to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
November 04, 2019 – Monday
Romans 1:1-6 NIV
1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—
2 the gospel He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures
3 regarding His Son, who as to His earthly life was a descendant of David,
4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
5 Through Him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for His name’s sake.
6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
As a Gentile, I really love verse five where Paul says Through Him [Jesus] we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for His name’s sake. All the Gentiles [All the nations in some versions] are called to obedience, an obedience (and salvation) that comes from one and only one place, faith in Jesus the Christ.
Concerning the phrase obedience that comes from faith for His name’s sake Peter Pett says [T]hrough the preaching of the Apostles men would come to faith in Jesus Christ with the consequence being that they would begin to obey Him because He had become their LORD (‘for His Name’s sake’). They would come under ‘the Kingly Rule of God’. Note how even so early in the letter Paul establishes the fact that obedience must spring from faith. A faith which did not produce obedience was to be seen as a useless and ineffective faith. And this in preparation for teaching ‘justification by faith’, a phrase which indicates that getting right with God results wholly from faith, and is apart from works. (emphasis added – RDD)
This is very much in line with what James had to say as well. Obedience follows from faith according to Paul. Works follow from faith according to James. Obedience may be seen as a form of works, where obedience/works are evidence of salvation, not the cause of it. Salvation comes only from faith in the undeserved grace we have from the risen Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
This direction of the apostles to all was to call all the Gentiles to the obedience is very reminiscent of Isaiah 42:6 where we see Jesus and His apostles fulfilling the prophecy found there
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles,“
And of course, Jesus was that light as John told us in the first chapter of his Gospel
4 In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.
Then Paul in the fifth chapter of Ephesians speaks of those who choose to follow Jesus
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light
Let us indeed choose to live as children of the light, followers of Jesus.
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)