January 9 I Sunday
“But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.” —Romans 6:17, NKJV
What does it mean to be slaves to God? Paul gives us the answer in the opening verse of this devotion. When we wholeheartedly obey the doctrine to which we were entrusted, we become slaves to righteousness. This is why a key issue in the Christian life is the issue of obedience. But obedience is not simply God standing at a distance with a big stick saying, “Come on, do it. You better do it!” and we responding, “Alright, I’ll try my best”—that is misrepresenting the Christian life.
As we submit to God, we are not only submitting to God’s will by our obedience, but we are also submitting to His power that enables us to do what He has called us to do. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 tells us, “The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” This is in the context of holiness, as the verse right before says, “May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). We will never live the Christian life outside of obedience, which is why we must never detach the lordship of Jesus Christ from the Saviour-hood of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes, we tend to think it is adequate enough that Christ is our Saviour who saved us from hell. Since we are going to heaven, we can go on living the way we want to live, but that is not the Christian life. Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour; He brought us out of our sin in order to bring us under His authority.
We should live every day asking the questions: “What does God want in this situation? What is the will of God in this situation?” Some of us may think that God’s will is something mystical or remote, but about 99% of God’s will in our life is found in the Bible. It may not tell us the name of the man or woman we are going to marry, or the place we are going to live, but the Holy Spirit will guide us as we live in obedience to what the Bible says. God’s personal will is always in conformity to His general will. If we are going to live the Christian life, it is under His authority; hence, obedience is the key ingredient.
The late author and evangelist Stephen Olford once said, “God won’t teach you anything new until your obedience is up to date.” If we sense a blockage in our Christian life, we may need to repent of our disobedience, surrender our life and submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ as we walk in obedience.
Prayer: Precious Jesus, You are the Lord and Saviour of my life. Thank You for dying on my behalf to take away my sins. I wholly submit in obedience to You. Amen!