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The New Life 46: Obedience

By Andrew Murray

      Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me from among all peoples. -- Ex. 19:5

      The Lord will surely bless thee, if thou only diligently hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. -- Deut. 25:4,5

      By faith Abraham obeyed. -- Heb. 11:8

      He learned obedience by the things which He suffered; and having been made perfect, He became unto all them that obey Him the author of eternal salvation. -- Heb. 5:8,9

      Obedience is one of the most important words in the Bible and in the life of the Christian. It was in the way of disobedience that man lost the favour and the life of God: it is only in the way of obedience that that favour and that life can again be enjoyed. (Rom. 5:19; 6:16; 1 Pet. 1:2,14,22) God cannot possibly take pleasure in those who are not obedient, or bestow His blessing upon them. 'If ye will obey My voice indeed, ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me;' 'The Lord will surely bless thee, if thou only diligently hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.' These are the eternal principles according to which alone man can enjoy God's favour and blessing.

      We see this in the Lord Jesus. He says: 'If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in His love.' He was in the love of the Father, but could not abide there otherwise than by obedience. And He says that this is equally for us the one way to abide in His love: we must keep His commandments. He came to open for us the way back to God: this way was the way of obedience: only he that through faith in Jesus walks in this way shall come to God. (Gen. 22:17,18; 26:4,5; 1 Sam. 25:22; John 25:10)

      How gloriously is this connection betwixt the obedience of Jesus and our own expressed in Heb. 5: 'He learned obedience, and became unto all them that obey Him the author of eternal salvation.' This is the bond of unity between Jesus and His people, the point of conformity and inward unanimity. He was obedient to the Father: they, on the other hand, are obedient to Him. He and they are both obedient. His obedience not only atones for, but drives out their disobedience. He and they bear one token: obedience to God. (Rom. 6:17; 2 Cor. 10:5; Phil. 2:8)

      This obedience is a characteristic of the life of faith. It is called the obedience of faith. (Acts. 6:7; Rom. 1:5; 16:26) There is nothing in earthly things that so spurs on men to work as faith: the belief that there is advantage or joy to be found is the secret of all work. 'By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed:' according to what I believe shall my works be. The faith that Jesus made me free from the power of sin for obedience and sets me in a suitable condition for it, has a mighty power to make me obedient. Faith in the overflowing blessing which the Father gives to it, faith in the promises of the love and indwelling of God, of the fulness of the Spirit which comes by this channel, strengthens for obedience. (Deut. 28:1; Isa. 63:5; John 14:15,11,23; Acts. 5:32)

      The power of this faith, again, as also of obedience lies especially in intercourse with the living God Himself. There is but one Hebrew word for 'obeying voice' and 'hearing voice:' to hear aright prepares to obey. It is when I learn the will of God, not in the words of a man or a book, but from God Himself, when I hear the voice of God, that I shall surely believe what is promised and do what is commanded. The Holy Spirit is the voice of God: when we hear the living voice speak, obedience becomes easy. (Gen. 12:1,4; 31:13,16; Matt. 14:28; Luke 5:5; John 10:4,27) O let us then wait in silence upon God, and set our soul open before Him, that He may speak by His Spirit. When in our Bible-reading and praying we learn to wait more upon God, so that we can say: My God has spoken this to me, has given me this promise, has commanded this, then shall we also obey. 'To listen to the voice' earnestly, diligently, is the sure way to obedience.

      With a servant, a warrior, a child, a subject, obedience is indispensable, the first token of integrity. And shall God, the living, glorious God, find no obedience with us? (Mal. 1:6; Matt. 7:21) No: let cheerful, punctual, precise obedience from the beginning be the token of the genuineness of our fellowship with the Son whose obedience is our life.

      O Father, who makest us Thy children in Christ, Thou makest us in Him obedient children, as He was obedient. Let the Holy Spirit make the obedience of Jesus so glorious and powerful in us, that obedience shall be the highest joy of our life. Teach us in everything only to seek to know what Thou desirest and then to do it. Amen.

      For a life of obedience these things are required: --

      1. Decisive surrender. I must no longer have to ask in every single case: Shall I or shall I not, must I, can I, be obedient? No: it must be such an unquestionable thing, that I shall know of nothing else than to be obedient. He that cherishes such a disposition and thinks of obedience as a thing that stands firm, shall find it easy, yea, shall literally taste in it great joy.

      2. The knowledge of God's will through the Spirit. Pray, do not imagine that, because you know the Bible in some sort, you know the will of God. The knowledge of God's will is something spiritual: let the Holy Spirit make known to you the knowledge of God's will.

      3. The doing of all that we know to be right. All doing teaches men: all doing of what is right teaches men obedience. All that the word, or conscience, or the Spirit tells you is right, actually do it. It helps to form doing into a holy habit, and is an exercise leading to more power and more knowledge. Do what is right, Christian, out of obedience to God, and you shall be blessed.

      4. Faith in the power of Christ. You have the power to obey: be sure of this. Although you do not feel it, you have it in Christ your Lord by faith.

      5. The glad assurance of the blessing of obedience. It unites us with our God, it wins His good pleasure and love, it strengthens our life, it brings the blessedness of heaven into our heart.

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See Also:
   1: Translator's Note
   2: Preface
   3: The New Life
   4: The Milk of the Word
   5: God's Word In Our Heart
   6: Faith
   7: The Power of God's Word
   8: God's Gift of His Son
   9: Jesus' Surrender of Himself
   10: Children of God
   11: Our Surrender to Jesus
   12: Saviour From Sin
   13: The Confession of Sin
   14: The Forgiveness of Sins
   15: The Cleansing of Sin
   16: Holiness
   17: Righteousness
   18: Love
   19: Humility
   20: Stumblings
   21: Jesus the Keeper
   22: Power and Weakness
   23: The Life of Feeling
   24: The Holy Ghost
   25: The Leading of the Spirit
   26: Grieving the Spirit
   27: Flesh and Spirit
   28: The Life of Faith
   29: The Might of Satan
   30: The Conflict of the Christian
   31: Be a Blessing
   32: Personal Work
   33: Missionary Work
   34: Light and Joyfulness
   35: Chastisement
   36: Prayer
   37: The Prayer Meeting
   38: The Fear of the Lord
   39: Undivided Consecration
   40: Assurance of Faith
   41: Conformity to Jesus
   42: Conformity to the World
   43: the Lord's Day
   44: Holy Baptism
   45: The Lord's Supper
   46: Obedience
   47: The Will of God
   48: Self-Denial
   49: Discretion
   50: Money
   51: The Freedom of the Christian
   52: Growth
   53: Searching the Scriptures
   54: The Lord the Perfecter


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