The Obligation To Obey

The Obligation To Obey

He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me.
–John 14:21

I recently read the true story of a man who was confronted about an affair he was having. When his friend asked him, “What do you think God thinks about what you are doing?” this is what he said: “I expect God to forgive me. That is His job.”

I am afraid that in rescuing grace from the legalists who want to add to it, we have unwittingly handed it to extremists on the opposite end of the spectrum: the libertarians. Grace means that there is nothing we can do to make God love us any more than He already does, but libertarians change that. They say there is nothing we need to do–period. In other words, if you are a Christian, there is no standard of behavior for you.

The libertarian is always focused on God’s job of forgiving and never on our responsibility to live in obedience to God. Whenever you confront a libertarian with God’s standards for marriage, forgiving, service in the church, and other behavior, he claims, “That is legalism. We are under grace, not under the law” No, that is not legalism; that is obedience.

It is true–there is nothing we can do to earn God’s free gift of forgiveness, but there are plenty of things we need to do to enjoy God’s blessings after we are saved. Over and over again, the Bible speaks about our obligation to live obediently if we are truly saved:

  • “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me” (John 14:21).
  • “Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2).
  • “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected” (1 John 2:4-5).
  • “Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! . . . Though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:15, 18).

Because we are saved by God’s grace, we have an obligation to obey Him. Grace does not mean we are free to disobey God; grace intensifies how much we must obey God.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Grace Escape” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.