Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Obedience to the Call of Jesus


I believe there is great confusion in the church today in regards to the call of Christ. R.C. Sproul addresses this in his essay "The Pelagian Captivity of the Church." Hope you take the time to check it out.

Bonhoeffer addresses this over 70 years ago in his book. Referencing Mark 2:14, he writes:
"THE CALL goes forth, and is at once followed by the response of obedience. The response of the disciples is an act of obedience, not a confession of faith in Jesus."

He goes on to point out the absence in Scripture of a description of the psychological reasons for a man's religious decisions. One would think that the disciples knew of Jesus and His teachings before He called them, but there is nothing to indicate that at all. Why would they immediately follow Him?
"For the simple reason that the cause behind the immediate following of call by response is Jesus Christ himself. It is Jesus who calls, and because it is Jesus, Levi follows at once. The encounter is a testimony to the absolute, direct, and unaccountable authority of Jesus."

"Not a word of praise is given to the disciple for his decision for Christ."

What about us? Are we proud that we are Christians? Are we inwardly boastful that we have "made the decision" to follow Jesus? "Let the one who boasts, boast in the LORD" (1 Cor. 1:31).

I am a Christian today because Christ Himself called me by name, and I responded in obedience -- because it was Christ who called. If you are a Christian, it is for the same reason. Theologians call this the "effectual call" or "irresistible grace." If you are not a follower of Jesus, then Christ has not called you -- and you are still dead in your sins. You are living in disobedience. And your greatest sin is that which prevents you from coming to Christ -- disbelief. This is what Jesus spoke about when he said,
"All that the Father gives me WILL come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out... No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him... no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." (John 6:36,44,65)

Do you doubt this? Do you really think ALL authority has been given to Jesus (see Matthew 28:18), or do you think his authority is limited by man's "free will?"

Chew over this till next time:
"Only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes."
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

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