Download MP3 Audio Track . . . or listen on SoundCloud, YouTube, or Spotify

“You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7).

PAUL’S QUESTION “WHO HINDERED YOU FROM OBEYING THE TRUTH?” WAS ADDRESSED TO A GROUP OF CHRISTIANS. He was concerned about some in Galatia who, having been baptized into Christ, were turning away from the truth. They were no longer obeying the gospel, and Paul was worried about their salvation.

Beginning with the initial response, culminating in baptism, that brings one into a forgiven relationship with God, the Christian embarks on a lifetime of obedience. It is not too much to say that “obeying the gospel” defines everything the Christian does. Every obedient thought, word, and deed is a grateful response to the good news of what God has done in Christ to save us.

But if it is possible to obey the gospel, it is also possible to quit obeying it. Faithfulness to God and gratitude for His grace are not automatic; we have to choose to live this way. And the Scriptures are clear: if we quit living in obedience to the gospel, we will go back to being under condemnation for our sins. The Letter to the Hebrews, for example, is a powerful warning against apostasy and a plea to remain true to Christ. It was written to some in the first century who were becoming unfaithful and were in danger of losing their hope of heaven, just as many in Israel left Egypt in the Exodus but failed to reach Canaan because of unfaithfulness (Hebrews 3:12–4:11).

So becoming a Christian involves making a commitment. To “confess” Christ is not merely a statement that we believe the truth of the gospel — it is a promise of obedience to His will for the rest of our lives. That is a serious commitment, obviously, and Jesus urged us to “count the cost” (Luke 14:25–33) before we make it.

Reading the New Testament even briefly, we can see there are two phases or stages in obeying the gospel: first, we accept God’s forgiveness on His terms, and second, we live the rest of our lives under the lordship of Christ. To do the first but not the second is to deny Christ. Paul put it succinctly: “As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him” (Colossians 2:6). So the question is not just whether we’ve accepted Christ at some point in the past — it’s also whether the gospel is what we’re obeying right now.

“There are two things to do about the gospel — believe it and behave it” (Susanna Wesley).

Gary Henry — +

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This