Reading “He became obedient unto death.” Philippians 2:8
A higher obedience of Christ is this, than that we have just considered, since it is obedience to a divine law and to a heavenly parent. Those who honor and obey God will not be found wilfully and persistently dishonoring and disobeying an earthly one. The higher law, recognized and honored, will mold and regulate all subordinate relations. Oh that the fear of God in our hearts might so shape and sanctify the ties, duties, and trials of this present probationary scene, as to make them subservient to His glory! ”Surely I know that it shall be well with those who fear God.”
But consider the obedience of Jesus; it was substitutionary obedience. “Christ consented to come under the law, but since He had never broken that law, He was under no requirement to obey that law for Himself.” Made under the law as man, He was bound to obey it, but it was the obligation of a surety. He honored to the utmost every precept, but it was on behalf of those for whom in the covenant of grace He had entered into engagement. It was strictly substitutionary: ”By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” My soul! contemplate this blessed truth. Your covenant Surety Head has answered in your stead all the requirements of the law you had broken, and under whose great condemnation you did lay, thus paying all your great debt and delivering you from a terrible and eternal condemnation.
It was divine obedience. It was the obedience of God in our nature, and therefore the righteousness which springs from it is termed the “righteousness of God.” God, intent upon accomplishing His eternal purpose of saving a portion of the race, provided a divine righteousness for our justification in the obedience of His co-equal and co-eternal Son, and so we are “made the righteousness of God in Him.” Glorious truth!
The obedience of Christ is imputed to us by the Spirit. In the same manner by which He became sin for us, we become righteous in Him—by imputation. Glorious truth! It is the marrow and fatness of the gospel to those who feel the plague of sin and who have long starved their souls with the husks and chaff of their own worthless doings ”unto whom God imputes righteousness without works.”
It follows that the obedience of Jesus is ours freely, because ours by faith. Are you, O my soul, bankrupt of all merit and worthiness? Have you nothing to pay? Then listen to the divine declaration: “By grace are you saved through faith.” My soul, it is not yours by your own doings, nor your deserving, nor your sufferings. ”It is by FAITH.” ”Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief.”
Imitate Jesus. Let your walk before the Lord be obedient. Let your obedience be loving and unreserved. ”Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” If Jesus thus fully obeyed for you, all He asks in return is that, if you love Him you will evince that love by obeying His commandments.
Taken from Consider Jesus: Thoughts for Daily Duty, Service, and Suffering by Octavius Winslow, 1870 (public domain).