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From disobedience to obedience
- Jacob Ninan
How did the world which was very good in God's eyes (Ge.1:31) get to being what it is today, with degeneration written into every aspect of creation? When Adam and Eve sinned. How did they sin? By disobeying a simple command that God had given them. Every human being who has been born since then has been born with corruption written into his body, soul and spirit (Ps.51:5), and has disobeyed God's commandments and done things to please themselves. As such, all of us are worthy to be cursed by God and punished in hell for eternity. What is the great plan of salvation that God had prepared before He had even created the world (Eph.1:4) to deal with this contingency? Many people think that the aim of His plan was to prevent us from having to go to hell, but to ensure our going to heaven instead! In other words, many believe that Jesus was sent here to die for the sins of mankind so that we can escape the judgment that is due to us and He can take us to heaven.
But God is not One who does things superficially. And superficial would be that salvation which only changes the destination of people from hell to heaven while they still remain the disobedient and self-loving people they have been before! No. God's intention is to bring us back to be the kind of people we were intended to be, obedient to God and loving Him more than everything else (Mt.10:37,38). This is the salvation He wants to give to us, and it is for this that He sent His Son to take our place and go through the death that we deserve as our punishment.
"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age" (Ti.2:11,12). God begins this work of grace in our lives by forgiving our sins by grace, as an act of unmerited undeserving favour towards us (Ep.2:8,9). And then He begins to teach us to obey Him rather than our own lusts (desires). This is what a disciple of Jesus learns, to deny himself, put his own desires to death on the cross and then follow Jesus (Lk.9:23).
Let's not satisfy ourselves with just forgiveness. Let's learn to obey God in everything because of His love towards us and what He has done for us. Let's not give up even if we have failed many times when trying to obey God. With God's plan in front of our eyes and trusting in His enabling grace (He.4:15,16), let's pursue after perfection (He.6:1).
Let's not make the mistake of thinking that obedience has only to do with the Law. Under the Law, obedience was the means to find acceptance with God and to receive His blessings. But under the new covenant, obedience is the mark of a man who has received grace. This is how we show our love for God and our gratitude to Him (Jn.14:21). This is how we become transformed little by little into the character and life of Jesus. That is the ultimate goal of God in providing us this salvation (Ro.8:28,29).