Certain gospel passages demand special attention and diligent consideration by the mortal mind of man. This is true of the words written by Peter in I Peter 4:17:
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begins at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
As you read, think clearly of the meaning expressed so vividly! God’s household will be examined in judgment, and a righteous judgment it will be (II Timothy 4:8). But what of they who obey not the gospel?
Paul adds to Peter’s direct statement by telling the Thessalonians in his second epistle, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Thessalonians 1:8). Both passages denote a need for full obedience to commandments of the gospel.
The wisdom man uses in pleasing God is to be found in obedience to HIS WILL. King Solomon taught this in the conclusion of his judicious writings in Ecclesiastes (see chapter twelve, verses thirteen and fourteen.)
Jesus instructed his apostles to “teach all nations”: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. . . ” (Matthew 28:19, 20). Man’s acceptance of God and Jesus Christ is placed on a basis requiring man to submit fully to the Will of his Savior and King. Even the very character of love, in the gospel, is defined as alive when man submits to the commandments of the King. (see II John 6)
To be a Christian, one must OBEY FROM THE HEART! What must he obey? “THAT FORM OF DOCTRINE” (Romans 6:17,18). Of a truth, this doctrine or teaching implies commandments given from on high, and requires that one obey to be free from sin.
What are the Gospel Commands?
Jesus, the author said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). Peter, or any other, would be blessed who confessed Jesus as God’s son (Matthew 16:17, 18 and Matthew 10:32). Jesus also commanded repentance (see Luke 13:3, 5).
Christ sent the Holy Spirit upon the apostles (Acts 2:4). They preached and taught a doctrine which required all these that Christ had taught during His life on earth—Paul wrote the Hebrews, “He that cometh to God must believe that he is” (11:6). In Athens the same apostle said, God, “now commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Then by direct teaching given, by the Spirit, to Philip, we read his words, as baptism is requested, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest” (Acts 8:37). And again, the words of Peter commanding immersion (see Acts 10:48).
All children of God are to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” Romans 12: 1. This is a clear-cut order for all in Christ to serve daily in obedience. Of course, it would include the needed public worship each Lord’s Day (Sunday) of breaking of bread, Acts 20:7, and the collection of funds (I Corinthians 16:1-2). Singing (Ephesians 5:19), prayers (Acts 12:5), and exhortation (I Corinthians 14:31) also must assuredly enter into the public worship.
In all activities, the Christian is to “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). And also he remembers: man lost the delight of eden through disobedience — he can gain heaven through obedience (ponder Revelation 22.14).