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Feb 23, 2020

Scripture Reading: Luke 6:43-49

From the time of Cain, sinful people have the tendency to substitute religious activity for an obedience of the heart.  King Saul sacrificed animals from the spoil of war, but God had commanded that these animals be destroyed.  Samuel challenged Saul by saying, "To obey is better than sacrifice" (1 Sam 15:22).  Samuel did not mean that people should not sacrifice, but that there is a kind of sacrifice that is not true obedience.  True obedience comes from the heart … the heart of faith.

In the great conclusion of Jesus' sermon on the plain' (Luke's version of the Sermon on the Mount), He says, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I tell you?" (Lk 6:46).  He then goes on to illustrate that statement with His teaching about building a house (i.e. life) on the sand or on the stable foundation.  The house on the foundation of the rock is the one who "hears my words and does them" (Lk 6:46).

The great cry of the Reformers in the 16th century was 'sola fide'.  They were emphasizing that salvation comes by 'faith alone'. This is a crucial Biblical doctrine, but the Bible makes an important connection between faith and obedience … between believing in Christ and doing the will of God.  The heart, which cannot be seen, is revealed by actions (cf. Lk 6:45).  There is an inevitable bond between what is inside and what can be seen.  So the Scripture speaks of loving God and obeying Him in the same breath … "This is love for God: to obey His commandments" (1 Jn 5:4).