the object of our obedience

OK, so here’s the question …

Is the ultimate object of our obedience a Person or commandments?

Now certainly your answer could be both … but I don’t think we can truthfully offer that answer until we wrestle with the question as stated …

Typically obedience to a commandment is about one or many of the following

  • Self-righteousness
  • Morality
  • Pride
  • People pleasing
  • Peer pressure
  • Group compliance
  • Penalty avoidance

What other motivations for obedience to a commandment would you list?

Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?

One issue regarding commandments … not every circumstance you encounter will have an associated commandment to guide you.   Why else would the oral law become a supplement to the written law of Scripture? Take a moment and consider the Pharisees and ask yourself how many of these motivations reveal themselves through them … reading Matthew 23 might provide some additional insight …

Typically obedience to a Person is about one of the following …

  • Fear
  • Love
  • Trust
  • Respect
  • Pleasing that Person

What other motivations for obedience to a Person would you list?

Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?

Consider John 3:36 …

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him John 3:36 (ESV)

This wind analogy offered to Nicodemus by Jesus strongly suggests the need for a divine GPS to tell you where you’re headed next …

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. John 3:8 (ESV)

While commandments cannot possibly cover every circumstance you might encounter, the constantly abiding presence of a Person can provide counsel in the midst of each and every circumstance …

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Romans 8:14 (ESV)

And the Holy Spirit takes His direction from the Father and the Son and reveals it to you and to me in the moment …

I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you. John 16:12-15 (ESV)

A couple of examples …

“When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Luke 12:11-12 (ESV)

So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily. They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. Acts 16:5-8 (ESV)

Before closing this post, let’s consider trust and pleasing that person as motivations …

So what was ultimately broken in the garden … trust IN God or a commandment?

First off, please realize that one of the primary synonyms of trust is faith.

And what was broken in the Garden by man was trust or faith IN God.

What God began to restore through Abraham, was then completed IN Jesus …

So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer … Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith … Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. Galatians 3:9, 11, 24(ESV)

How can a believer please God?

Is it through obedience to commandments or works?

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)

So my answer to the initial question is …

The ultimate object of our obedience is a Person.


About bwebbjr

A grandfather, father, husband, man, and a child of God who is following Christ Jesus and working out his salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work IN me, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). I dodged my first bullet with cancer when a cancerous polyp was removed in a sigmoid colectomy surgery in August 2007. Four years later, in the midst of a second colectomy surgery we discovered I had Stage IV metastatic colon cancer. Rather than colectomy surgery I had colostomy surgery, which now means the colostomy bag is a part of my everyday life ... with the emphasis on life. God has given us a peace beyond understanding as my wife and I have traveled this journey. By the grace of God I am blessed to be a 6 plus year cancer survivor aka warrior. In writing, I am often wrestling with my own personal struggles and beliefs and in the midst God leads me to a lesson He wants me to learn ... or sometimes He simply touches me in the revelation of Himself. My hope is that the result you see here might touch your heart and glorify God. And let me be clear ... I am not the only one with something to say. Please join in the conversation sharing your faith, your cancer experiences, etc. I would love to hear from you. Bernie
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4 Responses to the object of our obedience

  1. jimdavenport says:

    Powerful post Bernie. Completely agree with your conclusion. Hope you are having a better week physically! Jim

    • bwebbjr says:

      Thanks Jim … by His Word and Holy Spirit. Pain and discomfort is a somewhat constant companion … but that seems to be God’s plan at the moment and He has provided the perseverance and endurance. Looking forward to breakfast. Hope all is well for you and your lovely wife!


  2. How easily we confuse the object of our devotion and obedience. Thank you for raising this issue.

    • bwebbjr says:

      Thanks so much Richard … your comment immediately drew me to 2 Corinthians 11:3 … “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

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