Experiencing the Power to Obey

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From the beginning of time, loving obedience has always been a test of loyalty to God. Lucifer led one third of the angels to disobey God (Rev. 12:3, 4, 7-9). He claimed that God’s government was unfair and His laws unjust. He also claimed that obedience limits our happiness and that disobedience enhances life. But what is the truth from God's Word? This article by Mark Finley is sure to be a blessing!

Experiencing the Power to Obey!

By Mark Finley

From the beginning of time, loving obedience has always been a test of loyalty to God. Lucifer led one third of the angels to disobey God (Rev. 12:3, 4, 7-9). He claimed that God’s government was unfair and His laws unjust. Satan painted a picture of God as an authoritarian ruler who had little interest in His creation. His claim has always been that obedience limits our happiness and that disobedience enhances life. He perpetrated this lie in heaven and repeated it in Eden (Gen. 3:1-5).

In today’s lesson we will discover that obedience to God’s law brings the greatest joy and highest delight to God’s people. We will also discover the amazing truth that God not only calls us to obey, but also gives us power to obey.

What was David’s attitude toward the law of God? How does this compare to Jesus’ attitude toward doing God’s will? Compare Psalm 40:8 with John 8:29 and Hebrews 10:7.

David sensed that God’s law was his source of true joy. In Psalm 1 he wrote about God’s faithful people: “But [their] delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law [they meditate] day and night” (verse 2). He added in Psalm 119, “Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction” (verse 92). The eternal Christ placed the desire in David’s heart to obey, just as that desire was in Jesus’ heart to obey throughout His earthly life.

Look up Deuteronomy 8:1, 6, 7, 11 and 28:1. What is God saying to Israel in these verses? Does it sound like obedience to God’s law limits our happiness and restricts our freedom?

Did Jesus come to do away with the law? Is it legalistic to want to keep the law of God? Compare Matthew 5:17 with Romans 3:31.

The New Testament makes it abundantly plain: Jesus did not come to destroy the law; He came to fulfill it. To fulfill means to fill it full of meaning. In Colossians 4:17 the apostle Paul counseled a disciple named Archippus to “fulfill” his ministry. He certainly didn’t mean for him to do away with it. He meant for Archippus to fill it with meaning, to complete it; to persevere and never give up.

Is it possible to obey God’s law? Is the grace of God sufficient to enable Christians to overcome known sin? Discover the answer in Romans 5:20, 21; 1 John 5:4; and Revelation 14:12.

How is it possible to obey God? Where does the power to obey originate? Do we obey by our own willpower? Read Ephesians 2:8-10; 3:15, 20.

We are saved by grace and grace alone. By faith we receive God’s forgiveness. In Christ we stand before God as if we had never sinned. The same grace that justifies us also sanctifies us. The same faith that gives us forgiveness also gives us power to obey.

What does God promise for each believer who comes to Him in faith? Compare Hebrews 8:10 with 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

God promises to do for us that which we can never do for ourselves. In Christ the gift of salvation is ours. He places His law in our minds so we can know it, and places it in our hearts so we can love it. Through His Holy Spirit, God gives us power to obey and delight in His ways. This is the miracle of the gospel.

Mark Finley is Assistant to the President of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. This article was originally published in Adventist World and is being reprinted with permission.

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