Reflecting God's Image
(Excerpts from the book ‘Reflecting God’s Image’ by Dr. Ednorleatha Long)
The believer has the spiritual capacity to obey the commands of God. Walking in obedience to the commands of God is as vital to experiencing the new creature realities as natural air is to the maintaining of physical life. Obedience to God is the only way to operate in the Kingdom mandate to have dominion in the earth. When Adam failed to operate in obedience to God, he lost his right to operate in dominion in the earth. The “obedience to God” principle was demonstrated by Jesus as He went about establishing Kingdom authority in the earth. This same Jesus tells us how important it is to operate in obedience in order to have dominion in the earth. “If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continues to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7, Amplified)
Making a commitment to walk in obedience to the Father’s will is not optional. It is a quality decision that comes with great reward. In the Kingdom of God, Jesus is the centerpiece of praise. This position of honor was bestowed upon Him because of His obedience to the Father. Those of faith are to imitate this same type of obedience to the will of the Father through obedience to the Son. The Apostle Peter says that believers have been sanctified unto obedience to Jesus Christ.
Who were chosen and foreknown by God the Father and consecrated (sanctified, made holy) by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and to be sprinkled with [His] blood: May grace (spiritual blessing) and peace be given you in increasing abundance [that spiritual peace to be realized in and through Christ, freedom from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts]
First Peter 1:2.
The Kingdom of God is not a “bless my four and no more club.” This Kingdom is about accomplishing the Father’s will in the earth. This truth is evident in the prayer Jesus taught the disciples to pray.
Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,
Matthew 6:9-10 Amplified Bible).
As the believer honors God as Father, giving Him the holy reverence due His name, the heart will quickly surrender to doing His will in the earth.
I’m not sure of the origin of the teaching that believers don’t have to walk in obedience to the commands of God but just live by grace; however, it has become quite obvious that those teaching that doctrine have little understanding of the goal and ability of grace. God sends grace to give us the ability to walk in obedience to His commands. Notice that the Apostle Peter understood the correlation between the two and acknowledge that God the Father made us holy for the purpose of being obedient to Christ. Peter, understanding the goal and the power of grace, prayed for grace, as well as peace, to be given in increasing abundance. Where there is sin in the life, grace has the ability to separate those of faith in God’s ability from sin and translate them into the Kingdom of God. Grace, God’s ability and unmerited favor, is the basis of the Believer’s salvation. Mankind has no ability to deliver itself from the bondage of sin. Only by faith working through grace, the ability and unmerited favor of God, is salvation possible. See and understand that FAITH WORKS by the ability of GRACE.
[All] are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus, Whom God put forward [before the eyes of all] as a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood [the cleansing and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation, to be received] through faith, Romans 3:24-25a (Amplified Bible).
Grace is the ability that will help the believer to reflect the true image of God in the earth. Without the power of grace at work in the life of the believer, all is a work of the flesh and an unacceptable sacrifice unto God. The Word of God declares that God gives more grace to anyone who has humbled the heart to understand the need for it operating in the life.
Grace is also a trainer that teaches one to live in the presence of God, as the goal of grace is to lift one out of sin and into God’s presence.