We close this Lenten Season study on obedience with a quick review as to how to develop a “real time”, biblical view of this critical spiritual discipline. So what have we learned about obedience?
What is obedience?
“submission to authority” Webster
“to hear, to understand, to persuade or convince” The Bible
Where does obedience come from?
- Obedience is evidence of a personal relationship with God.
- Obedience is motivated by love for God.
- Obedience is the outward response of a heart that hears God and turns to Him.
- Obedience is the outcome of a faith walk resulting in greater spiritual maturity.
So what is perfected obedience?
Our text gives us a clue into how our obedience becomes “perfected”. It begins and ends with a clear understanding of Jesus and His walk of perfected obedience.
Firstly, Jesus never sinned. Jesus had no need to become perfect for His work of salvation. Jesus was perfect in His nature (1 Pet. 2:22; Heb. 4:15). Imagine that! Even as a rambunctious child, a growing teenager, and a vibrant young man—Jesus never sinned. No defiance, no “cutting of the eyes” no hiding behind excuses like “I’m only human” or “A person has to do what a person has to do”. Yet to fulfill God’s requirement for a “blameless sacrifice for sin” (1 Pet. 1:19), Jesus suffered and was obedient unto death (Phil. 2:8). Jesus suffered not for His sins but for our sin (2 Cor. 5:21).
Secondly, Jesus learned. What did He learn? Jesus learned what it meant to be human by experiencing all the emotions and sensations that we as frail humans feel. Why? So that He could identify with man’s depravity and brokenness. Jesus willingly experienced the full range of emotions He had placed in man at Creation (Heb. 4:25). We get glimpses of this in the Gospel accounts.
- When Jesus saw the masses, He was moved with compassion. (Matt. 9:36; Mark 6:34)
- When Jesus approached Jerusalem, He cried. (Luke 19:41)
- When Jesus heard of John the Baptist’s arrest, He withdrew. (Matt14:13)
- When Jesus saw the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees, He condemns them. (Matt. 23:1-12)
- When Jesus heard of Lazarus’ death, He wept. (John 11:35)
- When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He sweated blood. (Luke 22:42; Mark 14:36)
- When Jesus was hung on the Cross, He died! (Matt. 27:50)
Jesus learned about humanity and why His sacrificial death was the only solution for the sin problem.
Finally, Jesus was perfected. The literal translation of perfected is “to bring to an end a proposed goal”. Jesus accomplished the purpose crafted by God before the foundation of the world—to bring redemption, restoration, and reconciliation to mankind. Jesus became the “all and everything” that was needed to bring salvation to fallen man. Jesus became “the author of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:9), the “firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29), and the “first-begotten from the dead” (Rev. 1:5).
Jesus’ perfecting was accomplished through His obedience. Jesus’ submission to and love for God resulted in the greatest gift we as believers will ever receive—freedom from sin and eternal life. To put into words the enormity of God’s plan of salvation is impossible.
Understanding perfecting obedience is captured in the life and love of Jesus the Christ. Jesus is our model and the example we daily strive to emulate. Let us endeavor, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be conformed to His image and ultimately transformed into all that God has purposed us to be (Eph. 2:10).
I close with these words from F.B. Meyer on “The Perfecting of Christ”. May his words move your spirit to new levels of obedience.
“For the long and steep ascent of life, our Father has given us a Companion, a Captain of the march, a Brother, even Jesus our Lord, who passed through the suffering of death, and is now crowned with glory and honor (Heb. 2:9-ll). He has passed along our pathway, and climbed our steep ascents, that He might become our merciful and faithful Friend and Helper. In this sense He was perfected, and became unto all them that obey Him the Author of eternal salvation. But if we are to walk with Him, and realize His eternal salvation, we must learn to obey.”