In God’s plan of salvation, as discussed earlier in this study, salvation is more than just the forgiveness of sin. It involves salvation from the lordship of Satan and self into the lordship of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:23; John 20:28). Obedience to Christ is what God requires from all who make Jesus Christ their lord. The only sign of love and devotion to God that is acceptable to Him is obedience, as the following biblical passages show:

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord…” 1Samuel 15:22; John14:15; John 13:17; Luke 11:28; Matthew 17:5; Exodus 19:5; 1Peter 1; 1 Joln2:4, 5).

Total Obedience

These verses and many similar others show that there can be no substitute for obedience in the life of a disciple. The key to Christian life is obedience to Jesus Christ. One ceases to be a growing disciple of Christ the moment such one ceases to obey him. However, such obedience is not possible without a personal relationship with Him.

Obedience to Christ should spring from an ongoing relationship with Him. We obey Him because of the high value we place on our relationship with Him and what He has done for us in His redemptive death and resurrection. We are therefore not called to obey God in a cold, mechanical and slavish manner, but rather to obey Him out of love and appreciation. This is why the Bible puts love for God before obedience to Him:“This is love for God: to obey His commandments” (1 John 5: 3). Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him before giving Peter a command(John 21:16ff).

The way of the Christian disciple is, doubtlessly, the way of unreserved obedience to Christ. There cannot be such obedience without the right relationship to Christ. Every genuine Christian disciple must therefore test himself/herself by how he/she obeys Jesus Christ. This obedience must be a continuous process, one in all circumstances of life.

The Great Division

There are only two groups of people; disciples and non-disciples. God calls upon people to choose whether or not to obey Him. When they choose to obey by being His disciples. He makes a demand on them for continuous obedience. He does not make this same demand on those who refuse to serve Him. Obedience is therefore the disciple’s mark, a mark of a school of obedience where one enrols but does not of the cost of being a disciple which one must consider before committing to Jesus Christ.

Total Commitment

Jesus is the Lord over every aspect of the life of His followers. Since a disciple of Jesus Christ is a follower of Christ, purchased by Christ’s blood, the disciple is completely at the service of Jesus Christ. The disciple is thus committed to Christ in the following ways:

Intellectual Commitment: For the disciple, truth is what the Lord says it is. The disciple is not free to have his own opinion on any subject contrary to what the Lord says. The disciple cannot disagree with his Lord. In this respect, Jesus’ teaching concerning doctrines such as God, man, reconciliation, sanctification, sin, salvation, death, judgment, etc. is what the disciple must believe. We live in a world of wild. intellectual speculations. We have many who are intellectual giants but are spiritual pygmies. If a disciple does not follow the teachings of the Master, the disciple may drown in a pool of human opinions in the wild chase for truth. The disciple must be intellectually faithful to the Lord.

Moral Commitment: In a world of moral relativism where people reject any moral absolutes, there is an urgent need for a return to true discipleship. A disciple must accept what his Lord says is right as right and what his Lord says is wrong as wrong. our situations or cultural value orientations. Jesus himself loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my father, and l too will love him and show myself to him  (John 14:12). One who obeys Jesus Christ will not grope in the dark for moral guidance.

Vocational Commitment: Every disciple ought to serve the Lord Jesus Christ in all aspects of life through the work he is engaged in. For the disciple, every vocation becomes an opportunity for service to God. It is only when we do this that we can, in every vocation, be “working for the Lord, not for men,” since“it is the Lord Jesus Christ (we) are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24). Only then can we say:

In industry, God be in my hands and my making. In arts, God be in my senses and my creating. In the home, God be in my heart and my loving. In commerce, God be at my desk and in my trading. In healing, God be in my skill and my touching. In government, God be in my plans and my decisions. In education, God be in my mind and my growth. In recreation, God be in my limbs and my leisure. (Anonymous).

Social Commitment: Since Jesus Christ is Lord over all the universe (whether recognised or unrecognised), the disciple must be involved in the transformation of his world towards the goal of tranquillity and similar social concerns must be the concern. Such a way that others will be drawn into a right relationship with Jesus Christ.

Commitment to Global Mission: We must always realise that our gospel ministry is not just a local ministry. God’s desire is for the whole world to acknowledge the lordship of Jesus Christ. Paul, the apostle, expresses this divine desire thus:

Therefore, God exalted Him(Jesus Christ) to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that in the name of Jesus, every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians2: 9-11).

Since God’s plan is universal in scope as expressed in His all-inclusive desire, the disciple ought to be actively involved in realising this goal. This desire of our Lord Jesus Christ must be ours as well. Involvement in missions is an integral aspect of discipleship. The disciples must be mission-minded in their Christian pilgrimage.

The Disciples as a Listener

The disciple is constantly learning from his Master. An important aspect of learning is listening to the teacher. Our God is constantly speaking to us, He is not silent. God speaks to us today in two ways: through the Scriptures and the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

The Scripture is the principal way in which God has spoken to the Church in every generation. The Bible is God’s Word inspired by the Holy Spirit through human authors. The Bible is therefore God’s Word for every generation. To listen to the Bible is to listen to God. Our failure to read the Bible is tantamount to closing our ears as the Lord speaks. The disciple who does not listen to the Lord will certainly listen to other voices such as Satan and, therefore, get out of step with his Master.

God speaks to us also through the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus Christ demands obedience not only to the written word but also to the inner voice of the Holy Spirit. There is a lot of confusion today as to how this mode of divine communication takes place. However, regardless of the mode of communication, God’s demand from us is obedience to his Word, because obedience is better than sacrifice as earlier stated.