Harold J. Brokke
I was baffled when, in my college days, a young seminarian said to me, “You know, don’t you, that you are a synergist?”
Well, to tell the truth, I didn’t know what synergism was, so I didn’t know whether to take it as a compliment or a criticism. Later I found a definition for the word-joint action of agents that, working together, increase effectiveness-und concluded that he didn’t understand it either.
But I did know why he made the remark. He thought that by my urging people to forsake sin and give themselves to God, I was putting too much emphasis on man’s will and not enough on God’s grace. Both are essential.
The Message of the Cross
As I look back on that time, the truth that was having the greatest impact on me was what we called “the message of the cross.” I was seeing that God’s power was available to us through Jesus’ redeeming act on the cross. I was learning to believe as Paul did, “The word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” I was seeing that the cross not only releases pardon into the soul of sinners but obedience into the life of believers. I could obey because His power worked in me. If this was synergism I was grateful for it.
Since then I have come to understand that Christ’s death and resurrection is the un-shakable foundation for our total confidence in Him. It provides the power to live in obedience to Jesus.
Oswald Chambers wrote,
Everything that has been touched by sin and the devil has been redeemed. We are to live in the world immovably banked in that faith. Jesus Christ is not working out redemption. His part is complete; we working it out, and beginning to realize it by obedience.
We can if we believe we can
We need to take hold of Romans 6 : 14: “Sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace.” When temptation comes and we are faced with a tough moral choice, there is no power that determines that we must sin, but there is a power that can help us keep from sinning. Sin is always a possibility, but never a necessity. We can “yield our members as instruments of righteousness unto God as those who are alive from the dead.”
Andrew Murray’s words encourage us to obey: “The beauty of Christ’s salvation consists of this, that He brings us back to the life of obedience, through which alone the creature can give the Creator the glory due to Him, or receive the glory of which his Creator desires him to partake. Paradise, Calvary, heaven, all proclaim with one voice: Child of God, the first and the thing your God asks of you is universal, unchanging obedience.
We may seek fulfillment and wholeness in a wide assortment of spiritual techniques. For instance, some Christians seek spiritual and/or psychological counselors to get free from their bondages, failures, and hassles.
Thank God for gifted men and women who offer counsel and therapy to desperate separate seekers. But even when this help is given, we need the truth described in a familiar hymn:
Trust and obey,
for there is no other way
to be happy in Jesus,
but to trust and obey.
Give yourself to righteousness
In Paul’s message of freedom from sin the basis of Christ’s provision on the Cross (Rom. 6), there is an uncomplicated truth that gets to the core of bondage or freedom: “You are the slave of the one you obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience to righteousness” (Rom. 6:16).
If I obey sin’s call I become a slave to sin; if I obey God’s call, I become a slave to righteousness. God’s grace is never too weak or too late. He works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Winkie Pratney underlines the need for obedience.
Holiness is a choice – – living for God because you will to do so. God calls you in love — you respond. He doesn’t ‘wave a wand’ and you ‘grow a halo!’ No, ‘black roots of sin’ need weeding from your heart before you are able to obey the Lord. Holiness is simply obeying the light you have from a right intention of heart. God expects you to do what He knows you can do. Obey, and He reveals more of His love and light, turning your love from the world to himself.
There is no such thing as a freedom that severs us from controls and restraints. All of us serve someone or something. A person may declare his saying, “It’s my life and I’m going to live it,” but at that very moment, he’s controlled by the “prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2).
Called to disobedience and obedience
Christians are called to disobey the lusts, the lure of infidelity, the drugs, the convenient lie, the cover up of hypocrisy . . . We are called to obey he Word of God, to live in purity, to be truthful and kind, and to walk in the Spirit. We find freedom and maturity through radical obedience to God’s will based on faith in Jesus Christ and His overcoming grace.
We often say, “Obedience precedes revelation.” Jesus taught this when He said, If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine” (John 7 : 17). Jesus calls us to “the obedience of faith.”
Keep two things in mind
- God wants you to believe the message that declares your victory.
- God wants you to obey the command, “Consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ.
As you believe God’s Word and act on it, the Holy Spirit’s revelation will come alive in your heart and you will find true freedom and victory over sin.