Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Obey the Gospel

All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might
2 Thessalonians 1:5-9

Normally we Christians think and speak about the gospel in terms of a call. It's something we hear; something we respond to. It's not a command, not something to be obeyed. Or is it? 

While discussing God's final judgment and how just it will be, the Apostle Paul assures his readers that God will judge "those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel." The punishment? Everlasting destruction (i.e. Hell). Paul is clear that those who do not obey the gospel are non-believers headed for Hell. Paul assumes that believers are obeying the gospel. So what does that mean?

The word for "obey" in this passage means to listen. It can mean simply to hear but it often means to hear and hearken to or obey what you have heard. For example, this word is used in Matthew 8:27. After Jesus calms a great storm, the disciples react by saying, "What kind of man is this?-- even the wind and sea obey Him." 

So the gospel isn't just something we hear. It isn't just something we listen to. It is a command! 

The good news that Jesus died for our sins commands us to cast off our old way of living and turn to Him in repentance. The gospel tells us that Jesus set us free from the power of sin and death; and it expects us to no longer live like we are enslaved to sin. The gospel reveals God's unfathomable forgiveness and grace for us and in so doing requires us to show the same grace and forgiveness to others. The gospel changes us. It calls us out of the darkness and into the light. So we ought to walk like children of light, doing the good deeds that accompany light. 

Has the gospel really taken root in your life and started to produce fruit? Are you just listening to the good news, or are you obeying it? Obey the gospel! May we all live it out every day by the help, power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

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