Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Obedience and Faith: A Fourth View

A few months back, Steve Fuller wrote this post. He wrote about the differences between Kevin DeYoung and Tullian Tchividjian in their view of the relationship between obedience and faith. Essentially,  DeYoung believes that obedience comes from faith but still requires effort along with faith, while Tchividjian says that the effort involved is focused on strengthening our faith, and then obedience will follow. Fuller then writes of John Piper's view that obedience comes from faith alone but that faith is in the promise of God to justify and to completely satisfy us with himself. You can read the post to get a fuller picture. Now, I am not a theologian and I don't play one on TV, but I got to thinking (that's dangerous, I know). With a number of issues, I tend to look for a third way. I wonder if there might not be a fourth way here.

In this post, I wrote about our union with Christ and all of the things that flow from that. Our justification, sanctification, our continued faith, and our obedience come from being in Christ. We have been crucified and raised to life in Christ. It is Christ living in us. Everything is ours because everything is Christ's. I believe that our faith comes from our union with Christ. Paul tells us that our faith is a gift from God. John 15 tells us that our fruitfulness in life comes from abiding in Christ. We love because God loved us first. Christ's obedience is ours. Christ's faith is ours. I would go so far as to say that Christ's satisfaction in the Father is ours. Everything we need to live in obedience to our Father is ours. When we keep our focus on the fact that we are in Christ and he is in us, we trust him to live in us and that in turn leads us to obey. We still disobey, but that is because we forget who we are and allow sin to co-opt our desire and tell us the lie that things other than God can satisfy us. When we remember who we are in Christ, we find our only desire is to live in obedience and intimacy with the only One who can satisfy us and who loves us with an inexhaustible love.

These are just some thoughts. I would love to hear some of yours. Feel free to tell me if I'm out to lunch, although I don't think I am.


KC Bob said...

Thought provoking stuff Fred. I love the idea that obedience is something that flows from our union with Christ.

Fred Shope said...

Thanks Bob! That concept has changed a lot of my thinking.

38 Years and Counting

On this date thirty eight years ago, Jan and I were married. We have been through a lot in that time, most of it good, some it challenging, ...