Saturday, March 22, 2008


Wicked men obey from fear, good men, from love.-- Aristotle

In sacrifices a man offers only the strange flesh of irrational animals, whereas in obedience he offers his own will, which is our rational or spiritual worship. - The Berleburg Bible 1726-29 cited in Keil, Biblical Commentary, 156.

But when once Christ had called him, Peter had no alternative he must leave the ship and come to Him. In the end, the first step of obedience proves to be an act of faith in the word of Christ. But we should completely misunderstand the nature of grace if we were to suppose that there was no need to take the first-step, because faith was already there. Against that, we must boldly assert that the step of obedience must be taken before faith can be possible. Unless he obeys, a man cannot believe.-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1905-1945), The Cost of Discipleship

One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) In "Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World," by Edythe Draper, 1992.

Jeremiah refutes the popular, modern notion that the end of religion is an integrated personality, freed of its fears, its doubts, and its frustrations. Certainly Jeremiah was no integrated personality. It is doubtful if... he ever knew the meaning of the word "peace". We have no evidence that his internal struggle was ever ended, although the passing years no doubt brought an increasing acceptance of destiny. Jeremiah, if his "confessions" are any index, needed a course in pastoral psychiatry in the very worst way... The feeling cannot be escaped that if Jeremiah had been integrated, it would have been at the cost of ceasing to be Jeremiah! A man at peace simply could not be a Jeremiah. Spiritual health is good; mental assurance is good; but the summons of faith is neither to an integrated personality nor to the laying-by of all questions, but to the dedication of personality -- with all its fears and questions -- to its duty and destiny under God.
John Bright, The Kingdom of God [1955]

He who lives up to a little light shall have more light; he who lives up to a little knowledge shall have more knowledge; he who lives up to a little faith shall have more faith, and he who lives up to a little love shall have more love. Verily the main reason why men are such babes and shrubs in grace is because they do not live up their attainments. - THOMAS BROOKS

Let us therefore learn (as I have said before) so to behave ourselves in obedience to God that men also on their parts be friendly towards us. For there is no one so great or mighty that he can avoid the misery that will rise up against him when he resists and strives against God.
John Calvin, Sermon 161, Thursday, March 26, 1556

In that obedience which we have shown to be due the authority of rulers, we are always to make this exception, indeed, to observe it as primary, that such obedience is never to lead us away from obedience to him, to whose decrees all their commands ought to yield, to whose majesty their scepters ought to be submitted. And how absurd would it be that in satisfying men you should incur the displeasure of him for whose sake you obey men themselves! The Lord, therefore, is the King of Kings, who, when he has opened his sacred mouth, must alone be heard, before all and above all men; next to him we are subject to those men who are in authority over us, but only in him. If they command anything against him, let it go unesteemed.
John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion [1559]

Christ came not to possess our brains with some cold opinions, that send down a freezing and benumbing influence into our hearts. Christ was a master of the life, not of the school; and he is the best Christian whose heart beats with the purest pulse towards heaven, not he whose head spins the finest cobweb.
Ralph Cudworth

Rest in this-it is His business to lead, command, impel, send, call, or whatever you want to call it. It is your business to obey, follow, move, respond, or what have you... The sound of 'gentle stillness' after all the thunder and wind have passed will be the ultimate Word from God.- Jim Elliot

When someone demands blind obedience, you'd be a fool not to peek. Jim Fiebig

Obedience is the only virtue that plants the other virtues in the heart and preserves them after they have been planted. -- Gregory the Great (540-604)

Those who would complain about the Word of God being forced down their throats are those with no intention of heeding it.- Dean C. Haskins

But the Christian sees things as they really are, and his will is brought into unison with God's will, so that he loves to do what he ought to do. He finds that in obedience to God, and there only, all the powers of his nature find full, free play, and all his capacities of happiness full gratification.
Robert Johnstone, Lectures on the Epistle of James

The gospel shows us that our spiritual problem lies not only in failing to obey God, but also in relying on our obedience to make us fully acceptable to God, ourselves and others. Every kind of character flaw comes from this natural impulse to be our own saviour through our own performance and achievement. On the one hand, proud and disdainful personalities come from basing your identity on your performance and thinking you are succeeding. But on the other hand, discouraged and self loathing personalities also come from basing your identity on your performance and thinking you are failing. - Tim Keller, 2002.

I was not born to be free. I was born to adore and to obey. C. S. Lewis

I find that doing the will of God leaves me with no time for disputing about His plans. George Macdonald (1824-1905)

To do the will of God from the heart in times of prosperity is the only way to bear this will from the heart in times of suffering. Andrew Murray

Make me what Thou wouldst have me. I bargain for nothing. I make no terms. I seek for no previous information whither Thou art taking me. I will be what Thou wilt make me, and all that Thou wilt make me. I say not, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest, for I am weak, but I give myself to Thee, to lead me anywhither. ... John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

If two angels were to receive at the same moment a commission from God, one to go down and rule earth's grandest empire, the other to go and sweep the streets of its meanest village, it would be a matter of entire indifference to each which service fell to his lot, the post of ruler or the post of scavenger; for the joy of the angels lies only in obedience to God's will, and with equal joy they would lift a Lazarus in his rags to Abraham's bosom, or be a chariot of fire to carry an Elijah home. John Newton

Then are we servants of God, then are we the disciples of Christ, when we do what is commanded us and because it is commanded us. John Owen (1616-1683)

Nothing shall be lost that is done for God or in obedience to Him.... John Owen (1616-1683)

Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and bring Him nearer to our own image.
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

If you will have the teachings of Christ, walk according to the knowledge you have already. Use your little knowledge well, and Christ will teach you more. 'If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself.' John 7:17 -THOMAS WATSON

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