Compliance or Obedience?
Christianity is not a call to live by “principles,” or “precepts,” “vows” or ‘promises we may have made,’ nor to live for Jesus. To build our lives around Biblical ‘principles” sounds admirable, but it is a subtle form of legalism, that demands “you to perform.”
Of course, there is instruction in the New Testament about how we are to live. But these instructions are not religious laws for us to follow. Paul wrote that “the Law is the power of Sin” (1Cor. 15:56b).
The Apostle Paul’s instruction for grace believers They are descriptions of the many ways that Christ can live His life through us as we depend on Him. New Testament Christianity is not grounded in what we do, but in what He has already done. Paul taught that “He [God] which hath begun a good work in us” will be the One to ‘complete His work.’ Paul said, “Faithful is He who calls you, AND HE WILL BRING IT TO PASS” (1 Thessalonians 5:24, emphasis added). The Bible is clear: “Christ in you” will do it, not we of oursleves.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 (KJV)
6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:6 (KJV)
There is indeed a blessing to be enjoyed as we obey the Lord, but blessings are not dispensed or experienced due to our ‘doing’ what God says. Simply doing what God says has never brought joy to anybody’s life. The source of joy is of Jesus Christ in us, not mere compliance to the Bible's commands. It is religion that demands ‘compliance’ … while Christ teaches us to ‘obey’ our ‘innermost sense’ that we have of Him… working His will in us.
Many people struggle with the question, "Why am I not fulfilled when I'm doing all the things that I believe God wants me to do?" It is because God's purpose is not that we should focus on doing the right things. Rather, he wants us to focus on Him and what He is doing in us and moving us to do by His will and His life and power. Obedience occurs as we trust Jesus within us to fulfill the desires of His Father through us. As Jesus does that, we will fulfill the commands of the Scripture. On the other hand, when we simply do what the Bible instructs, that is not godly obedience. It is nothing more than ‘compliance.’
Drawn from Steve McVey as Adapted by Arthur J Licursi - from “Grace Rules” by Steve McVey.