The meaning of the word obedience is the act or practice of obeying; dutiful or submissive compliance: Military service demands obedience from its members, a sphere of authority or jurisdiction, especially ecclesiastical (dictionary.com).
According to Holman’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, a succinct definition of biblical obedience is “to hear God’s Word and act accordingly.” … Thus, biblical obedience to God means to hear, trust, submit and surrender to God and his Word, but how do we interpret that.
When we talk about obedience we also talk about disobedience, one is not excluded from the other. Are we required to have obedience or disobedience to a set of rules, obedience or disobedience to man-made religious standards? Is it a quest to better oneself so no punishment will be received; ….but from what, or from whom? We take dogs to obedience classes so they learn to be obedient to our commands, and therefore their subsequent behaviour becomes acceptable to us. But is that what it means to be obedient to God? When Adam (humanity) was created in the image and likeness of God and was given the mandate to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth, rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth (Gen. 1:27-28), he opened the door to sin by not subduing his earth, and instead believed the lie of satan that he was not already in the image and likeness God, and thus by disobeying the original mandate he gave his authority and dominion over to satan. Thus, believing the illusion of being un-godlike, humanity ended up with a disorientated, distorted identity, out of tune with God’s original harmony. But Romans 5:19 (Mirror) reads, “The disobedience of the one exhibits mankind as sinners; the obedience of another exhibits mankind as righteous.”
When we look at Jesus’ obedience in Hebrews 5:8,9 (as worded in the Mirror Bible), Jesus was “acquainted with sonship he was in the habit of hearing from above; what he heard distanced him from the effect of what he had suffered. By his perfect hearing he forever freed mankind to hear what he had heard.” Jesus knew who he was, he knew his identity as a mature son of God, hearing and walking in the reality of full obedience. The man Jesus Christ who is fully God, becomes fully man to the extent of willingly dying humanity’s death at the hands of his own creation. He embraced the curse and shame of the lowest kind in dying a criminal’s death (Phil. 2:8 Mirror). By this perfect sacrifice on the cross Jesus overcame the world (John 16:33). What the first Adam gave over to satan, the last Adam redeemed. He subdued our earth, restoring us in Him to the highest rank by being jointly seated with Christ. Jesus made the way, made it possible for us to hear and walk in the realisation of our true identity and be participating in the full release of our original identity. Therefore we can walk in the freedom of Christ’s obedience. Though this might mean for us to wake up in the middle of the night obeying the voice of God to write down a word of prophecy or obeying the voice to contact a person we haven’t thought of in a long time.
But our only essential obedience is to continue in the knowledge of our true identity as revealed in Jesus.