Steven Lawson

You Just Need to Obey

Every step of heart-prompted obedience leads to experiencing abundant life in Christ. Conversely, every step of disobedience takes us away from the joy of divine goodness. Far from being optional, grace-fueled obedience is absolutely necessary for Christlikeness. Is there any need to pray about whether or not to obey God’s Word? You just need to obey.

Can you imagine a Christian couple actually praying about living together before marriage? Can you fathom a young woman who professes Christ even bothering to pray about whether she should marry an unbeliever? Can you grasp a Christian businessman having to pray about whether he should tell the truth in a transaction? When the Word of God is so clear, praying to discern God’s will becomes a convenient excuse—or even a prolonged filibuster—to avoid doing what Scripture commands.
Many who profess Christ today emphasize a wrong view of grace that makes it a free pass to do whatever they please. Tragically, they have convinced themselves that the Christian life can be lived without any binding obligation to the moral law of God. In this hyper-grace distortion, the need for obedience has been neutered. The commandments of God are no longer in the driver’s seat of Christian living, but have been relegated to the backseat, if not the trunk—like a spare tire—to be used only in case of an emergency. With such a spirit of antinomianism, what needs to be reinforced again is the necessity of obedience.
For all true followers of Christ, obedience is never peripheral. At the heart of what it means to be a disciple of our Lord is living in loving devotion to God. But if such love is real, the acid test is obedience. Jesus maintained, “If you love me,you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Genuine love for Christ will always manifest itself in obedience.
This does not mean that a Christian can ascend to sinless perfection. This will never be realized this side of glory. Neither does it imply that a believer will never disobey God again. Isolated acts of disobedience will still occur. But the new birth does give a new heart that desires to obey the Word. In regeneration, God says:
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Ezek. 36:26–27)
Read More

Theology for the Glory of God

The more we apprehend God’s intrinsic glory, the more we will ascribe glory to Him. The greater our knowledge of God, the greater will be our worship of Him. A high view of God will invoke high praise for Him. The person who grows to know God more deeply will praise Him more fervently.

The study of theology must never become an end in itself. The goal of sound doctrine is never to produce people who have full heads but empty hearts and barren lives. The purpose of Reformed theology is never to produce the “frozen chosen.” Instead, the knowledge of God and His truth is intended to lead us to know and worship Him. The teaching of Scripture is given to ignite our hearts with devotion for God and to propel us to live for Him. In short, robust theology must produce vibrant doxology.
We study theology not to be educated for the sake of appearances. Theology is merely a means to the highest end. We study the truth about God to know Him better and to mature us. Theology renews our minds. It ignites our hearts. It elevates our worship. It directs our prayers. It humbles our souls. It enlightens our path. It energizes our walk. It sanctifies our lives. It strengthens our faith. It deepens our passion. It sharpens our ministries. It fortifies our witness. Theology does all this—and much more. Every aspect of this life pursuit brings glory to God.
We are to glorify God in everything we do. Paul writes, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). This charge to honor God includes even the study of theology. The Apostle warns, “Knowledge makes arrogant” (8:1, NASB) if it does not lead to loving God and others. We must study “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) ultimately for “the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2). This truth, in turn, will prompt us to give Him the glory due His name.
One important verse makes this truth especially clear. Paul writes: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36). This confession concludes Paul’s most profound teaching on God’s salvation of perishing sinners. Paul has expounded the great doctrines of condemnation, justification, sanctification, glorification, and election, and then he bursts forth in this fervent praise to God. Let us carefully consider this doxology and emulate the Apostle’s response of giving glory to God.
This verse begins with three prepositional phrases—“from him and through him and to him”—followed by three all-inclusive words, “are all things” (Rom. 11:36). Here is the most comprehensive sentence ever penned. This is a complete Christian worldview. This is a virtual systematic theology in itself. Here is the story line of the whole Bible in a few words. This is the history of the world in a nutshell. Nothing lies outside the parameters of this triad of phrases. “All things” includes everything in three major areas: creation, history, and salvation.
First, the Apostle writes that all things are “from him.” This points back to eternity past, when God designed His master plan for whatever would come to pass. God is the Author of His eternal purpose (“from him”), which includes everything that will occur. Before the foundation of the world, God designed the blueprint for all creation, including the detailed specifications of the earth (Job 38–39). Further, He drafted His eternal decree that included everything that would take place within time (Isa. 46:8–9). Long ago, God chose His elect (Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13). He then entrusted them to His Son to secure their salvation (John 6:37). All this pre-planning of creation, history, and salvation is “from him.”
Read More

Scroll to top