Faith Baptist Church
4258 Botetourt Road
Fincastle, Virginia 24090
(540) 473-2325

The Intelligence of Bonafide Obedience

The word “obey” and its various forms are used one hundred and fifty five times in the Bible. Most of the time it is used in regard to obedience to God’s commandments. The outcome of obedience is seen in the form of blessings from God, but not always without consequences from mankind.

The Greek word of the New Testament for the word obey in its noun form is hupakoe. It is a compound word made up of the prefix preposition, hupo, “under”, and akouo, “to hear.” It its verb form, hupakou, it means to attend to, to listen to, to submit. Obedience infers one is under the authority of another and is thereby compliant to the wishes and or commands of the other. In regards to faith, which by the way is closely akin etymologically to one of the verb forms of obedience, peitho, which means “to trust” / and faith, which is, pisteuo, “to believe”; we see faith recognizes God’s authority and responds in obedience.

Obedience to God on the believer’s part is standard behavior, but it can be like pouring salt in an open wound from the disobedient person’s point of view. Your obedience to God’s word is a reminder to the disobedient person that they have come short of the glory of God. The faithful believer will be oblivious that the simple acts of faith on their part in trying to please God, and obey his word, strikes a death blow to conscience of the willful disobedient person. This makes it harder for them to justify their disobedience.

Obedience toward God and His holy word is our faith in action. It is a demonstration of your love and devotion to God.

God rewards our faith in his word. We are rewarded by way of the word and the Holy Spirit with a vibrant confidence and assurance. These divine assets produce not only an abiding peace, but also a strong resolve to continue in obedience to God.

The smartest of men and women with the most acute rational and or empirical perception take a back seat to the simplest man or woman, boy or girl, who has great faith in God.

Some would wonder how this is possible. The reason is because God gives his understanding and his wisdom; his insight into the thinking of men and women of great faith.

As a believer it is not about how much you know about the Bible, but how much you believe and are willing to obey. Of course the more you grow in the grace and in the knowledge of God’s word, II Pet.3:18, the greater potential you have for understanding more of God. Ps.119:11 “Thy word have I hidden in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” It is inferred in this passage that storing the word in one’s heart is a strong defense against sinning. And there is a secondary inference which conveys the results that this believer obeys the word he or she has stored in his/her heart.

Obedience is indeed the highest order of intelligence, especially when it is joined to the word God. God given talent and grace gifts have their place in the body of Christ. Also human intelligence is certainly a fine asset to have when it comes to comprehension, but none of these human and God given assets rank up there with obedience. James puts it this way in his epistle, “Therefore, to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Jm.4:17. Many men of God who possessed great knowledge of God and the Bible have fallen into various lust and many have made shipwreck of the faith. They failed to remain obedient to the truth and to the One who is the Truth.

Brethren we all must take heed as to how we stand with God, lest we also fall, I Cor.10:12. “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today, lest any of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Heb.3:12-13.

The opposite of obedience is sin. It is in our old nature to disobey, Eph.2:1-3. When the Spirit of God is not in charge of our lives then the old sin nature is in charge. When the old sinful nature rules our hearts then any sort of sin can take root and bring forth sorrow and shame. This is why we must be hard on ourselves. This why the Apostle Paul according to I Cor.9:26-27 gave a testimony to his struggles to keep his personal life subject to the Lord. Paul had a great fear that after all the Lord had done for him, that he would become intemperate, and let the old nature justify itself back into ruling his life, and his life becoming a useless vessel in the Lord’s service.

When we are disobedient to the word of God we are compared to cracked pots, and we hold no water. This is what the Greek word, castaway as used in I Cor.9:27 means. It is the word, adokimos, which means to be disapproved for service.

Disobedience will disapprove us for the Lord’s service and blessings quicker than any thing. No amount of talent, spiritual gift capabilities, money put in the church collections, good deeds or personality likableness can promote you in the plan of God. It takes simple obedience to the word. No amount of performing songs or teaching a Sunday school class, or conducting a children’s church, or preaching for the church in a worship service is a substitute for personal obedience to God. No amount of human reasoning concerning the works and ways of God is a substitute for obedience.

We must watch out for a spirit of disobedience to the word of God in ourselves. Let the Spirit of God kindle in us this year a spirit of obedience to the word. We must watch for the slippery slide of self-justification when the word pricks our hearts. When we are confronted with the truth, let us acknowledge it and receive it and obey it. Let us not reject it, and then try to justify our decision to do so with excuses.

We can never say that we cannot be more obedient to the Lord.

The Pastor
January 2011