By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he left, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as a stranger in the land of promise, as in a foreign land- Hebrews 11:8-9a NASB
I have observed a rather troubling trend in Church world.
Let’s say Joe or Jane Christian does not understand a doctrine—or they don’t grasp all the motivations and/or reasons for an instruction given by God. Even just a few years ago Joe or Jane Christian would have said to themselves: “well God is God and I’m not. I will obey anyway”. Times have changed. These days Joe Christian will most likely ignore anything he or she does not completely understand. Sometimes Joe or Jane will even blame God for their disobedience because He didn’t do an adequate job explaining the reasons for the command or doctrine in the Bible.
This is not good Joe and Jane.
Far too many Christians have determined it is perfectly okay to completely ignore God if they “don’t get it”. I belong to a couple of online apologetics groups. The members are (for the most part) Christians who routinely study God’s word and have desire to help other people understand the Bible. All-in-all I would say the vast majority of these people take their faith a bit more seriously than the average church-goer. However, even in these groups there are Christians who have decided that if they don’t understand all the ins-and-outs of a particular doctrine (the trinity, tithing, sexual ethics, etc.) they can just throw that issue out the window and do their own thing regardless of whether or not Scripture supports their belief (Judges 21:25).
This is real.
Creationism is a prime example. Because we live in a culture where Darwinism has been more-or-less accepted as fact by the masses many Christians have niggling questions about creationism. Rather than accept what God says as fact or do some digging into the subject. Some have simply decided because God did not do an adequate job (in their opinion) of clarifying how He created the world they are going to go ahead and accept the evolutionist viewpoint.
Pretty much all the commands concerning sexuality are another area where Christians tend to question God’s judgement. We live in a world where the rallying cry of the masses is “love is love” and “you can’t judge me”. Many Christians do not understand why God would take such a hard line on homosexuality, sex before marriage and adultery. Some reason because God does not explain His “no” well enough in the Bible it is perfectly okay to throw out the biblical standards because those standards do not line up with popular culture or their feelings.
In Luke 18:8 Jesus asks a question:
When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
I cannot help but wonder if this is at least part of what Jesus was talking about. The insistence we have to understand everything about God before we obey God is without question a serious sin of our age. It is already impacting our power to evangelize. The results of obedience to God’s commands always bring blessing and (usually) a more successful outcome. When non-Christians see Christianity working it makes them curious about God. If Christians only obey the itty-bit they understand non-Christians see very little obedience and have zero curiosity about Jesus.
So, a couple of things:
First of all, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20-26) One of the “works” every single Christian is called to is to obey God in faith without completely understanding all the reasons why we are supposed to obey (1st Samuel 15:22, Deuteronomy 5:33, John 14:23-24, 2nd John 1:6) . It’s faith that pleases God—not picture-perfect understanding of every issue under the sun (Hebrews 11:6).
Second, no human, this side of heaven will ever have a complete understanding of God’s commands. We are simply not on the same level as God (Isaiah 55:8). Even being made in God’s image humans differ from God in significant ways (Genesis 1:27). Our understanding of God, His logic and His choices is probably on about the same level as a dog’s understanding of a human’s logic and choices. It would be insane for me to be okay with my dog peeing wherever he wants just because he doesn’t understand why I don’t want him to pee on my curtains. I have rules and boundaries around my dog’s pee-pee routines because I understand the chaos (and stench) it will create if I allow him to pee willy-nilly. My dog’s understanding is irrelevant and so is ours. Faith dictates we accept as fact the hard reality God knows more than we do about everything. Period.
The more a person chooses to disobey God (whatever the reason why) the less they care about obeying Him. Every. Single. Time. When we willfully disregard God on any issue we make it harder on ourselves to hear His voice or care the things He cares about (Romans 1:18-23, Hebrews 5:11-14). Rebellion always hardens our hearts and makes us obstinate, willful and spiritually dull (Ephesians 4:17-24, Hebrews 3:7-15, Hebrews 4:7). No one who knows Jesus wants that. So, it just makes sense to remember God doesn’t owe us an explanation for every little thing and just obey already.