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Faith and obedience: two sides of the same coin

Abraham and Isaac
Abraham and Isaac

They were once sinless. Knowledge of evil, they had not. Clearly, faith and blood-soaked grace were not necessary instruments to draw them to God, for faith in Him was part of their constitution from the very beginning. They saw God with physical eyes. You would think perfect compliance to a single command would be a piece of cake – a done deal cast in stone. Obey Me (eat the forbidden fruit not), you live. Disobey Me (eat the forbidden fruit), you die.

Enter the serpent. This wily creature gave an offer Eve couldn't refuse—so she ate. Adam's choice to go with Eve and to reject God's will set into motion God's plan for our redemption.

Adam and Eve may have been the only human beings to experience the visible presence of God from Day One. Before sin tainted them and caused them to be cast out of Paradise, they enjoyed the greatest freedom afforded no one else on earth since. They had the privilege of immediate and direct access to the Presence without the veil. They saw God through Jesus Christ in His pre-incarnate form. Jesus Christ even engaged them in an open and direct dialogue. The three walked together. In such times, who needed to ask the whats and whys of a visible God who spoke and walked with them? They had faith injected in genetic abundance all over their bodies and soul. Yet they failed in the obedience department – the one area that mattered most in Adam's covenant with God. One command, one sin, one judgment, one prophecy, one expulsion, one Savior, one re-birth—a spiritual chain reaction.

Understand, they received but one command. Tragically, they disobeyed, dragging mankind along the path of destruction, and receiving an automatic eviction from Paradise, yet coupled with the promise of a coming Savior (Genesis 3:16). Man's judgment intersected with God's grace, and faith was now something man couldn't muster. A new covenant of grace was given, based on one man's obedience—that of the man Christ Jesus. The effects of sin were so comprehensive that the number of commands that man needed to obey went up from 1 to 10 plus 600+, then back down to two. It got very complicated—yet people reborn outside Paradise can now walk by faith and less by sight.

And so today, our greatest difficulties may no longer have to do with forbidden fruit. The fruit has exploded into many different fragments, which the apostle catches in his epistle (James 1:19-27) as anger, filthiness, overflow of wickedness, self-deception, forgetful hearing that doeth not, self-absorbed religion, unbridled tongue, uncared-for widows and orphans, infection from the genetic mold of a fallen world…the list goes on.

Take heart, dear friends, for “... he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the word, this one will be blessed in what he does (James 1:25).”

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