Tuesday, 12 January 2021 10:26

Understanding New Covenant Obedience

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The foundation of biblical obedience comes from how a person “hears” God’s Word. Sadly, many see obedience as just following rules, laws, and commandments. That isn’t the obedience God is looking for or desires from us. If it was, what is the point of the heart change the new covenant brings to those who choose to believe the gospel?

The New Testament Greek word for “obedience” is fascinating and doesn’t fit the normal secular definition of obedience defined in most English dictionaries. The Greek word is hupakouo. It is a compound word of hupo, which means to be “under” from the word (hypodermic) and akouo, which means “to listen or hear” (acoustics). New covenant obedience is simply to be under the divine influence of God’s voice/word to be able to comprehend what He wants us to believe or do next in our lives.

Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27).

This was a revolutionary approach to obedience compared to a responsibility to perform. Jesus points out God created us with responsibility via freedom of choice to respond to God’s promptings by means of the “obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5, 16:26). Our receptivity of Jesus’ finished work gives birth to our submission of our hearts to His dynamic grace working in our lives.

We can see no greater example of this than Peter who is following Jesus as a disciple living under the divine influence of the words of Jesus.

When Jesus asks his dicsples, “Who do men say I am?” They tell Him, “Some think You are a prophet.” Jesus asks them directly, “Who do you think I am?” Peter replies, “You are the Christ the Son of God!” Jesus tells him, “Flesh and blood hasn’t revealed this to you, but the Holy Spirit has shown you this.”

There is no greater revelation a person can get than what Peter heard from the Holy Spirit. It can only happen when a person comes under the divine influence of God’s Word.

Obedience is about believing the gospel. Our actions or behaviors are shaped and motivated by the beliefs in our heart. God is only concerned with what we believe in our hearts about who He is. He knows that a heart established in the truth about who He is will be a life that reflects that truth to a lost and hurting world.

Religion is only focused on the actions of obedience; thus, when a task is completed, the religious feel self-righteous and entitled to God’s favor and blessings based on how good they believe they have been.

However, biblical obedience isn’t based on a reward for self-effort but a heartfelt response to God’s goodness toward us. We don’t obey God to get Him to be good to us; our obedience to Him shows we have known and experienced His goodness.

“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Psalm 34:8).

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Ed Elliot

author, conference speaker itinerate/missionary who travels the world sharing truths about God’s love. Helping people experience God’s love personally.

This article is a copy from "Spiritual Coffee", a free email newsletter.

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