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Obedience to the Gospel PDF Print E-mail
Written by J.M. Bullard   

We do not teach, or claim, that the obedience of man is a part of or in order to a blessed state; nor do we teach that our obedience is, either directly or indirectly, the cause of regeneration. It is in no sense a prerequisite to regeneration; but, as in Eph. ii. 1, we believe and teach that God, by His Holy Spirit, quickens us from a state of death in sin to a life in Christ. He raises us up from that dead state, not because we obey Him, and get Him to raise us up because of our obedience; neither because we believed in Him while in that dead state, and He in turn quickened us because we believed. But His children, the objects of His love, were steeped in sin, and unable to render a spiritual obedience to Him; hence the cause of His quickening, or raising up His children, into eternal life was not found in the children, but in Him, in His Son and the Holy Spirit, who, in perfect unison and unfailing harmony, had purposed that these objects of His love should be raised into a higher order of life, and be permitted, according to His eternal purpose, to live eternally in heaven.

But we do teach that the children of God, who are thus raised up, and brought under parental laws to their Master, can and should be active and ready in every command of the gospel. They should ever feel the keen sense of duty to engage in His service, as He has commanded. They should be ready to every good work

yet fully realizing that these good works of obedience are their reasonable duty, and not in order to a home in heaven.

Usually, any act of obedience, or service, which is done for the purpose of receiving gain in return for it is not worth very much. If you administer help to someone, and hope that you shall receive something in return, the Bible condemns you for it. So when the children of God render every act of obedience they are capable of rendering, they have no right to claim that God saved them for doing those things. When we have done all that is required of us, we then should confess that we are "unprofitable servants; we have done only that which is our duty to do." I fear that at least most of us fail to do that which is our full duty as children of God.

I think I have seen a sad neglect in the children of God in recent years. Many in the churches that I have visited, in some thirteen states, have been frank to admit that a large number of the membership was far from being obedient to the laws and commands of the gospel. This neglect is traceable, partly, to slackness in discipline, and, perhaps, to some extent to the ministry. I have observed this by careful notice of the preaching of the majority of our preachers. That is, they, or rather we, preach almost exclusively on the fundamental principles of the doctrine, to the neglect of laying out and explaining the laws and orders of the gospel. I remember, one time, asking the clerk of a church which I was serving as pastor to bring the church book and read the church covenant the next day. He did so, and there were members who had been in the church for thirty years who told me that they never knew there was a church covenant. Many members turned a new leaf and had a great zeal to live up to their agreement. It worked wonders.

I just wonder, now, how many of you who read this have ever heard your church covenant read? Many of the Lord's people would be more active and prompt in their church duties if they had more encouragement and backing from the ministry and deacons and older members and leaders in the church.

Have you ever noticed how, so many times, some very poor, commonly dressed member is passed up unnoticed? Well, are you guilty of doing that very thing yourself? Can you do that and feel that you are obeying your blessed Saviour? Are we not a respecter of persons when we do that? Nay, but often that very one so neglected may have the very dwelling presence of Christ in his heart. To serve the Lord in the right way is to serve one another in the right way.

One command of the gospel is for those who occupy a place in the gospel church to separate themselves from the world and from anything that stands as an enemy of Christ and His kingdom. No man can serve the Lord in humble obedience in the church, and at the same time be engaged in worldly, sensual, and devilish practices. It just will not work that way, although some try hard to do it. Some even claim to be rendering obedience to their Master and serving Him when they are partaking of the very things which are expressly denied and forbidden in the Bible. Such ones claim that it is all right to worship with any creed, just so it is a religious order. This cannot be right, for it would open the way for any and all false and idolatrous worship. It would have no regard whatever for these things and pray that none of these things come upon you. Be instant; be faithful; be zealous; he kindly affectioned one to another; be patient; be sober; be content; be holy in all your conversation; be ready to every good work; be slow to speak, but ready to hear. These are some of the laws and demands of the gospel. They are some things you can do. "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Lord, help us to be submissive and obedient to thy holy will.


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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.