Obedience and Faith
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Father Ahnsahnghong’s coming to this earth. The number 100 symbolizes perfection. There is just one number difference between 99 percent and 100 percent, but it makes a great difference between the two—the former is imperfect, and the latter is perfect. In order to have 100 percent perfect faith, we must learn obedience. Here, obedience refers to compliance with God’s word. Most people today regard it as a virtue to be self-assertive and insistent rather than be complaisant and obedient. However, we must always obey God’s words, even though we may not obey somebody else’s words. Without faith it is impossible to obey God. When we have obedience and faith, we can enter the eternal kingdom of heaven as the children of God.
The work of salvation is accomplished through obedience
While walking the path of faith, we should pray hard, study God’s words hard, and preach hard. This always requires obedience. When will God accomplish the work of salvation? It is when our obedience is complete.
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. 2 Co 10:4–6
God is ready to punish every act of disobedience, when our obedience is complete. It is the day when the wicked will be judged and the righteous will be saved and enter the eternal kingdom of heaven. Without obedience no one can attain life and enter heaven, just as the Bible says.
Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come . . . For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. Ro 5:14–19
Adam’s sin was the result of his disobedience. He disobeyed God’s command, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” and he committed the sin of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Through the disobedience of one man, Adam, many people are made sinners and come to die, and through the obedience of one Man, Jesus, many people are made righteous and come to life. We must become one with Christ and receive the Spirit of Christ. Let’s find out what kind of the spirit of faith Jesus showed as an example for us.
Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. Heb 5:8–10
In our life of faith, we must learn many things from Christ. Above all else, we must learn to obey God’s words. Removing the spirit of disobedience, we need to learn the way of obedience Christ walked, so that we can become complete.
The gospel work is accomplished when we properly understand what pleases God and do it, throwing away our own thoughts and knowledge. The Bible says that God will judge the wicked, when our obedience is complete. God waits for us to become complete.
We can enter the heavenly Canaan through obedience
If you want to go to heaven, you first need to examine yourselves to see whether you are living a life of obedience to God’s will. It was the sin of disobedience that Adam and Eve committed in the Garden of Eden. If we remove disobedience, we can go back to the place where we were. Whoever disobeys God cannot go to heaven.
We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. Heb 3:14–19
God gave the Israelites the land of Canaan as a place of rest, and He has promised to give us the kingdom of heaven—the spiritual Canaan—as an eternal rest. Just as the people who disobeyed were not able to enter Canaan, those who disobey God’s words cannot enter heaven. How can they go to heaven if they observe Sunday instead of the Sabbath which God has told us to keep holy and celebrate Christmas—the birthday of the sun god—instead of the Passover that God has taught us to celebrate? The Bible repeatedly reminds us that if we really want to go to heaven, we must obey God’s will.
It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience . . . There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. Heb 4:6–11
In the desolate desert, the Israelites didn’t have enough food and water. As the situation in the desert was so inhospitable, they kept pouring out their complaints before God. Their grumbling against God implies that they did not fully believe God’s words and disobeyed Him. They all wanted to enter the land of Canaan, but most of them were destroyed in the desert as a result of their disobedience, and only those who had faith and obeyed God till the end, like Joshua and Caleb, were able to enter Canaan.
The distance between Egypt and Canaan was about 300 kilometers (185 miles). It was only a 10-day journey from Egypt to Canaan, but they spent forty years in the desert. As they went further, they grew more and more impatient; they disobeyed God by doing one thing and then another. All those disobedient people fell in the wilderness, and their journey to Canaan took longer. What they learned during their journey was obedience.
If we obey God’s will with a determination to fully follow every command of God, we will get that much closer to the kingdom of heaven. However, if we stray away from God’s will, thinking this way, ‘God will forgive me for doing this,’ we will be drawn further and further away from the kingdom of heaven.
King Saul was rejected by God as a result of his disobedience
Actually, there are some who live a life of disobedience and try to justify their disobedience in the journey of faith. Let’s see what made Saul, the first king of Israel, fall from God’s grace and lose his throne.
Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord. This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ ” . . . Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt. He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed. 1 Sa 15:1–9
God remembered that the Amalekites had afflicted Israel, and commanded Saul to completely destroy them and everything that belonged to them. However, Saul spared the best of the livestock and totally destroyed everything that was despised and weak, according to his own will. Still, he said he had carried out God’s instructions.
Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel: “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” . . . When Samuel reached him, Saul said, “The LORD bless you! I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.” But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?” Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the LORD your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.” . . . “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.” But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.” 1 Sa 15:10–23
When people disobey God, they make excuses for their disobedience. Saul also made excuses for his disobedience; he claimed to have carried out God’s command, though partially, and insisted that he had just followed the people’s opinion. He exalted his own thoughts above God’s words.
So, God rejected Saul as king. God did not want him to be the leader of the people anymore. It’s because people’s disobedience to God’s words would bring misfortune on this earth, just as when they disobeyed God’s will, they committed sin in heaven and were cast down to the earth.
After the Spirit of God departed from Saul, he encountered many difficulties. An evil spirit tormented him, and he was no longer able to administrate state affairs and ended up dying a miserable death on the field of battle.
God wants us to return to heaven through obedience
God does not demand obedience from us because He wants to dominate us as a dictator. Viewed from space, our planet Earth appears as a tiny dot. Does God want to be exalted by people who are so insignificant, when He tells them to obey Him? Never! We committed sin in heaven by disobeying God’s words and listening to Satan’s cunning words, and as a result we have been cast down to this earth. God wants to lead His beloved children to heaven. Only when we follow God’s will can we go back to the eternal kingdom of heaven and ensure a bright future where we will enjoy eternal life and happiness. That is why God tells us to obey Him.
So, God taught and trained the Israelites to obey His words during their 40-year journey through the desert. Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us (Ro 15:4). Let us examine ourselves again to see if we are disobeying any of God’s commands, and joyfully follow the path God leads us down. The book of Revelation shows that those who follow the Lamb wherever He goes are the ones have been redeemed from the earth (Rev 14:3–5).
Father’s handwritten note says, “Elisha followed Elijah; Joshua followed Moses; Peter followed Jesus; and I follow Mother. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” So we, people of Zion, must follow Mother, too. If we joyfully put into practice the words of Father and Mother in any and every circumstance, we will be blessed when we come in and blessed when we go out. When we understand and obey God’s words with joy, it can be a God-pleasing obedience and the key to receiving all God’s blessings (Dt 28:1–14).
If we follow human standards in our life of faith, we cannot help but walk the wrong path. God must be the center of our faith. In the past, people thought that the earth stood still and the sun moved from east to west. Actually, however, the earth rotates on its axis from west to east. We must not judge things just by looking at visible phenomena, but view everything from the perspective of God who governs and manages the whole universe and follow God wherever He leads us. Then we can walk the right path—the path to heaven.
Put faith into action according to God’s words
King Saul brought forth ungracious results because of his disobedience. The Bible records the opposite case as well.
One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. Lk 5:1–6
Peter obediently let down the nets according to Jesus’ words. Then God allowed him to experience something amazing and unimaginable; he couldn’t catch anything the night before, but now he caught such a large number of fish that the boat began to sink. Peter and his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and they left everything and followed Jesus (Lk 5:11).
To give us such gracious results, God tells us to obey Him. Keeping this fact in mind, let us obey God’s command to powerfully preach the gospel in Samaria and to the ends of the earth, too. Without faith, we cannot obey God with gladness and we come to make many excuses, just as Saul did. However, if we trust in God’s words, just like Peter who let down the nets according to Jesus’ words although he was very tired, we can obey God joyfully no matter what hardships we may go through.
Over 7,000 Zions have now been established in every Gospel Region around the world. This has been possible because our brothers and sisters in Zion have obeyed God’s command with faith. This year, let us obey the words of Heavenly Father and Mother even more and preach the gospel of the kingdom to all people around the world who have not yet heard it. Keeping in mind that God gives more blessings to those who obey Him and desires obedience more than sacrifice, let us all follow God wherever He leads us and go to heaven together.