– Jonathan Edwards
The Power to Obey Comes from Within, if You Let It
When a person accepts Christ as his or her personal savior, two things happen. First, accepting Jesus by faith means God’s grace justifies that person and frees that person from the penalty of sin. As sinners, the penalty we have coming our way is eternal death. Placing your faith in Jesus saves you from you that fate. However, the blessings don’t just end there. When we place our faith in Jesus, God gives us the Holy Spirit which enters our heart. The Holy Spirit in our hearts enables us to be free from the power of sin, on a daily, if not moment-by-moment, basis. The power to obey comes from within. This is yet another free gift we get when we choose to place our faith in God. God freely gives out of grace.
We Cannot Obey on Our Own
As the prophet Jeremiah points out, humans have a depraved heart. Our hearts are rotten to the core. Sure, we can act righteous from time to time but it is never sustainable. In many cases, we can be ‘good’ for a while but if it isn’t based on the right things, it eventually runs out of steam and we come back to our true state of sinfulness and wickedness. This is why humans can’t obey God’s will for their lives on their own strength. Our righteousness is like filthy rags. Practically speaking, we have no righteousness of our own. But thanks to God’s grace, the indwelling Holy Spirit changes us continuously so our thoughts, our speech, and our actions change in accordance to God’s will. Thanks to the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying influence and power, the wrong things we used to love, we grow to hate and the right things that we used to hate or shy away from, we grow to love.
Obedience is the Fruit of Faith and Grace
Let’s face it, obeying Jesus’ commands, especially the one involving loving our enemies and forgiving, seem downright impossible. And if viewed from our own personal strength, they are impossible. However, through faith and God’s grace, we are able to obey fully because it isn’t our own power we are relying on. Instead, we are resting on the Holy Spirit to make our lives bear the new fruit of love, joy, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, kindness, and self-control. Full obedience to God’s will is possible only through Grace. We only need to accept this free gift. Are you ready to open your hands to the free gift fruit the Holy Spirit has in store for you?