So far, the articles of this blog have established the fact that Jesus, his apostles and, first century followers redefined the phrase word of God and put a totally redemptive focus on the scripture. With this in mind; what should it mean to our faith and practice?
First and foremost, it changes the method of obedience. It shifts from a read and do obedience to what Paul called the obedience of faith. The exact meaning of the phrase can best be understood by examining the original language. This phrase is found in Romans 1:5 & 16:26. It is HUPAKOEN PISTEOS and it means the attentive hearing of faith. Paul uses a similar idea in Romans 6:17 when he says you have “obeyed from the heart” HUPAKOUO KARDIA.
It seems to me that the obedience of faith and obeying from the heart are essentially the same concept. It is interesting and informative that Paul uses this term to describe obedience. It is a contrast to read and do, law obedience. How does obeying from the heart and the obedience of faith differ from read and do obedience? Actually it is in the motivation for the obedience… you could even go so far as to call it the catalyst for the obedience. To explain further… it is the source of the obedience. In the first instance, read and do obedience-- it is merely the cognitive awareness of what needs to be obeyed and the expectation that the knowledge will result in obedience.
In the case of the obedience of faith-- faith… not the law is the focus. In the obedience of faith the prime method of obedience is believing; believing is the obedience. All other obedience grows from faith and belief. This is where the redemptive focus comes into play. When one shifts the definition of the word of God to gospel instead of scripture, the focus automatically goes from law obedience to faith obedience. This is precisely why the Lord and his apostles changed the definition and the hermeneutic. It was in anticipation of the redemption that had drawn nigh.
Further, the obedience of faith puts the emphasis on the promises and the performance of God. It directly removes it from the performance of humans. This allows us to have peace with God and rest in his mercy and grace. The mercy and grace of God is the source of growing obedience, but the obedience has all been fulfilled in trusting God in Christ. Trusting God’s mercy and grace promotes the development of the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness goodness, kindness and temperance flow from trusting God’s grace with the obedience of faith.
So then, why does current church doctrine put such great emphasis on read and do obedience? I believe that the answer is prophesied in Matthew 16:12 and 2Thess 2:11. Much of current church doctrine is the leaven of the Pharisees and the strong delusion. This is precisely the reason that there is so much burn out in people that are on a tread mill trying desperately to please each other and subsequently please God. The leaven of the Pharisees works to abrogate the gospel of God’s grace.