I know. Obeying runs against the grain of what I want to do. Jesus demands that I am an obedient slave. That doesn’t sound like fun. It is demeaning. NO one wants to be a slave. I am not different in that regard.
There is good news. Jesus gives me power to be obedient. For the joy that was before Him, Jesus endured death and humiliation to set me free. Free to be obedient.
Obedience is a willingness to submit myself to the will of God and to put it into effect. Scripture emphasizes the necessity for the commandments of Jesus to be followed, gives examples and reasons, and describes the rewards.
There is a reality of being a slave. You only have one Master. Jesus is clear on this when he says you can’t be a slave to God and money (aka wealth). Jesus drives the point home in many places. Being a slave is different from being a servant. I am the slave of Jesus.
Obedience is demanded of God’s people. Paul draws the connection to obedience in being a slave. Paul sees himself as a slave to Jesus. At the start of Romans, he declares “Paul, a slave of the Messiah Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the good news of God.”
Romans 6:16–18 (NASB) — Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
In the old covenant (aka testament or agreement), it was all about obeying God. It was better than anything including sacrifice. It is a matter of the heart.
- Leviticus 25:18 (NASB) — ‘You shall thus observe My statutes and keep My judgments, so as to carry them out, that you may live securely on the land.”
- 1 Samuel 15:22 (NASB) — Samuel said, “Has the Master as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Master? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.”
- Deuteronomy 26:16 (NASB) — “This day the Master, your God, commands you to do these statutes and ordinances. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul.”
- Deuteronomy 32:46 (NASB) — He said to them, “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law.”
- 1 Peter 1:14–16 (NASB) — As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”