James 2:17 tells us that faith without works is dead, standing alone, by itself. This does not suggest you work to get salvation, you have to work out your own salvation, it means that faith without action is dead, meaningless, useless and unproductive. The Gospel of Jesus recorded in the New Testament has many examples of Jesus instructing people to do something before He answered their prayer or performed a miracle on their behalf. And what did He ask most often, obedience. Faith in the Son of God has to be demonstrated for it to work.
“Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it forth, and it was restored as whole, like as the other” (Matthew 12:13). Jesus gave the deformed man his instructions on the Sabbath and in the presence of all in the synagogue to show that faith in Him works even on the Sabbath. To the man with an illness of palsy lying on his bed, Jesus said, “Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thy house” (Matthew 9:6). Then the man stood up on his feet and went home healed. Again, another example of a willingness to obey by one man gave Jesus the opportunity to prove that He could not only remove sin but remove life-long illness as well.
Jesus is telling you and I, just as he told those two men, to do something first, step out on faith in Me, to make an effort to do what I ask of you. In another example Jesus put a mud pack on a blind man’s eyes, and sends him to wash it off in a pool on the far side of town. Sounds a bit contradictory on the surface, why would Jesus spit on the clay and make a mud pack to put on a blind man’s eyes? Furthermore, how could he possibly make it to the far side of town to wash it off? Look beyond the contradictions, Jesus is saying I have done something for you, now you do something to prove you believe it will work. No action, no results.
This is how it works with God, while we wait for Him to tell us to do something big we miss our blessing by failing to do the small things He commands. He is not asking us to do the big thing daily until we are willing to do the small things hourly. God will not open a big door until you have made it through the little door He opened for you a long time ago. You can pray until Hell freezes over, literally, and He is not going to bless you with a lot of anything until you have demonstrated your faithfulness to the little of everything that He has given you thus far.
Obedience is not a one-time transaction between you and God, a one-time good work, or a one-time day of fasting. It is not good to take God for granted and pick when you wish to obey, “Obedience is better than sacrifice,” and God means it. We want God to bless us now, for the one little thing we have done, and I hate to be the one to tell you, but you can give up on that idea. God wants you to integrate obedience into everything you do, make it a lifestyle just like bathing, eating and turning off the lights. God wants you to be ever mindful of where your help comes from and why it comes in the first place.
“If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land” (Isaiah 1:19). God will not force obedience upon any of His children, He allows you to choose to obey. Faith alone is not enough, it must reinforce our obedience, a willful act born of the want to please the God of our faith. Obedience has heavenly rewards that eyes have not seen, ears have not heard nor has entered into the hearts of men, we cannot imagine. To the only God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus our Christ
- Why Obedience? (nineyearbible.wordpress.com)
- The Five Things you need to know before you will die to the law (godschild1960.wordpress.com)