by Wayne Jackson
“And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation
unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:12)
The English word “obey” translates both Hebrew and Greek words that express parallel ideas – that of listening, being attentive to someone who possesses authority. Thus, the words suggest an active response to instruction, not merely awareness of sound. Note: “Then [Moses] took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient’” (Ex. 24:7 RSV).
In the NT, the Greek word for “obey” is hupakouo, literally, to “hear under.” This pictures the student, under the teacher’s authority, listening with a view to obedience. Obedience proceeds from: (a) being exposed to the message; (b) having confidence in the integrity of the message; (c) believing the instruction; and, (d) accepting responsibility for yielding to its demands. Obedience must be: (a) from the heart (Rom. 6:17), i.e., sincerely offered – not out of false motives; (b) completely rendered – partial obedience is no obedience (I Sam. 15:1-23).
Obedience is doing what the Lord prescribed, in the manner authorized, and for the purpose specified. Christ is the Author of salvation to the obedient, not the disobedient(Heb. 5:8-9; see Jn. 3:36 ASV).