Obedience Unto Righteousness, Rom 6:16

A servant of obedience unto righteousness

In Rom 6:16 Paul said, “his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.”  As we consider this verse, it becomes apparent that God wants us to obey him rather than sin.  We obey God by obeying what’s written in the Bible.  You know this is true because Paul wrote in the next verse, “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you.”  

God wants us to read the Bible.  And God wants us to obey what we’re reading in the Bible.

Obedience is better than understanding

In Gen 22, God tempted Abraham to offer his only son, Isaac, as a burnt offering.  I doubt that Abraham could understand why God would want him to offer his son.  However, rather than argue with God, Abraham obeyed God.  Of course, we know how the test turned out.  God intervened and substituted a ram for Isaac.  

If Abraham didn’t understand what was going on at first, he certainly believed that God wouldn’t break his promise.  He believed the Lord and God justified Abraham when he obeyed his command.  Moreover, Heb 11:17-19, tells us that Abraham figured out that God would have raised Isaac from the dead to fulfill his promise, if he hadn’t provided a ram.

Often, people quit reading the Bible and offer the excuse that they don’t understand what they’re reading.  However, God commanded us to read.  He said, “Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read,” Is 34:16.  Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” Matt 4:4.  By not reading, they are disobeying God.   Frankly, if they would read and obey what they’re reading, they would begin to understand.

Therefore, the Lord is more concerned that you obey what you read in the Bible than that you understand everything you read in the Bible.  In fact, God often gives you understanding because you believe what you read and obey it.  Obeying God always works out right.  It’s what Paul called obedience unto righteousness.

Obedience is better than knowledge

In Ex 5:2 Pharaoh asked, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.”  Because Pharaoh didn’t know the Lord, he refused to obey the Lord.  Yet the more that the Lord revealed his power to Pharaoh, the more obstinate Pharaoh became in his disobedience.  He never did obey the Lord. 

Often, Bible believers are very interested in how much Bible they know.  God is more interested in how much Bible they obey.  When he wants you to know something, he’ll show you.  For example, when he wanted Peter to know that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, he revealed it to him.  That knowledge didn’t do him a bit of good when it came time to pray in Gethsemane.  Jesus told him to pray, and he fell asleep, instead.  Peter’s disobedience cost him dearly in his hour of temptation.

Therefore, the Lord is more concerned with how much you obey rather than how much you know.  As a matter of fact, a person who obeys what he reads in a modern translation of the Bible is better than a King James Bible believer who knows more Bible, but who doesn’t obey what he knows.  So, go to work on your obedience and don’t worry about how smart you are.  I have found that the more you obey, the more the Lord teaches you what he wants you to know, anyway.  Obedience is unto righteousness.

Obedience is better than disobedience

You might think the statement, “obedience is better than disobedience” is so obvious that I don’t need to even make the point.  However, repeatedly in the Bible, we see times when people disobeyed God because they thought that what they were doing was better than what God told them to do. 

The spies thought it was better to disobey God and not take the land of Canaan than it was to obey God.  The Jews thought it was better to disobey God and worship other gods than to obey God, despite Deut 11:27-18.  Saul thought it was better to disobey God and keep alive animals for a sacrifice than it was to obey God, 1 Sam 15:22-23. For more on Saul’s disobedience see Better Than Sacrifice.

Do you understand?  When you do something that is against the command of the Lord, you have decided that it is better to disobey God than to obey him.  When you decide not to tithe, you have decided that disobeying God to make your money matters work out is better.  Disobeying God to fix your finances is never better.  When you decide to disobey God to alleviate your emotional distress, you have decided that disobeying God is better.  Disobeying God to deal with emotional distress is never better.  Obedience is unto righteousness.  If you want things to work out right, obey God.

God wants obedience unto righteousness

No matter how much you may want to disobey God, obedience is always better than understanding, knowledge, or disobedience.