By Ernest O'Neill

Belief Always Means Obedience

Rev. Ernest O'Neill

Now loved ones, Jesus died and took your selfish perverted personality with him to death so that you could be free. You are free. You can walk in obedience. That’s why the Bible always identifies belief with obedience. “If you believe that I died for you and you died with me then obey me. If you don’t obey me, it’s because you don’t believe me or you don’t want to be free” and loved ones, that’s the Gospel. The Gospel is that God has done a work in you that has freed you from slavery to people’s opinions, from slavery to physical resources for your security and you are able to be free.

The Bible often talks about this experience as conversion. “Verto vertere” in Latin is “to turn”. Convert is to turn around and the Bible talks of it in those terms. It doesn’t talk of it in terms of belief and mental assent but talks of it in terms of “I'm walking towards all the things that people treasure in this life; I'm walking towards financial security, I'm walking towards a guaranteed future, I'm walking towards popularity and respect among my peers and I'm walking towards satisfying myself as much as I can with all the thrills and circumstances that are available.”  I'm walking that way and then word comes to me that God has changed my personality; that he destroyed me in a cosmic act in his son Jesus above time and space and he recreated me completely with a personality that doesn’t need to depend on those things, doesn’t need to depend on the bank account for security, doesn’t need to depend on my appearance and the approval of my friends for a sense of significance, doesn’t need to depend on outward circumstances for my happiness.

So the Bible comes and says, "That has happened, convert”; and I turn and I go the other way. I walk towards God and his satisfaction and his pleasure unerringly and relentlessly. That’s what conversion is. That’s why the Bible says, "If you believe it, you’ll obey it." You don’t sit in your own cell and say "I believe you freed me, so that I don’t need to escape." It’s dumb, it’s dumb.  Or you say “I believe you freed me and I’m trying to escape.” The liberator says, "You don’t believe it for a moment, because it’s been done and I know full well that you are able to turn."