Posted On July 5, 2021

How to Obey God

by | Jul 5, 2021 | Theology

Play

True believers are actually being made holy by the power of God. The work of Christ didn’t just purchase a legal declaration but also a practical application of holiness. This is another blessing the believer possesses in Christ. J.C. Ryle elaborates:

The Lord Jesus has undertaken everything that His people’s souls require: not only to deliver them from the guilt of their sins by His atoning death, but from the dominion of their sins, by placing in their hearts the Holy Spirit; not only to justify them, but also to sanctify them.[1]

Christ’s work on the cross actually sets captives free so that we can die to sin and live to righteousness.[2] Grace doesn’t cause us to desire to continue in sin, but to live our lives for the glory of God.[3] His sheep hear His voice and follow Him.[4] Choosing righteousness as a Christian isn’t being a Pharisee. It is being a Christian.[5] This reminds me of the Geico commercials currently airing: “If you’re a cat, you ignore people. It’s what you do.”[6] Well, if you’re a Christian, you love to follow Jesus, it’s what you do. The Bible knows of no Christianity that says “Oh, how I love Jesus” while simultaneously refusing to do what He says for us to do. The awesome reality of justification doesn’t create Believers who care nothing about holiness. Instead, it produces Christians who strive after it.[7] (All the above is an excerpt from my book From Death to Life: How Salvation Works).

But how do we actually obey God? I’ve been reading Lou Priolo’s book The Complete Husband recently, and he gives some great encouragement. He writes:

God never asks a Christian to obey Him without providing three powerful resources.

  • God promises to give you the wisdom to obey Him. (James 1:15)
  • God promises to give you the ability to change. (Philippians 2:13)
  • God promises to give you the desire to change. (Philippians 2:13)

All three of these promises are made only to Christians, who in dependence on His Spirit and in conjunction with HIs Word, receive and implement them. (p. 27)

So, if you are a Believer, you desire to obey God. It’s what you do because that’s who you are. You can act on those desires by trusting God’s supply of grace in granting to us wisdom to obey, ability to change, and desire to change. Understanding the mechanism for how this works isn’t all that difficult. It’s the carrying it out that is the challenge. But know this: if you are a Christian you have a God who is for you in Christ. He is not scowling at you waiting for your next failure. Trust Jesus, look to Him and obey. Be in the word regularly, seeking God to show you areas where you need to grow in obedience. Ask God to give you the power to change (which He has promised) and the ability to change (which He has also promised), and then carry out His working in you.

Will you stumble sometimes? Yup. And maybe even often at times, like a young child learning to walk. But God is for you in Christ. And He will finish in you what He began (Philippians 1:6). His grace is sufficient for sanctification too, so keep it holy.


[1] Ryle, J.C. Holiness (Faverdale, England: Revell, 1979), 16.
[2] 1 Peter 2:24
[3] Romans 6:1-2
[4] John 10:27
[5] 1 John 3:10
[6] http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7mXj/geico-go-get-help-its-what-you-do
[7] Hebrews 12:14

Related Posts

Reformed Systematic Theology – Vol 3: Spirit and Salvation (book review)

Reformed Systematic Theology – Vol 3: Spirit and Salvation (book review)

Joel Beeke and Paul Smalley’s Reformed Systematic Theology Vol. 3: Spirit and Salvation is another theologically rich entry in what has already become a modern classic series. As with the previous volumes, the authors effectively balance academic theological precision with pastoral and devotional care.

Book Review: How Can We Rescue Those Being Taken Away to Death?

Book Review: How Can We Rescue Those Being Taken Away to Death?

Brett A. Baggett, Dusty Deevers, and James Silberman: Rescue Those: How Can We Rescue Those Being Taken Away to Death? Copyright 2021  Rescue Those INC. You can order copies here. These booklets are given away for free. I suggest Christians who benefit from this work...

Church Discipline is for Restoration

Church Discipline is for Restoration

Below is a teaching outline that I've used to train others concerning the process and purpose of church discipline. In short, church discipline is for convincing the wayward of their sin and restoring them. I pray it would be beneficial for your congregations....

Book Review: Ann Judson: A Life of Self-Denial

Book Review: Ann Judson: A Life of Self-Denial

Chapel Library’s booklet, Ann Judson: A Life of Self-Denial is the perfect length. It gives just enough information to make someone interested in reading a larger work about this dear saint, yet also gain an appreciation for Ann and learn from her life without a large investment.

5 Deceitful Schemes Seeking to Ruin Churches

5 Deceitful Schemes Seeking to Ruin Churches

In Ephesians 4:14, Paul desires that local churches “…may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” In this post, I want to give you 5 examples of deceitful...

Thou Shalt Not Steal

Thou Shalt Not Steal

Here are some of my thoughts on the eighth commandment from my final sermon on Exodus 20:15. Stealing is the taking of something that isn’t yours or the using of something that isn’t yours without the owner’s consent and approval. Giving Remember that the opposite of...

0 Comments