WHAT KIND OF OBEDIENCE?
There are many indications throughout Paul’s letters of his deep appreciation for the grace of God that saved him. This appreciation extended to his call as an apostle. Notice how he expresses this gratitude in Romans 1; “through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations” (1:5). Though Paul uses the word “we,” the context shows that he is mainly referring to himself.
The Spirit in Paul caused him to look beyond the gift of salvation and apostleship to the purpose for his call and gifting. There is no doubt in my mind that he preached the gospel in such a way that his heart was intent on presenting it in the power of the Spirit so as persons heard the message, they would be compelled to believe and obey. The very nature of the gospel requires faith, but that faith cannot be active unless the person believing, acts upon the truth they have heard.
There must be this element in our preaching the gospel. This ties in with the authority of God’s Word. As Paul closes this letter, he refers to their obedience; “For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you” (16:19). There are two points to this statement that are important; 1) the believers obeyed the gospel, and 2) others observed their obedience.
Is this true of us? If it is, our obedience will have a direct impact on those around us and those we proclaim the gospel to. For those of us who preach the gospel in the power of the Spirit, it brings great joy to see the hearers obey the truth they have heard.
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