“And we are His witnesses of these things—and so is the Holy Ghost, Whom God has given to them that obey Him.”

Acts 5:32

It’s impossible to have one without the other.

Love and obedience.

When Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jn. 14:15; 15:10), He wasn’t talking about the prerequisite for salvation, He was talking about the results or “fruits” of salvation.  He knew any service to God the Father that’s not rooted in deep love for “Who He is and what He has done”  (Heb. 11:6) is that which is rooted in fleshly fear or pride (or both).

Likewise, anyone who says “I love the Lord,” but still insists on doing things his/her way. . . and constantly points to a time he/she walked the aisle, got baptized, joined a church, etc., as proof of his/her salvation. . .is in a very perilous, precarious position and in danger of a rude awakening in eternity (Mt. 7:21-27).

While it’s true that we’re saved “by Grace through Faith and that not of yourselves it is a Gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 6:23), the fact remains that true salvation will result in total surrender.  This doesn’t mean “sinless perfection,” for none of us are capable of that in this life; however, it does mean a deep desire to live so as we “press for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).

What was it that transformed those once-fearful, denying-and-betraying disciples into the mighty witnesses of Christ’s salvation where they “rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name” (Acts 5:41)?  It’s simply because the “Promise of the Father—the coming of the Holy Ghost upon them” (1:4-8) had become a Reality in their lives and they were operating in the Spirit’s “unction” (Grk. “chrisma”—“smearing, anointing, endowment, etc.”—I Jn. 2:20), not their own fleshly strength or aspirations.

In Luke’s version of the Beatitudes, we read where Jesus said “Blessed are you when men shall hate you and when they shall separate you from their company and shall reproach you and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy. . .” (Lk. 6:22-23a).

Oh, dear Pilgrim, this is impossible apart from the Holy Spirit’s indwelling and empowering.  That same phrase “leap for joy” is used of John the Baptist in his mother’s womb when he heard Mary’s voice that day (Lk. 1:39-44).  And that was only possible because of his being “filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb” (Lk. 1:15).

Do you see it?  Do you see the connection between the Spirit’s abiding/anointing and obedience?

Again, you can’t have one without the other.

Woe to those Pilgrims who want all God wants to give, but (like Ananias and Sapphira—Acts 5:1-9) presume on God’s Grace and treat Him/it with callused contempt. We are not saved by obedience; but true salvation always produces true obedience in all we say and do.

By Toms Smith Morning Manna Dated July 3, 2010

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