Be submissive to God.
There are notices and signs that we are to adhere to on the roads, outside businesses and at the places we frequent. Those who put up these signs or warnings have the authority to tell others what is required of them. Failure to comply can have consequences. We have to follow rules even though they may not seem sensible. As part of a society or community, we submit to the local authority, and hope that others do their part. God is the Highest Authority, and as Christians, we have to submit to His Commandments and Will. We must strive to live in obedience even as His Son, The Lord Jesus, did.
8 Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), 9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your Will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that Will we have been sanctified through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all (Hebrews 10).
God had no pleasure in sacrificial offerings for sin, that did not make those offering them submissive. The Israelites sacrificed animals as a substitute for the punishment for their own sins. They also worshipped the idols gods of the nations around them. God was not appeased by extravagant offerings that did little to transform their heart, will and desires to His. The Lord Jesus came to do God’s Will. He came to do what we were always required to do—obey. This is what pleases God—submission to His Will. By doing God’s Will, Christ took our place as the sacrifice for our sins. We have been sanctified by Christ’s offering. The Lord Jesus was obedient even till His death, for the propitiation of our sins. We must die to our own will, to do God’s Will. As children of God, we are made in the likeness of His Son. By submission and obedience our lives become an acceptable offering to God.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight—that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge (Psalm 51).
Acknowledge your sin by repenting. God is able to forgive even the worst offence, if we are willing to fess up to it. Submission is humbly accepting the punitive consequences for wrong doing. God is always right and we are often wrong to cross Him, by being rebellious. He will cleanse us of our sin, when we are willing to discard it. Sin is like a plaque to the soul that needs to be thoroughly purged. We only sin against God, even though we may have harmed others, we have not sinned against them. Sin is wickedness, and we must acknowledge it as such. God is justified to deal with sin as He deems fit. If we are to truly submit, we must be willing to be chastised and restored. We must desire to be reconciled with God, if we want His forgiveness.
7 “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a Word from My Mouth and warn them for Me. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul (Ezekiel 33).
Ezekiel was commanded to be a messenger of God, to speak exactly what God told him. The message he was to deliver may offend or be a bitter pill to swallow. Ezekiel was not to sugarcoat what He was told, nor was he to withhold it. He had to speak the precise Word of God. Ezekiel was equally culpable, with those he was sent to, if he failed to deliver the precise message of God.
God may want us to do or say something that may not sit well with those on the receiving end. It is our duty to do what He tells us, fearless of the response we receive from others. We must uphold His Word and perform it. Failure to give others God’s warning, may bring us under God’s Judgement. Any preacher of The Word of God must be careful not to mellow the message, to make it palatable to the hearers. When God gives a mandate, we must boldly act on it.
32 “Therefore you shall be careful to do as The Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 33 You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess (Deuteronomy 5).”
Be diligent to do as The Lord requires. We are called to complete submission by obedience. It will be to our benefit to keep God’s Ways, as the guiding principles of our lives. When we live in obedience, we resolve not to divert from His Instructions for us. God wants what is best for us: spiritually well grounded, our days multiplied in peace and wellness, and that we inherit what He has for us. Be careful to fully submit to God, because your whole life depends on it.
12 Blessed is the one you discipline, Lord, the one you teach from Your Law; You grant them relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked. 14 For The Lord will not reject his people; He will never forsake his inheritance. 15 Judgment will again be founded on righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it (Psalm 94).
God’s discipline is for our own good. He disciplines so that we learn to live righteously, and to protect us from His Judgement. There’s a day coming when all will stand before the Judge of the earth. He will spare those who have not rejected His discipline while they lived on earth. He will put the obstinate and rebellious in the pit of hell. The Lord will not reject those who humbly submit to His chastisement. After they were called on the carpet and disciplined, they set their hearts on righteousness. Those who belong to God are His inheritance. He will not forsake them.
Submission to God, will make us more cognizant of what He requires of us. We will be earnest to do as He commands, even though others may be bristled by it. When we submit to God’s chastisement, we learn righteousness. We acknowledge our sin and repent, so that God restores us. As we have been made one with The Lord Jesus, our lives become an acceptable offering, when we do God’s Will. God will bless those who submit to Him and will protect them throughout their lives.
12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from The Living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart as you did in the rebellion (Hebrews 3).”