Thursday, 25 June 2009

Obeying the Truth


In his Galatian epistle Paul expresses his disappointment about those believers who had been thrown off course by the legalist Jews. “You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth” That final phrase “Obeying the truth” has been much in my thoughts since I last posted a blog.

It was not that these believers did not know the truth. It had been plainly set before them in Paul’s teaching from the beginning, and at first they had walked in it, but now they were abandoning that way of truth and falling into the awful bondage of legalism.

When truth is revealed to us and we perceive it we are inevitably faced with a choice. It is possible to give mental assent to it but to fail to obey it. We may even go so far as to proclaim it and teach it but yet fail in obedience. I am thinking particularly of the truth concerning the Church as it is revealed in the Scriptures. When we come to see that the New Testament knows nothing of a church which is institutional, depending on special buildings and hierarchical organizations, but rather reveals a living organism of which the Lord Jesus is the Head and each part related to Him and to each other. We then face this question, “Will I obey?” Should this revelation come when we are already embedded in the institutional mode, maybe for a long time, as I myself was, obedience to the truth may be costly in terms of previous ministries and friendships. For the apostle Paul it meant abandoning all that he had passionately devoted his life and learning to, the conservation of Judaism, but he says, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” In Philippians 3:4-11 he movingly tells of all he gave up for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ, in other words he obeyed the truth.

It has been my sad experience to meet other believers who have openly acknowledged that their way of institutional church is not that revealed in the New Testament, but the hindrances to obedience have been too strong for them to break free. One said to me, “I know what you are saying is true, but I cannot take that road.”

This is written to encourage any who are facing the question of what to do about Church to look into the Scriptures, asking the Holy Spirit to guide into the truth and then to obey what He reveals.


Blogger Joan said...

Wow this gives a whole new meaning to that good ol baptist hymn Trust & Obey for there's no other way.....
This use to be such a legalistic song for me. But now "obey the truth"its so simple. What a revelation. When this was written there was no organized institution no rules. It was a Life. Obey the truth. What is truth? Great question!!Now the truth is Live Loved and love what is. Thank you for posting this.

4 August 2009 at 11:05 am  
Blogger Kilauea Poetry said...

I really enjoyed this. It is a lonely road but honestly, I'd walk no's the way it is! Your words are a deep inspiration to me-

11 August 2009 at 6:27 pm  

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