By faith Abraham obeyed… Hebrews 11:8
What is the relationship between faith and obedience? How did Abraham obey? How can we grow in obedience to God today?
Abraham believed what God revealed, and trusted what God promised. That is how he obeyed. Obedience springs from faith.
Grasping how faith relates to obedience is really important. Here is an illustration that may help you.
Imagine you are baking a cake. You mix flour, butter, sugar, and eggs into a smooth batter. Once you have the batter, you no longer have flour, butter, sugar, or eggs. They have dissolved into each other. They are all mixed up.
If you get faith and obedience mixed up, you will have trouble telling them apart.
You’ve probably heard people say, “My life is not what it should be… Am I really a Christian?” They see that their obedience is far from complete, so they say, “If my obedience isn’t complete, maybe I’m not a Christian at all.”
That is confusing faith with obedience. It is mixing them up so that you can no longer distinguish one from the other. If you have a mixing bowl problem, you need to see that there is a clear distinction between faith and obedience: “By faith Abraham obeyed…” (11:8). Faith is not obedience, and obedience is not faith.
The Bible says we are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1). If you get faith mixed up with obedience, you will think you are justified by obedience. And since your obedience is never complete, you will never enjoy real and lasting peace.
There is a story about a woman who was a believer, but she endured a time of doubting that she belonged to the Lord. God eventually brought her through, and looking back, she said: “The fountain of all my misery was that I sought in the law what I should have found in the gospel; and looked to myself, for that which is only found in Christ.” Don’t confuse faith and obedience.
Do you struggle with peace? Is it possible you have a mixing bowl problem?