“as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance.”
as obedient children
This verse contrasts what Asia Minor Christians were at this time to what they were before they came to Christ.
The word “obedience” comes from two Greek words: “to hear” and “under.” This means to subordinate oneself to the person heard. Obedience is a response, a refrain. An obedient child of God will listen to God and obey.
“Obedience” is to obey on the basis of having paid attention to someone. Christians who follow God’s norms prove their relationship to him. All Christians surrender to lust at times. There was a time when all Asia Minor Christians did was gratify their lusts. They lived without standards and therefore all they could do is accommodate their whims of lust.
We find the supreme illustration of a proper response to the will of God in the person of Christ. In Philippians 2, Paul speaks about Christ’s attitude toward obedience,
“Let this mind [attitude] be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
Hebrews 5:8 says, “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” Through suffering Jesus learned to listen to the voice of God.
The will of God should be our command. The test of our love for Jesus Christ is to hear when he speaks,
“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you,” (John 15:14).
“These things I command you, that you love one another,” (John 15:17).
Obedience here is not legal or moral obedience. It is an obedience that results from a relationship. A child obeys his parents because of his relationship to his parents.
God wants us to be children marked by obedience. He wants us to hold that kind of distinction,
“Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name,” (Ro 1:5).
This is obedience not merely to explicit commands but to whatever may come from His will. This obedience applies even to thoughts (2 Co 10:5).
God wants our obedience to stem from a relationship, not legalism.
A requirement for living in a family is obedience. Did your parents ever say to you “If you are going to live in this house, you will live by our rules.” As parents, that is their privilege.
Our Heavenly Father brings us into His family and says, “It is your responsibility to live up to the standards of my house.” The difference between the Heavenly Father and the human father is that the Heavenly Father never loses His temper or gets indigestion. He is never bedeviled by high blood pressure.
The Father is never sloppy in training His children. He never says, “Why should I spoil my dinner with all this commotion?” Some human fathers let their children get away with murder. Not God. He cares about us. He loves us too much not to train us in godliness. He is a faithful Father.