“Samuel said, Hath the LORD has great delight in burnt offerings and sac- rifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (1Sam 15:22,23).
There is no such thing as “perfect obedience” with human beings (Num 20:10; 2Sam 11:14,15,26,27; Rom 7:15-18). It is only the Lord Jesus who achieved the perfection of obedience and the sinlessness required by God (Heb 4:14,15). However, God still does require His sons and daughters in Christ to trust and obey Him fully.
“Eternal life has been the Hope of those who have walked with God in all past ages and generations, since the Fall. In walking with God they have trod the same path, and journeyed along the same road, which is the only ‘way that leadeth unto eternal life.’ The entrance upon this way is strait, and its passage narrow, and, though it leads to glory, honor, incorruptibility and life, there are few that find it. Belief in the testimony of God, and obedience to His commandments, are the grand characteristics of ‘His Way’ in its successive manifestations in all time. Dispensations have varied; but these leading principles have always remained the same. ‘These are written that ye may believe’, and ‘Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the Tree of Life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God’ ” (John Thomas, The Faith in the Last Days, pp. 71,72).
Brothers and sisters in Christ, even our Lord Jesus, was not exempted from show- ing his love, in this God-required way, for God and for us. So why should we?
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: And I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people” (Heb 8:10).
This is the New Covenant. “Though he were a Son (the only begotten of the Fa- ther), yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered” (Heb 5:8). It was his obedience which brought him life for evermore.“Being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil 2:8). As we come to remember Jesus our Lord in the emblems of the bread and wine, let us remember his faith, trust and obedience to his Father (and our Father). Amen!
Anthony Semple (Georgetown, Guyana)