I was at first somewhat startled to read, in a quote from John Piper on Adrian Warnock’s blog, that there are “two kinds of obedience God hates”. Has Piper again said something I must object to? Has Adrian gone even further off the rails? No, not this time: Piper is in fact saying something profound and important.
Here are some of Piper’s words, as reported by Adrian from Tim Challies:
Here are the two kinds of obedience God hates.
The first kind of obedience that God abominates because of the work He did in Christ to make Himself the treasure of sinners is obedience offered to Him as grounds of our justification. If you take your obedience to the Word of God and commend it to God as the basis of why He should count you as righteous He hates that obedience because it usurps the place of His Son’s obedience. If you come up with obedience that nullifies the death of His Son He will not accept it.
The second kind of obedience God hates is obedience that conceives of itself as payback for God’s grace. The reason He cannot abide this obedience is because what Christ did in order to make God our everlasting treasure was to provide a rock solid ground and guarantee of all future grace including the grace that includes our obedience.
Indeed, we can do nothing to earn our salvation, or to pay back the price which God paid in Christ for it. This is true on any proper model of the atonement. If we try to do either of these things with our obedience and good works, we don’t end up pleasing God, because even if we are observing his rules we are not really obeying him.
True obedience to God is not just keeping rules, it is having a relationship with him, listening to his voice calling us to walk with him, and following him according to that calling for our own lives.