Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 9, 1950

Why I Should Conform?

Ralph L. Starling, Brownsville, Texas

As we consider man and God, and their mutual relationship, specifically man's obligation to God, man's defensive, rebellious nature often rises up to ask, "Why should I conform to the will of God?", "Why go to church?", "Why be a Christian?", "Why believe in God?", "Why restrict my life to a bunch of rules and regulations?".

Let us give this matter some thought, and seek an answer to these questions; for there are many in our day who are rebellious against the thought of submission to any kind of authority.

God, Our Creator

In the first place, God is the creator of all things, including man himself. That which is made, is obligated to the maker. Paul says, "God, that made the world and all things therein, seeing he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with man's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though he be not far from everyone of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, for we also are his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the time of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent." (Acts 17:25-30.)

Again, Paul said, "Nay, 0 man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say unto him that formed it, 'Why hast thou made me thus?' Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?" (Rom. 9:19-21.) Wherefore, we should conform to the will of God because he is our Father, our maker, our creator. "But now, 0 Lord, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand." (Isa. 64:8.)

God, The Giver Of All Blessings

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of light, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (Jas. 1:17.) This being true, how much we owe to our Father! David had learned well that all blessings come from God, and he said, "0, that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and his wonderful works to the A children of men. Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. He turneth rivers into wilderness, and the waters spring into dry ground, a fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. He turneth the wilderness into standing water, and the dry ground into water springs. And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation and sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase. He blesseth them also, so that they may multiply greatly, and suffereth not their cattle to decrease. . . . Again, they are diminished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow. He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way. Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh his families like a flock. The righteous shall see it and rejoice, and all iniquity shall stop her mouth. Whoso is wise and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord." (Psa. 107:31, 43.) The powerful force of gratitude for his blessings should make all desire to conform to his will.

A third reason that should bring conformity to God's will is the love which God has manifested toward all men. "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16.) This third chapter of John points out some very interesting facts: (1) the world was in a ruined, condemned state, about to perish everlastingly; (2) this perishing world was utterly unable and powerless to save itself; (3) God, through the impulse of his love, provided for the rescue of the world by the giving of his only Son as a sacrifice to die for the world; and (4) the sacrifice of Jesus was the only way possible through which the world could be saved. It is further clear that no man can be saved through the sacrifice of Christ except the man who believes, i. e. gives full credence to what God has spoken concerning Christ and the way in which the merits of his sacrifice are to be made effectual in the life of the sinner. Those who do thus believe, and act upon their faith, receive a double benefit, they are exempted from eternal perdition, and they are brought to eternal glory.

If man should conform to the will of God for these reasons, it is imperative that man know what that will is. For the will of God is not the same for every person in every age. His will to Adam and Eve, for example, is set forth in the early part of Genesis. His will for the Israelites is revealed through the law of Moses and the prophets. But for the will of God for this modern age, we must turn to the pages of the New Testament. There we find a clear and explicit statement of his will for all men this side of the cross of Christ.

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me." John said, "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is his Son. He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life." (1 John 5:11, 12.) This is in exact agreement with the final commission of Christ as recorded in Matthew, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."

These are the fundamental requirements of the gospel. No man "hath" the Son until he has obeyed his word, becoming a Christian, a child of God, through such obedience. If a man has obeyed some of the gospel, but not all of it, he is still outside the kingdom of Christ, and still without God and without hope. Only by full and complete conformity to his will (that will made so clear through Christ) can we ever receive the eternal blessings which he has promised.