Radical obedienceDecember 6, 2021 2021-12-07 14:48
The demand of God, for the interval between Jesus’ first Advent and His second coming is summed up in the demand:
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
[Thou shalt love the Lord] This is a subject of the greatest importance, and should be well understood, as our Lord shows that the whole of true religion is comprised in loving God and our neighbor.
Love (agape) has the following definition: –
“A pleasing surrender of friendship to a friend:-an identity or sameness of soul.” A sovereign preference given to one above all others, present or absent: a concentration of all the thoughts and desires in a single object, which a man prefers to all others. An application of this love shows that God demands a soul that eagerly cleaves to, affectionately admires, and constantly rests in God, pleased and satisfied with Him as its portion: that it acts from Him, as its author; for Him, as its master; and to Him, as its end. With this love, all the powers and faculties of the mind is concentrated in the Lord of the universe. With such a love, the whole man is willingly surrendered to the Most High: and through this love, an identity, or sameness of spirit with the Lord is acquired in which the man is made a partaker of the divine nature, having the mind which was in Christ, and by that dwelling in God, and God in him.
But what is implied in loving God with all the heart, soul, mind, strength, etc., and when may a man be said to do this?
1. When man loves God with all his heart who loves nothing in comparison of him, and nothing but in reference to him:-who is ready to give up, do, or suffer anything in order to please and glorify him:-who has in his heart neither love nor hatred, hope nor fear, inclination, nor aversion, desire, nor delight, but as they relate to God, and are regulated by him.
2. When man loves God with all his soul, or rather, with all his life, who is ready to give up life for his sake-to endure all sorts of torments, and to be deprived of all kinds of comforts, rather than dishonor God:-who employs life with all its comforts, and conveniences, to glorify God in, by, and through all:-to whom life and death are nothing, but as they come from and lead to God. From this Divine principle sprang the blood of the martyrs, which became the seed of the church. They overcame through the blood of the Lamb, and loved not their lives unto the death.
3. When man loves God with all his strength (Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27) who exerts all the powers of his body and soul in the service of God:-who, for the glory of his Maker, spares neither labor nor cost-who sacrifices his time, body, health, case, for the honor of God his divine Master:-who employs in his service all his goods, his talents, his power, credit, authority, and influence.
4. When man loves God with all his mind (intellect) who applies himself only to know God, and His holy will:-who receives with submission, gratitude, and pleasure, the sacred truths which God has revealed to man casts out from his understanding and memory every useless, foolish, and dangerous thought, together with every idea which has any tendency to defile his soul. In a word, he who sees God in all things-thinks of him at all times-having his mind continually fixed upon God. He is crucified to the world, and the world to him: he lives, yet not he, but Christ lives in him. He beholds as in a glass the glory of the Lord, and is changed into the same image from glory to glory. Simply and constantly looking unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of his faith, he receives
continual supplies of enlightening and sanctifying grace, and is thus fitted for every good word.
i. Those who truly love God with all their heart which does not arise out of nature but from the Holy Spirit offer themselves freely to the will of God even to hell, if that is what God wills so that His will may be perfectly done, but it is impossible for such to remain in hell outside of God; If I ascend into heaven, You are there;i If I make my bed in hell, behold, you are NKJV Those who love God will what God wills and they please God and God loves them. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
ii. We must learn that God is our source who supplies all of our needs, as we look to Him in faith. We save ourselves from much trouble when we allow Jesus to lead us through in everything we do. We surrender in absolute obedience to God and act indifferent in our wants and needs. But we make God after our own image and conclude that He thinks and acts just as we do, and in this we are wrong! These things you have done and I kept silent; You thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you And accuse you to your face.
iii. God is not like man although He created us in His own image. The reason is that man is in a fallen state and our thoughts are now worldly and focused on self alone. Isaiah says: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
iv. God’s counsel and will are far above our counsel and will. The natural man can never please God: But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
v. God knows our thoughts that they are vain : The Lord knows the thoughts of man, that they are vain (empty and futile — only a breath).
vi. God works in us that we are only able of receiving His works and His counsel when our own counsels and works have ceased and we are made purely passive before God both in our inner and outward activities. God works in us to bring us to total submission so that when He finally completes His work in us we can acknowledge Him as God : For the LORD will rise up as at Mount Perazim, He will be angry as in the Valley of Gibeon — That He may do His work, His awesome work, And bring to pass His act, His unusual act.
vii. The work of God is hidden, in that it appears contrary to our conceptions and ideas. 3 This proves Him to be who He is – Jehovah Almighty. How could the Savior of the world be born in such a controversial manner, in a manger, and be glorified through the death on a cross?
The work of God is always hidden and cannot be understood by man because God is God. God works contrary to our expectations. The Holy Spirit came upon Mary in a way above her expectations; likewise He comes to
3 Luther’s Works Volume 25,( Concordia Publishing House, Saint Louis), p.366
us in ways we do not comprehend.
Ours is to obey as in: Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.viii
In conclusion we say God demands radical obedience from us in order for Him to work in and through us. God is calling us to be ready at all times in body, soul, and spirit for His visitation and this demands a radical obedience for the work of the Holy Spirit in us, in fact it is the Holy Spirit who works this obedience in us, as written in: Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
ix. We are called to live in this world and face opposition. It is a difficult task but victory is sure. The presence and power of the Holy Spirit of God in our lives give us the victory.
The Holy Spirit of God is a Person; Jesus referred to the Spirit as “He” and not “it.” The Holy Spirit has a mind: Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
x. The Holy Spirit has a Will: But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
xi. The Holy Spirit has emotional and feelings: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
xii. Jesus the Son sends the Spirit from the Father, and because the Holy Spirit is a Person, and is God, it means that the Christian has God indwelling in his or her body! If we did not have the Holy Spirit within, we would not be able to serve the Lord in this present evil world. We are to walk in the Spirit: I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
xiii. Worship in the Spirit: For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit,* rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
xiv. And witness in the Spirit: But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me* in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
xv. Christians can confront the world’s hatred because of the special ministries of the Holy Spirit.
For us Christians “The World” means all the people, plans, organizations, activities, philosophies, values and others that belong to society without God. Some of these
things may be corrupt traditions and customs, which promote what sinful man, wants to enjoy and accomplish.
4. Witnessing as a Christian Leader is a great challenge. It is a matter of life or death! We need to depend on the Holy Spirit to lead us to the right persons, give us the right words, and enable us patiently to glorify Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit comes to the believer and not to the world. This means that He works in and through the believer. The Holy Spirit does not minister without an object just as the Son of God had to have a body in order to do His work on earth, so the Spirit of God needs a body to accomplish His ministries; and that body is the believer. Our bodies are His tools and temples, and He wants to use us to glorify Christ and to witness to a lost world.
The body, soul, and spirit must be radically submitted to God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
REV. LAWRENCE A. KWAW
references: i Ps 139:8
ii John 14:21
iii Ps 50:21
iv Isa 55:8-9
v 1 Cor 2:14 vi Ps 94:11 AMP vii Isa 28:21 NKJV
viii Ps 37:5 NKJV ix John 16:7-15 NKJV
x Rom 8:27 xi 1 Cor 12:11 xii Gal 5:22-23 xiii Gal 5:16 xiv Phil 3:3-4 xv Acts 1:8