Article: OBEDIENCE IS THE TRUE MEASURE OF OUR FAITH | Jacob Varghese

What good is it, if we claim to have faith but have no obedience? Can such faith save us? Suppose a brother or sister does not have enough to meet both ends of his daily needs and if one of us says to him, go ahead and I will pray for you but does nothing about his needs, what is the use of our faith? Faith by itself, if not accompanied by action (obedience), is dead. How can we show our faith to others without obedience?

post watermark60x60

The Bible clearly teaches that our lives will remain unproductive unless we begin to obey and practice what we believe. We may combine large amounts of Bible reading, prayer, and church going, but if we lack the essential element of faith, we will not experience any significant spiritual growth. When you study chemistry you understand if we mix hydrogen and oxygen the components of water, we get no reaction- and no water, but if we add a small amount of platinum, things happen very rapidly. A chemical change occurs. The hydrogen and oxygen atoms unite to form a new molecule, which we call H2O. The spiritual parallel is clear. Faith must be present in our hearts if we are to experience progress in our relationship with the Lord.

Once I read that in Blackpool, England, there is a platform of laminated glass at the top of a 385-foot tower constructed to give people the illusion of walking on air called “the walk of faith”. An Associated Press photo showed a woman at the edge of the invisible walkway, fists clenched against her face, trying to summon the courage to take a step. She had been told the platform was safe, but she was still afraid. Sometimes we feel that way about our circumstances. Perhaps a serious health problem has caused us to question the power and the presence of God. It is encouraging to note that Paul’s familiar words, “we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Our walk of faith can be challenging and sometimes scary but it is better to walk with God in obedience by faith than to go alone by sight.
Do you see dramatic evidence of God at work in your life or is your life rather quiet and routine? Catherine Booth, who with her husband William organized the Salvation Army, stressed the need for being content to walk by faith. In her final illness she talked to a friend about the difference between faith and sight “one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn “she said, is to discern between faith and realization……….. If I have had to conquer all through life by naked faith, bringing afterward perhaps very blessed realizations, I can only expect that it shall be the same now”. Catherine was prepared to pass through the valley of death’s shadow sustained by “naked faith” with out any reassuring sight of her savior’s face. She exemplified the confidence Paul spoke of in 2 Corinthians 5.8. “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord”. Catherine concluded, “All our enemies have to be conquered by faith, not by realization”. Then she asked, “Is it not so with the last enemy-death?”
The 12 spies who were sent out by Moses scouted the land of Canaan. When they returned, all but Joshua and Caleb gave this pessimistic report: “we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them”(Num 13:33). These faithless ones saw only difficulties and defeat. Yes, the giants were great, but wasn’t their God greater? How could they so easily forget the way God led them through wilderness? The 10 spies who were filled with doubt died in the wilderness. We know that Joshua led the people into the Promised Land. But what about Caleb? God blessed him and brought him in to the land too because he had a different spirit and followed him wholeheartedly (Num14:24). After God opened the Red sea for His people, then released the waters to overwhelm Pharaoh’s pursuing army, there was a great celebration of praise to the Lord. But then it was time to move on in the journey toward the land of promise. “So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea; then they went out into the wilderness of Shur”. There they traveled for 3 days without finding water and they began to complain. In the divine plan, supernatural intervention is not an end in itself, but it is a means of teaching us that we can always trust and obey Him. If he leads us through the sea, will He not guide us to a well?
Faith and obedience come first, then God answers prayer! So many have said,” If God will heal me, then I will serve Him, and then I will believe. Anyone with that kind of attitude is simply putting self first, and God just doesn’t work that way. It’s really a form of self-righteousness, because it is pride. What is this business of hinging your faith on the answer? It’s like,” Show me! I will believe it when I see it! But, that is not the way faith works. You can’t make the answer conditional to your service for God…you ought to serve Him regardless. It may even encourage some poor people who have worse problems than you to go ahead and serve the Lord, and not be ashamed regardless of handicaps. JOB is a good example; he lost everything …his family, his fortune and finally his health. You can’t only be God’s fair-weather friend; you have to keep on serving Him even when everything goes wrong. And, if you are a Christian a lot of things go wrong as, “a righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all”. (Ps 34: 19) What is your healing got to do with faith and obedience? Nothing! Although, your faith and obedience have a lot to do with your healing. As long as it is possible for you to keep on serving God, you have got to keep on serving Him whether He feels fit to heal you or not! A lot of people just want to use God. People who live within God’s gates of faith can survive anything, even death! Like JOB,” though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him!” (Job13: 15) So, if you have got real faith you will keep going for God even if it kills you! Keep going for God! Keep believing and obeying no matter what happens. So, which will it be for you? Are you going to quit over a few trials, or are you going to keep going for God as a witness to your faith and obedience to the Lord? God can keep you, but if not don’t quit!
“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By faith he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness that comes is by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7).The Apostle could not avoid mentioning Noah; for in him faith shone forth eminently. Noah obeyed the Lord exactly. How often does the Scripture say, “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he”! See again and again, “Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him.” Those who have faith in God should show it by a holy fear, which makes them zealous to leave nothing undone, which is commanded of the Lord. Prove that you have grace, by your accurate obedience. Noah obeyed the Lord very carefully. God said to him, “Make an ark”; and we read in answer thereto that he prepared an ark. There was careful preparation, and not hurried, thoughtless activity. He prepared the right materials; he prepared the different parts so as to fit together: he prepared his mind, and then prepared his work. In seeking the Lord, let us exercise our best thoughts. Noah went on obeying under daily scorn. The men of that generation mocked him. He went out and preached to them; but many would not hear him, for they thought him mad. Those who did listen to him said to each other, “He is building a vessel upon dry land: is he sane? For all the scorning of many he went on obeying his God: he stuck to the lines on which God had placed him, and he could not be turned to the right hand or to the left, because he had a real faith in God.

