A.N. Martin

B. Childress
Sep 24 2010 08:00 A.M.

We ought to live a life of principled obedience for its own sake, simply because it is the right thing to do  The will of God
ought to be obeyed
because it is the will of God.  If there were no positive fruits arising from such a life, no rewards
attached to it, we ought to be motivated to live in this way simply because it pleases God for us to do so.  Jesus,
however, as further motivation, spoke of very special blessings - blessings enjoyed in this present life - blessings which
come to those who live in conscientious conformity to the Word of God:

    If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments...He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that
    loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto
    him...If a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father  will love him, and we will come unto him, and make
    our abode with him.  (John 14:15,21,23)

A life of principled obedience constantly affirms and validates the reality of our professed love to Christ.  Obedience to
Christ manifests the genuineness of our profession.  Love, like faith, is displayed in deeds, not in words alone.  By our
deeds we prove to ourselves that we really are what we claim to be - lovers of Christ and lovers of God.  Assurance that
we are not hypocrites is a great blessing.  And with solid evidence of spiritual reality in the inner man, our hearts can be
at rest.  

Jesus, of course, takes us a step further.  Not only does a life of principled obedience set our hearts at rest that our love
for Christ is genuine;
Jesus also affirmed that God is pleased to bless his obedient people by dwelling with them.  The
present reward of a life of principled obedience is the privilege of enjoying the presence of God.  Present communion
with God is a wonderful blessing promised to an obedient people and a great proof that God loves us.  His willingness to
manifest himself to us and to abide with us is evidence that he loves us deeply.

The Bible promises precious blessings in this life to those who live a life of principled obedience.  Do you desire to have
solid assurance that you are a real Christian, a real lover of Christ?  Do you long to enjoy communion with God and
assurance of his love?  If your answer to these questions is yes, you will find these blessings only in the course of a life
of principled obedience.  These are the blessings which Jesus promised to those who obey him.

Did you know that Jesus maintained unbroken communion with his Father by a life of principled obedience?  Jesus said,

    If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love [i.e. abide in the reality and consciousness of my love];
    even as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.  These things have I spoken unto you, that
    my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full (John 15:10-11).

How did Jesus carry about in his holy soul the constant assurance and joy of his Father's love?  By living a life of
principled obedience.  And what did Jesus desire for his disciples?  He desired that by their imitating his life of principled
obedience, the joy of the blessed communion with God which he possessed would be theirs in rich fullness.

Embedded in the mind and soul of Jesus was a consciousness of the will of his Father.  And as he ever reflected upon
his ways, he turned his feet again and again into the path of obedience.  It was his commitment to principled obedience
which brought him to the trial of Gethsemane; and it was his commitment to principled obedience which brought him
through Gethsemane to the cross of Calvary.  When darkness began to press in upon his spirit and he contemplated
the cup which he would have to drink, when everything in his holy soul recoiled from the thought of the terrible baptism
of abandonment which awaited him, when he cried out 'Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me,' when all of
his feelings were pulling him away from the path that went to the cross, he said, 'Nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be
done.'  Jesus' commitment to a life of principled obedience caused him to ride over every natural inclination to shrink
back from the agony of cruel crucifixion and from the shame of being hung naked before the rude stare of multitudes.  
He had to ride over every holy feeling of revulsion at the thought of being severed from conscious communion with his
Father - a communion which he had known from eternity and over which there had never come even the least shadow of
a cloud.  Now he would be plunged into total darkness; yet he said, 'Nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.'

Dear reader, if Jesus had not lived a life of principled obedience, we would have no Savior.  If Jesus had not been
committed to obeying the will of his Father, no matter the cost, he would not have gone to Calvary and died for the sins
of his people  But he did obey his Father.  He did go to Calvary.  And he died to have a people committed to a life of
principled obedience.  He didn't die to have a people who turn aside from doing his will at every whim and impulse of
their feelings, a people who are ruled by their moods.  He didn't die to have husbands love their wives only when they
feel good, or wives submit to their husbands only when the mood hits them, or children obey their parents only when
they want to, or people pray and come to the house of God only when they feel like it.  No, Jesus died to have a people
conformed to his own moral image of a life of principled obedience.

Do you have the roots for such a life in you?  Has there been a saving choice of God and a determined commitment to
serve God and do his will?  If not, I plead with you, go to God and ask him to give you those roots.  Do you live in a
climate of conscious dependence upon God expressed in real prayer, and of faith in God's promised provision?  Do you
engage in honest self-evaluation in the light of the objective standard of the Word of God?  Do you make immediate and
universal alteration of sinful patterns of behavior, turning your feet into the way of God's statutes?  

You may say, 'Pastor, if that is what true religion is, that's too hard, I don't want it.'  Well, my friend, your only alternative
to biblical religion is to make your own religion.  But if you take that course, you must be prepared to perish with your
false religion.  The only religion which is true and saving is the one which the Bible sanctions.  And the only religion
which the Bible sanctions is the one which produces a life of principled obedience.


A LIFE OF PRINCIPLED OBEDIENCE, by A.N. Martin, Copyright 1992, The Banner of Truth Trust.