Q&A: Obedience and Faith

Obedience and Faith

If we're saved by grace through faith, what motive do we have to obey God?

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Answer

Some would ask that if we're saved by grace through faith, then what motive should we have for obeying God? And it's really an unfortunate question. It's as unfortunate as someone saying, "Well, if my wife promised to be faithful to me through good times and bad times, sickness and health, all the rest, then why should I be a good husband?" It really is devoid of what should be a part of our lives as regenerate people who love God. Clearly, that's an underlying and assumed motive throughout the New Testament; 1 John is very clear in underscoring this, that we obey him because we love him. We can't say we love God and then walk in a manner that's contradictory to that. Jesus himself said that in the Gospel of John: "If you love me, you'll keep my commandments." And clearly we can understand that in human relationships. Just because there's security, just because there's something that's granted by the devotion of the other, does not mean that we do not reciprocate that devotion by our allegiance, and in this case, our obedience to Christ. And I would add, secondly, in Romans it also speaks with a word that introduces the idea of duty, and clearly there is a sense of duty. As Paul says in Romans 8, we are not under obligation to the flesh anymore; we're under obligation now to the Spirit of God. So, I'm bought by him, and as Paul reasons in 1 Corinthians, I'm doubly his not only by creation but by redemption. I'm his and I should glorify God with my body. I should glorify God (Romans chapter 12 verse 1 and 2) because I'm a living sacrifice. He has purchased me, I live for him, I have a duty to obey him because I'm his and he is my redeemer, and I also love him, and regeneration ensures that. As a new creation in Christ I want to please God, and those things should certainly eschew and remove that question from the vocabulary of Christians.

Answer by Dr. Mike Fabarez

Dr. Mike Fabarez is the senior pastor of Compass Bible Church in Aliso Viejo, California.