Many Christians believe, or seem to believe, that they can live their lives as Christians. doing more or less just exactly what they like. That God is a great big servant who will continue to look after us in good times and bad. They think that if we say that saving grace, The Sinners Prayer, that all is done on our part and God will respond by looking after us no matter what, for He is a Go of Love, after all.
But that is not the way it is, that is not the way God is.
If you want to be blessed by God, if we want to share in His promises and be the “greatest in the kingdom” (Matthew 5:19) or have Him “meet all your needs” (Matthew 6:33) or have Him “be your friend” (John 14:15) or to “achieve eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:9) we need to obey God. Hebrews 5:9 tells us clearly that Jesus, and He “being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation and to all who obey Him.”
We need to both Consent and Obey.
Isaiah 1:14-20 from Eugene Peterson’s “The Message” version of the Bible puts it very nicely and clearly for us in simple terms and simple English:
“I can’t stand your trivial religious games: Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings — meetings, meetings, meetings — I can’t stand one more! Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them! You’ve worn me out! I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning. When you put on your next prayer-performance, I’ll be looking the other way. No matter how long or loud or often you pray, I’ll not be listening. And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing people to pieces, and your hands are bloody. Go home and wash up. Clean up your act. Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings so I don’t have to look at them any longer. Say no to wrong. Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenceless.
Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out.” This is God’s Message: “If your sins are blood-red, they’ll be snow-white. If they’re red like crimson, they’ll be like wool. If you’ll willingly obey, you’ll feast like kings. But if you’re wilful and stubborn, you’ll die like dogs.” That’s right. God says so.”
Amen and Amen.