heaven. The Holy Spirit is our proof in power that everything God says, everything He is, His very nature is true and trustworthy. God did it all. Religion says to have faith in self. Grace says to have faith in God. Jesus is our faith. Jesus is our obedience. Jesus is our King. It is too good to be true. Get over it. It was His plan not yours. His ways are better than yours. His plans are better than yours. His Grace is bigger than anything you can imagine. Our attempts to add to His Grace is an affront to Him. It is disrespecting the cross. It is selfish. It is Adam. Let’s start acting like His kids instead!
Why the tirade? I listened to a teaching this morning that was inspiring but the teacher said one thing that disturbed me. He said “God’s presence is withdrawn from us when we are not living in obedience.” The problem I have with that statement is…it isn’t true. God clearly says that He will not leave us or forsake us. He says that we are one with Jesus and He is in us and we are in Him. He says that our spirit is one with the Holy Spirit. So I can’t agree with a statement that says God’s presence is conditional or withheld. It just isn’t true. Think about what power the enemy has when you say something like that. Now you walk around in fear and doubt and certainty that God isn’t with you because you are sure there is something that you forgot to do, you didn’t obey. Now you are reaping the consequences. It is the same as saying you can add anything to what Jesus has already done. Grace says it’s God not you. We need to learn it and believe it and trust Him.
So what about obedience? It seems to be everywhere. What is God talking about?
Without getting all Greek on you here is the short answer: There are two Greek root words translated as obedience or obey or some variant of the idea. One word (hypakoē) is clearly “you need to do this very specific thing just because I said so.” That is a reserved word for human to human interaction or Jesus to Father interaction or our obedience to the faith. It is divinely accomplished through us like the Holy Spirit through Jesus in the will of the Father. It is Jesus’ obedience.
The other word is peithō. It means to persuade or learn to believe. It is the same word that we get the word translated as faith – pistis the conviction of who God is. Here are a couple of examples:
Romans 1:5 It is through Him that we have received grace (God’s unmerited favor) and [our] apostleship to promote obedience (hypakoē) to the faith (pistis) and make disciples for His name’s sake among all the nations, (AMP)
Romans 16:25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience (hypakoē) of faith (pistis) 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. (ESV)
Gal 3:1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey (peithō) the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? (KJV)
Our obedience is to the faith, it is to believe in Him, it is to believe in what He has said, it is to believe in what He has done, it is to trust in God and then…WE DO THIS:
Eph 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (ESV)
Here it is in the Passion Translation. I really like what it says.
Eph 5: Follow God and imitate His ways in everything you do, for then you will represent your Father as His beloved sons and daughters. And continue to walk surrendered to the extravagant love of Christ, for He surrendered His life as a sacrifice for us. His great love for us was pleasing to God, like an aroma of adoration a sweet healing fragrance in heaven and earth. (Passion Translation)
The word for imitators is the word mimētēs where we get the word mime. We get to mimic Jesus. We get to operate like Him. We don’t even need words to do it (just saying). Check this out.
Rom 8:29 For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. 30 And those whom He thus foreordained, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified (acquitted, made righteous, putting them into right standing with Himself). And those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity and condition or state of being]. (AMP)
[ The Authority of the Son ] So Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. (ESV)
So we have to learn to think differently. The world teaches us law,” do this get this.” Religion teaches us law,” don’t do this or else”. The enemy speaks law, “I told you God doesn’t want anything to do with you.” God speaks the language of Grace. He is Grace. His interaction with us is Grace through and because of Jesus. If you hear anything that drives a wedge between you and God because of your performance, flush it. It isn’t from Him. Are you worried about sin in your life? Become a Love Mime. I guarantee that you will be consumed with His Grace instead of your sin. I guarantee that His love will overpower any desire for sin. Your obedience is to believe, believe, believe! Listen to what He says about His relationship with you because of Jesus. The power of your righteousness drives out any lies. The enemy has no more grip on you. Jesus did it all. Believe it and become a Love Mime.