A Word on the Purpose of Christian Obedience

A few months ago I blogged about the way obedience serves as an apologetic to the gospel.  You can read that post here.  Lately I have been reading Walter Brueggemann’s most recent book An Unsettling God: The Heart of the Hebrew Bible which, not surprisingly, is turning out to be a quite enjoyable book. 

At one point in the book, where he is discussing how Israel had to orient their life as a post-exilic community, obedience to God becomes part of the central discussion as Israel discovers that God is globally concerned.  Here is where Brueggemann helps us understand a missional intent to Israel’s obedience among a larger world of disobedience:

The God who commands continues to command, and Israel must obey in the present.  And the God who saves is resolved to save in the largest scale of all creation.  The obedience of Israel makes possible, on the ground, a community of holiness in a creation tempted to contaminate, and a community of justice in a creation tempted to brutality.  (Brueggemann, An Unsettling God, p. 52)

This statement got me thinking more about the role obedience to God plays in the life and mission of the church.  The obedient church is the people who bear witness to holiness and justice in an unholy and unjust world.  To put that in more gospel-like terminology, disciples – the community of Jesus followers – are the ones who live the life of Jesus bearing witness to the kingdom of God breaking forth.

As a post-exilic Israel heard the Torah again and responded in obedience, may we disciples of Jesus who live in a post-Christendom world hear Jesus again and respond in obedience!

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