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We often hear that we must obey God, which is of course not a bad thing in terms of substance. But as for the form that this obedience can have in our lives, we cannot say that it is the best attitude for an optimal relationship, nor what God has planned in the long term with His children.
I understand that many Christians reading these kinds of sentences, may be shocked by them, or even have a desire to reject this teaching before they have read it. But give yourself a chance to go deeper into your relationship with God.
In fact, obeying God is a phrase taken mainly from the old covenant, because it is found many times. It is certainly found in the new covenant as well, but much less often. Certainly the Scriptures of the old covenant are much more numerous, but this notion of obedience nevertheless appears a little more often in the old covenant.
The word obey can be found more than 82 times in the old covenant in different forms, compared to 26 times in the new covenant. Would this mean that we should no longer obey God in the New Covenant?
Not at all.
But this means that we do not obey God in the old covenant the same way as in the new.
The problem arises when Christians read some of the Scriptures from the Law of Moses, in particular, and apply them with the same mindset as at that time, in their daily lives.
In the new covenant this is no longer obedience strictly speaking.
In the old covenant and especially under the Law of Moses, God had given a whole series of rules to observe, 613 Laws and 10 commandments. Not to overwhelm men, but to help them understand that they were totally out of step with God's standard of holiness. The Law also had the particularity of giving life to sin, of making it real and tangible in the eyes of men. That is to say, because of and thanks to the Law, men have been able to see that their attitudes were not in agreement with the person of God. Men realized through the Law that they needed to change, but that they did not have the power to do so on their own, so they needed someone who would do things for them (a Saviour).
So they had to follow all these rules. It didn't matter if they agreed or not, they had to obey. No matter what people thought, they had to abide by the rule. Obedience in this case did not take into account people's opinions at all. They had to comply whether they agreed or not; they had to comply with the rule of total obedience regardless of the circumstances.
The Law judged actions, not thoughts. One could therefore obey God while having a contrary thought. This was the case for many of the Hebrew people at that time.
The Hebrews became for the most part very legalistic during these 1400 years when the Law was the main rule to follow. The rules of the Law had become their sources of obedience. It is easy to see from Jesus' time that many ended up following ridiculous rites that no longer had anything to do with the spirit of the Law.
The main people involved were called Pharisees, and scribes. Other movements at that time were composed of Sadducees, for example.
For example, they had made themselves look very beautiful, with attitudes and words that were "apparently very spiritual", but with disastrous thoughts. A great hypocrisy had taken hold of these people's thoughts, they had words and attitudes that were not at all in harmony with their thoughts in many areas.
They pretended to be people who loved their neighbours, following God, but inside their thoughts were corrupted.
Luke 11: 39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness.
Jesus very often took them by default with various words, but they themselves did not hide from their disagreements with Jesus:
Matthew 9: 34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.”
Matthew 15: 12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”
Matthew 16: 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the [a]doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
There are still dozens of other examples where Jesus denounces their hypocritical attitudes. It was a pseudo obedience, but it actually hid a disobedience and a self-centered mind.
In the old covenant, and therefore more particularly under the Law of Moses, they had to follow, as I said earlier, a whole series of 613 rules and 10 commandments. Whether they agreed or not, they had to follow these rules.
No matter if a person was coerced and forced by Law, or by his own will, the essential thing was to follow the rule.
In this case they could say that they were obeying God.
Obeying means: Submitting to someone by complying with what he (she) commands or forbids. Complying, conforming to what is required by others or by oneself.
Obeying can therefore be done by choice or by force. In obeying we do not integrate the notion of will, we do not take into account the notion of agreeing or disagreeing.
Too often Christians obey God without being convinced that they are doing a good thing. We often hear sentences like: "You must obey", or "I don't want to but I must obey, because God will not be pleased if I don't do it", or even "If I don't obey I won't be blessed anymore". Such statements are only the fruit of being centered on oneself, without having understood the very essence of our relationship with God through salvation in Jesus Christ.
