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Bible Dictionaries
Obedience

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

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Since God is the Creator and Lord of the universe, people should obey him (Deuteronomy 4:35-40). To those who obey him, he promises blessing; to those who disobey him, cursing (Deuteronomy 11:27-28; Deuteronomy 27:10; Joshua 5:6). Obedience means to hear God’s voice, accept his authority and do what he says (Exodus 15:26). Disobedience means to ignore God’s voice, reject his authority and not do what he says (Jeremiah 7:24). Adam’s disobedience brought disaster upon the human race, but Christ’s obedience (an obedience throughout life even to death) brings salvation (Romans 5:19; Philippians 2:8; see also SIN).

God commands all people everywhere to repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15; Acts 17:30; 1 John 3:23). Therefore, faith in Christ is obedience; unbelief is disobedience (Acts 6:7; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; Hebrews 5:9; 1 Peter 4:17). Having exercised faith in Christ, true believers will give clear evidence of this by lives of constant obedience to God (1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 5:1-3).

Religious exercises are never a substitute for obedience to the commands of God. If people say they love God but deliberately disobey his Word, they deceive themselves. Love for God leads to obedience, not disobedience (1 Samuel 15:22; Luke 22:42; John 14:15; John 15:10; John 15:14-15). If people develop the habit of obeying God, they will become true servants of righteousness and therefore true servants of God. By contrast, if they develop the habit of obeying the sinful human nature, they will become servants of sin and therefore useless to God (Romans 6:12-18).

Christians have a responsibility to submit to the various kinds of authority that God has established in human society. In the family, children are to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20). In the sphere of work, employees are to obey their employers (Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22). In any community or nation, people are to obey the laws of that community or nation (Romans 13:1; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13). In the church, Christians are to obey their leaders (Philippians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; Hebrews 13:7).

In any sphere of life, people with authority may at times command Christians to do something that is contrary to the teachings of God’s Word. In such cases, Christians must be prepared to obey God rather than submit to anti-God regulations, even though their actions may bring unwelcome consequences upon themselves (Acts 5:29; Acts 5:40).

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Obedience'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​bbd/​o/obedience.html. 2004.
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