Obedience Intelligently Performed

By Earl E. Robertson

Our Lord Jesus Christ ever stressed the fact that for a sinner to come to him in obedience he must first be taught the gospel. There just is not any way to Christ without learning of him. It would appear under some circumstances a stress has been made to “baptize” before proper indoctrination. An effort for harvest before sufficient toil does not produce the desired end; neither does “baptism” before one is taught the truth. Churches have suffered much due to this error. Yes, we are anxious for sinners to obey the Lord, but it is so necessary that they “know the truth” (John 8:32) to be made free and run smoothly as a Saint in the Kingdom of God. The untaught “baptized” cannot but create problems.

To come to Christ, he says: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me. . . ” (Matt. 11: 29). Again, he says: “No man can come to me, except the father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me” (John 6:44,45). All of this reveals why the Master would say, “Go preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15). Inasmuch as men cannot believe in him of whom they have not heard, it is necessary that they be taught Christ . . . understand his will … that they might be saved in him. Cf. Rom. 10: 14,17: Acts 16:31-34.

The parable of the Sower (Luke 8) emphasizes the function and purpose of seed; the call of Paul to the apostleship of Christ reveals also his work and its design (Acts 26:16-18). Peter speaks also, saying, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). The passage says they were “called” out of darkness. This call was the instruction they received through apostolic teaching. Colossians 1:13 also say the same thing. So, the call necessitates teaching. “The eyes of your understanding (heart) being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:18).

All of this means that each preacher and each Bible teacher must be patient and willing to keep on teaching and teaching. In doing this we are doing what the Lord wants. After this let us be satisfied for his increase (1 Cor. 3:5-7). Then the labors of our hearts and hands will be able with Paul to give intelligent response to the questions concerning their hope: “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Tim. 1: 12).

January 18, 1973