The Bible tells us in this passage that if I am not convinced of what I am doing, in other words, if I do something constrained and forced, then I am sinning.
Romans 14: 23 (AMP) Whatever is not from faith is sin [whatever is done with doubt is sinful].
In other words, every time I obey God without being convinced that what I do is the best thing to do, then I sin.
When we have to obey, our condition and our thought do not matter, we must comply. If you drive on a road limited to 60km/h, no matter if you want to drive faster or not, you must comply with the rule no matter what you think at the time, because otherwise you will suffer the negative consequences in various forms.
We can say that it was a similar form of obedience under the Law.
Today things are no longer in the same form at all. Jesus went much deeper when he came to fulfil this Law and propose this period of grace to us. From now on God comes into us and engraves His mentality in our way of thinking.
Hebrews 10: 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,”
It is therefore no longer a question today for a person born again to "satisfy " an obedience to God.
We do not obey God as they did under the Law.
Today, and because I was born again, God has engraved all His nature, His way of thinking, His way of seeing things, in my spirit.
I no longer obey God, I become like God. And if I become like God, then I think like God. If I think like God, then I speak like God. And if I speak like God, then I act like God. If I act like God then I no longer obey God because I am like Him. I no longer comply, because it is His nature that has become my nature, my person is like a mirror of His.
We no longer speak of obedience in this case, but rather of transformation, of metamorphosis in His image.
We could say that all this is very nice, but that in practice it does not always happen in this way.
Yes, absolutely, this is unfortunately the case for the vast majority of Christians, precisely because they have not understood or accepted the fact that we are no longer in "obedience" to God, but in a process of total transformation in His image.
I don't pray because the Bible says so.
I don't love my neighbour because it's written in the Bible.
I don't go to a local church because I have to do it.
I don't talk about the Gospel around me because Jesus tells me to.
We could extend this list even further with many other actions in our lives. If I do all these things it is because the new person I am since my new birth is developing more and more. There is no question of forcing me to do anything, because in that case I will sin.
The new person I am is more and more in the image of God, having exactly the same nature as Him.
So I do things because I want to do them, because it's part of me.
I pray because I feel the need.
I love my neighbour because I am like my Father.
I go to a local church or Christian group because I like to be with my brothers and sisters.
I talk about the Gospel around me because the lives of others have become important to me.
Once I have accepted and understood this in my soul, then things become much easier. I no longer obey God, I become like Him.
We often have this description of the soul as a rebellious entity, which can only do evil. But that is not the truth, the Bible does not say that our soul is evil, but that it is simply weak, which is quite different.
Mark 14: 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
It is very possible that our soul may side with our spirit. Certainly my soul will never be perfect because it is weak and will always have this tendency to slacken. But that doesn't mean it can't voluntarily make good decisions influenced by my spirit.
As a result, my soul can reach a stage where it desires to manifest this nature of God and let itself be guided by my spirit. It will remain weak but nevertheless with good motivation.
The image is a bit like that of a pierced bucket.
If you want this bucket to stay full of water, there is only one way: you have to add water very regularly, almost permanently. The same goes for our soul, if I renew it very regularly, if I fill it with what God says, then it will remain in a state where it will voluntarily be submitted to my spirit and will go in the direction of God's nature.
What would be the difference between a pierced bucket that is constantly supplied with water, and a perfectly fine bucket filled with water?
No difference between the two in terms of content, both will be constantly filled with water.
I just want to show that this is a very feasible thing.
It is by being continually saturated with God's presence, with what He says about me, that my soul will be regularly renewed. Once in this state of renewal, I no longer do things because they have to be done, or because the Bible says so, but because I become like God. My soul will also be able to think like Him, speak like Him, and act like Him. It will remain weak it is a fact, but it will go in the direction of my mind.
I will then be able to see this new person that I am in Jesus Christ develop.
As a result, I am no longer literally obedient to God, but in a process of transformation that makes me more and more like Him. I no longer seek to comply or obey, but I am transformed in His image, so obedience disappears to give way to my thoughts that go in the same direction as His.
Bye for now.