Download Our Android App | iOS App

Abraham was one of the most faithful people of Bible History; he is even referred to as the “father of the faithful”. A defining test of Abraham’s faith and obedience to God also involved a great amount of faith and obedience on the part of Abraham’s son Isaac, who willingly and obediently submitted himself as the “lamb” in what would surely have been a fulfilled sacrifice of Isaac. At the time, Abraham was elderly, and Isaac was a nearing-manhood youth; Isaac could have overpowered his father, or at least outrun him, if he had chosen to resist his own imminent death, but he didn’t. He too had faith. It was intended only as an ultimate test, but only God knew that. God may have chosen the sacrifice of a son as the test because it was something that He would experience Himself – God knew that, centuries later, near the very same location of Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, God would bring about the sacrifice of His own Son, Jesus Christ, and although in the hours just before His crucifixion Jesus may have had Isaac’s near-sacrifice in mind when He asked “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39), that was a Sacrifice that would not be stopped.

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and in the power of the ever-blessed gospel. That is the one business of your life; and I believe that if you have faith in the Lord as to your family, your beloved ones also shall be given you in to faith. Remember the Philippian jailer, to whom Paul said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house.” Do not rest content with half the promise. Grasp firmly the words, “and your house.” Have you an Ishmael? Then get alone, and, like Abraham; cry to God, “O that Ishmael might live before you!” God will hear your prayer and bless Ishmael also. Oh, what a privilege it will be if you yourself and your entire house are saved! Some may claim that we honor God through obedience as part of our salvation. The simplest answer to this is found in Romans. Paul received a new understanding of obedience that the Gospel teaches or makes possible. In Romans 1:5 Paul speaks of “the obedience that comes from faith.” While some have attempted to say that Paul meant that true faith is obedience, this is very opposite of what he meant. Paul claims that TRUE OBEDIENCE is FAITH! We do not show true faith by obeying something; we show true obedience by rejecting our own actions and responses and trusting Christ for everything.

A phrase we often hear is “the bottom line”. It comes from the world of business and finance, where it refers to a company’s or individual’s cash or asset balance. Usually it appears as the final line of the last page of a report or balance statement, so it is referred to as “the bottom line”. It tells you how you stand on the most important aspects of the report- how much money you made or lost. These words appear in other aspects of society too. So what is the bottom line for a follower of Christ? The author of Ecclesiastes spelled it out clearly in chapter 12:13 “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” If I put it in my own words- Have faith in God and obey His commandments that is all. Let us trust God enough to do what He says, no matter how difficult it may be. Then the bottom line of our lives will not be loss, but the gain of God’s approval. Obedience is the measure of our love for God and faith in God.

JACOB VARGHESE

-ADVERTISEMENT-

You might also like