by Jonathan Daugherty
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” 1 Peter 1:1-2 (emphasis mine)
We were not made to call the shots in our lives. We were made to obey God. We were made for following, not leading. Obedience is at the heart of faith in God. In fact, it is through our faith in Christ that we can fulfill our purpose of obeying God and magnifying His glory.
Adam had it good, being the first man and all. He was perfectly designed and had quite a special connection with God. The bible tells us that Adam would “walk with God” in the afternoon throughout the garden of Eden. Think about that. Just walking around the woods with the Creator of the universe! No sin in the world, no division in fellowship, no shame. What a cool thought…
But Adam wasn’t made for himself. Adam (and subsequently, the rest of humanity) was made for God. We were made for His pleasure and purpose. And God graciously gave us a choice. After all, a true love relationship cannot exist without free will. But even so, God was merciful to Adam in the fact that he only gave him ONE RULE to follow: don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
God didn’t have to be that nice. Him being the rule maker, He could have set up dozens or hundreds of rules for Adam to obey. But He didn’t. Just one. And as with any law, there are consequences. In Adam’s case, obey and live, disobey and die.
From the beginning, our relating with God comes with His expectation of our obedience. And He has the right to have such an expectation. He made us, we didn’t invent Him. He has always desired us, that we might be intimately connected to Him in a love relationship forever. Despite our disobedience He even made a way for us to enjoy such a connection through faith in Jesus. He took the initiative to pay our penalty for disobedience. Folks, He really does love us!
But too often I think Christians falsely assume that within this idea of God making us for Himself that salvation alone is His end purpose, that somehow once we are saved there are no expectations that God has of us. Not true. God’s gift of salvation to us is so that, in a way, we might “return to the Garden.” And in the Garden, obedience was expected, even in that perfect, sin-free state. We are still made for obedience.
This doesn’t need to scare us. I have come to realize that my exercise of faith through obedience to God’s Word brings exactly what God promises: life and peace. It is amazing to me that I am sometimes astonished that God’s ways work (what an embarrassing confession!). But I am grateful for His patience and grace in my life as I learn to fulfill my purpose of obedience to His will.
Are you fulfilling your purpose?