Enslaved To…?: Obedience in Light of God’s Grace (Pt. 2)
March 11, 2018
One of the great lessons in life is learning appropriate submission to authorities over us. And we must not only submit to (in attitude), but also obey (in action) those who have authority over us.
Children must obey parents: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Eph. 6:1).
Adults must also obey and submit to those who are in authority over them:
- This is true in the world: “Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.” (Col. 3:22)
- This is true in relation to the government: “Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed…” (Titus 3:1)
- And it’s true in the church: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” (Heb. 13:17)
But more than obedience in the world, it is essential to learn obedience to Christ. We see numerous examples of this in the NT.
Nature obeys Christ: after Jesus calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee, it says of the disciples, “They became very much afraid and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’” (Mark 4:41; also Mt. 8:27; Lk. 8:25)
The demons obey Christ: after Jesus taught and healed a demon possessed man, Mark records of the crowds, “They were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, ‘What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him’” (Mk. 1:27).
Christ Himself was also obedient — to the will of the Father, as Hebrews notes that “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8), and Paul says that it was through His obedience that “the any will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19).
The apostles understood the importance of obedient submission to Christ so that when Peter and the apostles were commanded to stop teaching the gospel, they replied, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
And obedience to Christ can even be said to be explicit, not just implicit, in the Gospel:
- “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (Jn. 3:36)
- “For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed…” (Rom. 15:18)
- “For the report of your obedience has reached to all…” (Rom. 16:19)
- “[The mystery of the gospel] now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith…” (Rom. 16:26)
- “…To…those who are chosen, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood…” (1 Pet. 1:1-2)
And if one does not obey Christ and the Gospel, he can expect God’s judgment:
- “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Pt. 4:17)
- “…the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” (2 Thess. 1:8)
If we are to claim Christ as our Master, then we must be willing to do what He does. Following Christ means being obedient to Christ.
That is a truth that abounds in NT teaching, but it is particularly in the passage before us in Romans 6, where Paul teaches us that…
Living by grace means living obediently to God.
While some will assert that living by grace means being obedient to one’s self and not to Christ, Paul clearly states that obedience is fundamental to being a Christian.
What do we need to know about grace so that we can live obediently to the Lord? Here are four truths about grace that we must know and believe and live…
- A Question About Grace (v. 15a)
- A Misunderstanding About Grace (v. 15b)
- A Correction About Grace (v. 16)
- What Grace Does in Us (vv. 17-19)
- Grace makes us obedient (v. 17a)
- Grace transforms our hearts (v. 17b)
- Grace enslaves us to righteousness (v. 18)
- Grace freed us from sin’s downward spiral (v. 19a)
- Grace produces sanctification’s upward spiral (v. 19b)
Download the rest of this sermon on Romans 6:5-19.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website tomorrow morning.