According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit,
for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
(1 Peter 1:2 ESV)
My obedience doesn't earn my salvation, but it does prove it. Obedience is the physical evidence of the spiritual transformation that has taken place as God attaches Christ's righteousness to me as if it was my own. In fact, it is impossible for me to be genuinely obedient at all, apart from the finished work of Jesus Christ. It's His perfect life that earns my right to seek God; and His willing death that wins my freedom to live in a way that pleases God.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8 ESV)
Notice the word for just before the word obedience in 1 Peter 1:2 in Today’s Treasure. We are sanctified for obedience. The Christian life is not a commitment of convenience. It’s not a spare time hobby. Left to ourselves, we would never have the natural will or desire to seek God on our own. He calls us to Himself and challenges us to emulate Jesus. God’s Will makes us Christians and obedience to Him is proof that we appreciate it. There is only one blueprint to build from. Conformity to the obedience of Christ is the model, structure, and sole objective of our Christian lives. It’s why we were invited to come in the first place.
Anything we call righteousness apart from him is simply whitewashing over the filthy façade of our own self sufficiency and arrogance. There is nothing in us that can accomplish what he did for us – no strength of character, no hard resolve, no pure desire. That doesn’t stop us from building with straw and sticks though. One hard puff of challenge and our flimsy attempts at looking obedient fall. Steadfast obedience can only be attained through the sanctification of the Spirit and by imitating the Son’s flawless example. His perfect conformity to the Father’s will is the standard by which all other obedience is measured.
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:8-11 ESV)
Obedience isn’t always easy. The most striking example of true obedience is Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Fulfilling God’s assignment to die for sin that wasn’t his was so difficult that Jesus sweated blood. I don’t have to like what God calls me to do to glorify him through obedience. I just need to be willing to follow through for his glory and say with Jesus, “Not my will, but yours.”
By Lisa McHeard, Guest Writer