Obedience Does Not Define the Christian Life

[Note: this is a continuing part of a series reproducing a sermon. An explanation can be found here.]

Obedience is a part of the Christian life – as obedience was a part of the life of Jesus, joyfully performed as a response of love.


B. Obedience does not define the Christian life.

We are not justified in saying that the Christian life is the same as obeying Jesus and keeping the law. It is bigger than that. The Christian life is no more equated with obedience than heel and sit adequately define a dog’s life. A dog is all about jumping up on his owner’s lap, and corralling the kids in the back yard.

Certainly, a dog obeys – but that is not what makes a dog. And it is not what makes a Christian.

A few years ago there was a big fad among Christians to put “Ten Commandments” signs in their yard or on their car. I felt that this was in one way an attempt to ‘stick it to’ the secular culture that found such things offensive. But when we identify ourselves as Christians by putting lists of rules in our yards, what does that communicate to the world? It simply confirms what the world already assumes, that Christianity is about legal compliance. But it is not.

The Bible is a story of God’s love for his people and the extent to which he would go to prove that love. It is not about the rules.

The Christian life is a life of love of which obedience is the fruit, not the other way around.

If we can get this straight, then the Christian life will be much more joyful! Obedience is a part of the Christian life, but it does not define the Christian life.