Does Jesus Christ the Lord and King require us to obey?
The one who hears Christ’s words and does them is like a wise man who builds his house upon a rock. Obedience is necessary if we would have a house that would stand. The grace of the New Covenant is not license to do as we please, but heart and power to do God’s will. This is the New Covenant – “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jeremiah 31:33). The New Covenant is a covenant of obedience, obedience by grace. Not saved by good works, but saved unto good works, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
Learning obedience is a process. Even Jesus “learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). For this reason, “do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:5-6). Discipline and obedience go hand in hand. We fall short of perfect obedience, God trains and disciplines us to walk more faithfully before him, loving Him better, and our neighbor as ourselves better. Not only does God discipline His children directly, but he has also appointed church discipline.
We see a clear example of Church discipline in Paul’s instruction to the Corinthian Church, “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:5). This is in accord with Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 18, “let him be to you as a heathen and a tax collector” (Mat. 18:17).
When God delivered Israel out of Egypt, he told them, “Obey me, I am the Lord who delivered you.” They were to obey because it was God who delivered them from their captors to become his special people. To live any other way was to deny that God had delivered them. To live any other way was to deny that they could long enjoy freedom apart from the blessing of God’s providence. If we are in Christ, God has also delivered us. He has called us out of darkness of pagan living into a holy lifestyle. God has a life and practice standard for his people. God requires his leaders within the Church to exercise biblically directed discipline if church members do not live according to the pattern and standard of biblical righteousness. For the most part church discipline is neither believed in nor practiced by God’s people today. If we would be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, we must return to the Bible’s teaching on church discipline. Much blessing, stability, and grace come when church leaders exercise proper discipline in a proper manner, and compromise, confusion, and weakness come when the church neglects proper discipline.
Read on by reviewing the ICCP document on Church Discipline. See also my article on the ICCP topic Church Discipline.