Over the years that it has been on television, I have become a fan of the show “Blue Bloods”. If you have not watched it much it is about a family of Irish Catholic New York City cops whose family “patriarch” (Henry) is the former NYC Police commissioner. His son Frank, played by Tom Selleck, is the current police commissioner. Frank is a widower that has three sons that went into the family business; Joe (who we learn- as the show opens- was mysteriously killed in the line of duty), Danny (who is a hot shot first grade detective), and Jamie (a rookie cop – as the series begins- who got a law degree at Harvard before deciding to go into the family business). Frank has one daughter, Erin, who is an assistant NYC DA. This context allows for almost endless storylines that, when mixed with the family thing, makes for interesting viewing.
In one episode Erin is taken hostage by a scumbag defendant who wrestles a gun away from a court security officer in a courtroom. The storyline evolves but toward the end Danny is chosen to fulfill the perp’s demands and meets him and Erin in a secluded and enclosed courtyard just outside the courthouse building. The criminal has Erin around the neck with a gun to her head while Danny drives up and proves he has no weapons on him. He pleads that the scumbag would allow him to take Erin’s place. As he is “negotiating” he gets down on his knees in a begging position and says, “Please, just don’t hurt my family.” As soon as he says that, Erin automatically falls to her knees as Danny simultaneously grabs a gun concealed in the front wheel well of his vehicle and shoots the bad guy thus saving Erin.
As the episode ends at the family Sunday dinner table (a feature of every episode) Frank explains to his grandchildren how that he had taught Joe, Danny, Erin, and Jamie that if they were ever in trouble and heard him say, “Please don’t hurt my family,” they were to immediately and without question “hit the ground because dad was going to shoot the bad guy”. Thus, it was Erin’s immediate obedience and Danny’s knowledge that she would immediately comply with his words that ultimately saved her life.
Paul writes this in Roman’s 1:5-7: “Through (Jesus Christ) we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus”. There is much in those few verses. But the core of it is “the obedience of faith”. Paul says he received “grace and (his) apostleship to bring about ‘the obedience of faith’ among the gentiles”. He caps it off by saying in essence, “this includes you who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ.”
Allow me to make the connection: We spent the collective childhoods of our children trying to teach them obedience to the Lord, his church, and his Word. We initially did that by teaching obedience to us, as their parents, so that they would eventually transfer that ethic to obedience to God. Paul indicates here (as the NT does in many places) that genuine faith manifests itself in obedience. All of us are in the same “family business”. No, we are not cops, but we are those who have been “called to belong to Jesus Christ”. This is who we are, this is what we do. It is immediate and complete obedience to him that delivers us out of dangerous spiritual dilemmas into which we may get ourselves. So that when the Lord utters the Christian equivalent to “Please don’t hurt my family” we do not argue, and we do not delay but we immediately obey in order to escape spiritual danger.
Every day we face a hundred and one little opportunities to obey the Lord. God is training us in obedience. More rarely, we face big obedience decisions that if ignored, may put us in more spiritual peril than we realize. How will we obey the Lord? Genuine faith says that our trajectory and impulse is that of obedience. How obedient do you see yourself being to the Lord?
Our immediate obedience to Christ and his word will rarely (if ever) be as dramatically displayed as in that episode of “Blue Bloods”. But nonetheless, our obedience is key to our spiritual safety. Satan is “gunning” for us. Obedience is a tack that counteracts his evil intentions for us.