I have a lot to learn about obedience. I have a great teacher in Jesus the Messiah. As a disciple, my job is to learn.
Jesus “learned obedience” not in the sense that He was prone to disobedience and had to bring rebelliousness under control, but in the sense that He fully entered the human experience. As a child, He obeyed His parents; as an adult, He obeyed the Law and fulfilled all righteousness.
All His life, Jesus completely fulfilled the Father’s will. He knew what obedience was prior to His incarnation, of course, but He “learned” obedience on earth by experiencing it. In every situation, no matter how difficult, the Son was obedient to the Father:
“The Sovereign Master has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away. I offered my back to those who beat me” (Isaiah 50:5–6).
Jesus the Messiah was totally obedient to his Father’s will. Obedience was central to Jesus the Messiah’s life and thought.
Adam did not have to commit a series of sins. In one act God tested Adam, and he failed. It is termed an “offense” and an act of “disobedience.” The word offense means “trespass — crossing over the line.” God told Adam how far he could go, and Adam decided to go beyond the appointed limit.
And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.” (Gen. 2:16–17).
In contrast to “the trespass of one” is “the righteousness of one,” meaning the righteous work of the Messiah Jesus on the cross. In Romans 5:19 Paul calls it “the obedience of One”. The Messiah’s sacrifice on the cross not only made possible “justification,” but also “justification of life”.
Salvation and Justification is not merely a legal term that describes our position before God (“just as if I’d never sinned”); but it results in a certain kind of life. “Justification of life” in Romans 5:18 is parallel to “be made righteous” in Romans 5:19. In other words, our justification is the result of a living union with the Messiah. And this union ought to result in a new kind of life, a righteous life of obedience to God. Our union with Adam made us sinners; our union with the Messiah enables us to “reign in life.”
- Romans 5:18–19 (NASB) —So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
- Matthew 27:40–42 —and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him.
- Luke 24:26 — “Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”
- John 17:2–4 —even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus the Messiah whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.”
- John 17:26 —and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
- John 19:30 —Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
- New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ro 5:18–19). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
- Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 529). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.