Believing and Obeying Jesus Christ as Lord (9 Jun 2013)

“If you love me, you will obeymy commandments (John 14:15 NET). Love and obedience are two sides of the same coin.

“Obedience of faith” appears in Romans 1:5 and Romans 16:26. What is the relationship between obedience and faith? How do we trust and obey Jesus?

In simple English “obedience of faith” means “believing obedience” or “faith’s obedience.”

Why are obedience and faith two sides of the same coin?

1)   In the OT and later Judaism, faith and obedience are virtually synonymous.

“Faith” (emunah) in the Hebrew Bible is two-sided: trust and a commitment (to the covenant). James’ “faith and works” are also two sides of the same coin. “You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works” (Jam 2:22 ESV).

This idea is similar to our hymn “Trust and Obey.”

“Faith and obedience are one action. Faith has to be proven by obedience” (Bartsch).

2) In the obedience language of Paul the reference is to Christian behaviour ( Rom 2:8; 5:19; 6:12, 16, 17; 1 Cor 14:34; 2 Cor 2:9; 7:15; 10:5, 6; Eph 6:1, 5; Col 3:18, 20, 22; Phil 2:12; Phlm 21; Tit 2:5, 9; 3:1). When a Christian believes Christ as Lord, there is a transfer of ownership from a slave to sin to a servant of Christ (Rom 6:17-20 cf 2 Cor 5:15-17).

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die” (Bonhoeffer).

Are you dead to sin and alive in-Christ or vice-versa? Can you be partly alive to sin and partly alive to Jesus?

3) “…your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world” (Rom 1:8) parallels “Your obedience is known to all…” (Rom 16:19). “Faith” in Rom 1:8 is to be the act of belief in Christ. The “obedience” in Rom 16:19 is the inseparable complement of their “faith.”

“Faith and obedience may be compared to inseparable identical twins” (Hendrickson).

“Only the believing obey, only the obedient believe.”  “The disobedient cannot believe; only the obedient believe.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).

As long as we are one earth, we are called to serve Christ and to shine for Him. We have multiple roles, priests, witnesses, ambassadors of His kingdom, bearers of peace and good news of salvation, mediators, and so on. We are to account to Christ for the talents, time and gifts He has given to each of us.

Our believing and obeying Jesus Christ as Lord can be seen in our conduct in the family, in the workplace and in the local church. Some of the things that Christians will be examined at the Judgment Seat of Christ are how we: (1) treat unbelievers and believers, (2) serve, care and exercise stewardship at home and workplace, (3) employ our God-given abilities, (4) use our money, (5) spend our time, (6) forgo self-ambition for service for Jesus and His church, (7) persevere in faith, (8) control our old nature, (9) pray and try to win people to Christ, (10) react to temptation, (11) prepare for Christ’s imminent return, (12) obey the Word of God, and (13) edify the body of the local church.


Elder Yoong Yuen Soo