Thursday, August 7, 2008

Your Duty to Obey Part 1

The Scriptures and Obedience by A. W. Pink

All professing Christians are agreed, in theory at least, that it is the bounden duty of those who bear His name to honour and glorify Christ in this world. But as to how this is to be done, as to what He requires from us to this end, there is wide difference of opinion. Many suppose that honoring Christ simply means to join some ‘church,’ take part in and support its various activities. Others think that honoring Christ means to speak of Him to others and be diligently engaged in ‘personal work.’ Others seem to imagine that honoring Christ signifies little more than making liberal financial contributions to His cause. Few indeed realize that Christ is honored only as we live holily unto Him, and that, by walking in subjection to His revealed will. Few indeed really believe that word, ‘Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams’. (#1Sa 15:22)

We are not Christians at all unless we have fully surrendered to and ‘received Christ Jesus the Lord’. (#Col 2:6) We would plead with you to ponder that statement diligently. Satan is deceiving many today by leading them to suppose that they are savingly trusting in ‘the finished work’ of Christ while their hearts remain unchanged and self still rules their lives. Listen to God’s Word: ‘Salvation is far from the wicked; for they seek not thy statutes’. (#Ps 119:155) Do you really seek His statutes’? Do you diligently search His Word to discover what He has commanded? ‘He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him’. (#1Jo 2:4) What could be plainer than that?

‘And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?’. (#Lu 6:46) Obedience to the Lord in life, not merely glowing words from the lips, is what Christ requires. What a searching and solemn word is that in #Jas 1:22: ‘Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves’! There are many ‘hearers’ of the Word, regular hearers, reverent hearers, interested hearers; but alas, what they hear is not incorporated into the life: it does not regulate their way. And God says that they who are not doers of the Word are deceiving their own selves!

Alas, how many such there are in Christendom today! They are not downright hypocrites, but deluded. They suppose that because they are so clear upon salvation by grace alone they are saved. They suppose that because they sit under the ministry of a man who has ‘made the Bible a new book’ to them they have grown in grace. They suppose that because their store of biblical knowledge has increased they are more spiritual. They suppose that the mere listening to a servant of God or reading his writings is feeding on the Word. Not so! We ‘feed’ on the Word only when we personally appropriate, masticate and assimilate into our lives what we hear or read. Where there is not an increasing conformity of heart and life to God’s Word, then increased knowledge will only bring increased condemnation. ‘And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes’. (#Lu 12:47)

‘Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth’. (#2Ti 3:7) This is one of the prominent characteristics of the ‘perilous times’ in which we are now living. People hear one preacher after another, attend this conference and that conference, read book after book on biblical subjects, and yet never attain unto a vital and practical acquaintance with the truth, so as to have an impression of its power and efficacy on the soul. There is such a thing as spiritual dropsy, and multitudes are suffering from it. The more they hear, the more they want to hear: they drink in sermons and addresses with avidity, but their lives are unchanged. They are puffed up with their knowledge, not humbled into the dust before God. The faith of God’s elect is ‘the acknowledging [in the life] of the truth which is after godliness’, (#Tit 1:1) but to this the vast majority are total strangers.

God has given us His Word not only with the design of instructing us, but for the purpose of directing us: to make known what He requires us to do. The first thing we need is a clear and distinct knowledge of our duty; and the first thing God demands of us is a conscientious practice of it, corresponding to our knowledge. ‘What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?’. (#Mic 6:8) ‘Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (#Ec 12:13) The Lord Jesus affirmed the same thing when He said, ‘Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you’. (#Joh 15:14)

May we take earnest heed to the teaching presented here by A. W. Pink. We live in a day when many say they "love God" but in works they deny him. May we ever strive to "bring forth works meet for repentance". As Peter has challenged, "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: - 2 Pet. 1:10".
And as Paul has declared, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 2 Cor. 13:5. "

Bro. Pat

No comments: