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Obeying the Truth

“You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7)

I don’t know if you’ve thought of it this way, but the gospel is a command. It is not a suggestion, it is not God sharing with you, it is God commanding you. The gospel calls for obedience.

In the sixth chapter of Acts we see an illustration of this: “The word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). An act of confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is an act of obedience to the gospel.

This kind of language continues in the book of Romans. Those who are ungodly “do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness” (Romans 2:8). But when speaking of believers, Paul says: “thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed” (Romans 6:17).

We also read that judgment will fall on the disobedient: “When the Lord Jesus is revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:7–8). God is seeking the obedience of faith, obedience to the truth, obedience to the gospel.

In 2 Corinthians 10 it says essentially that when we come to preach the gospel to those that are held captive by Satan, the goal is to set them free from their old life and bring every thought captive to Christ. We are calling people to obedience, because obedience to the truth leads to spiritual blessing. Peter wrote that believers have “purified your souls by your obedience to the truth” (1 Peter 1:22).

—John MacArthur, adapted