Grace: The Foundation of Our Obedience

Steve Behlke   -  

As those who believe in Jesus Christ, we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Some resist, suggesting that grace comes across as a license to sin. Yet, rightly understood and experienced, grace is actually the foundation of our obedience. 

We obey God for a number of reasons starting, perhaps, with who He is. The Lord God the Almighty made us for His purpose and has complete authority over us. The Lord is wiser than us and knows what is best for us. The Father loves us and He has our best interests in mind.

Whether it’s trusting His authority, His wisdom, or His love, we view obedience relationally.

We view obedience relationally

Obedience is offered trusting that God is worthy and it is right to obey Him. Trusting His authority. Trusting His wisdom. Trusting His love.

Without trust, we will not freely obey. Obedience without trust is mere compliance, at best.

Jesus modeled obedience as a love word. His obedience was entirely relational. Jesus obeyed the Father because He submitted to the Father’s authority, He trusted the Father’s wisdom, and He cherished the Father’s love. 

Jesus obeyed the Father because He loved the Father.

Jesus ties our obedience to Him with His love for us. We love God because He first loved us. The first and greatest commandment is to love God with all our being.

Then, Jesus tells us, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). 

If you love me, here’s my love language, here’s how you show it, obey me, keep my commandments.

Obedience is the love language that best honors God and shows our love for Him.

Obedience is the love language that best honors God and shows our love for Him

Jesus adds, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me, and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him” (John 14:21).

Read that again. We experience deeper intimacy and knowledge of God the Father and the Son when we obey Him. 

Like a parent to a child’s obedience, God responds, relationally, to our obedience. 

God responds, relationally, to our obedience.

According to Jesus, if you choose to love and obey Him, the Father will help you understand His love better (“he will be loved by My Father”) and Jesus will help you to better know Him (“I will disclose Myself to him”). Yet, neither may happen if you ignore His words, for this promise is to believers, Jesus says, who “keep my commandments.”

On top of this, we become better people as we obey Him, so, as we love our spouse, love our neighbor, forgive our enemies, honor our parents, and avoid coveting. We experience the joy of God’s grace as we obey Him and live in light of His good will. 

Plus there is great future reward in our present obedience.

All of this is built on the foundation of God’s grace to us in Jesus Christ.

Grace is not a license to sin, but rather the basis of our obedience. By relating to God through His grace and making the choice to love and obey Him, we draw nearer to Him, increase our happiness, and bring blessings to those around us.