We're always keen to point out that being a Christian isn't about a set of rules, regulations, do's and dont's, etcetera. It's a relationship with God though faith in Christ. Yes, yes. It's about the Holy Spirit changing us and enabling us to serve God – not about religious observance or legalism. Indeed.
However, the expectation that a Christian will obey God is plain in scripture. Logically, I can't obey someone if they haven't instructed me to do something. (Or to not do something, as the case may be.) Parents instruct their kids all the time, and not for fun; they expect the child to obey. It doesn't mean the child's standing in the family, or the parent's love for the child, are conditional on obedience. It just means the parent knows best and wants to show the child what's expected of them and how to live and look after themselves and how to live with other people, and all the rest. In other words, commandments and obedience are a part of love, even on a human level. So too with our relationship with God.
Our church has had teaching on holiness for many months. It's foundational, fundamental and very much includes doing what you're told. No, I can't get saved by obedience. No, God doesn't love me according to how obedient I am. Yes, I'm talking about a Spirit-filled, born-again believer saved by faith in Jesus Christ. But doing what God tells us is nevertheless a key facet of living life as God intends. Freedom in Christ means freedom not to do wrong and freedom to do what He wants.
Here's just one verse about obedience:
“If you love me, obey my commandments.” John 14:15
This came up in Day 1 of my Bible app's reading plan on the theme of – you guessed it – obedience. I stopped and asked myself the natural question: Just what are Jesus' commandments? I could think of one or two, but my Bible app obliged with a list of fifty:
I clicked through to the first one. It talks about letting my light shine before people so that they'll see the good stuff I do and praise my Father in heaven. Well that one's got me thinking and praying because I'm pretty sure most of the time people see me they may think I'm a decent chap but I'm not so sure it leads to them praising God. Any thoughts?
After I've got that one sussed there's just another 49 to go. Then I'll be perfect 🙂