In Hebrews 5:9 (NCV) it says about Jesus: “And because his obedience was perfect, he was able to give eternal salvation to all who obey him.” Jesus came to give eternal salvation to all who obey Him. In other words, there is no salvation, no eternal life, without obedience! Death came into the world through disobedience. Now eternal life can only become ours through obedience to the faith! Because Christ was obedient, He made it possible for us to get eternal life.
If we have faith in God and His word, it leads us to obey and do everything He tells us to do. God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32). Only this Spirit can show us what we should do, and give us the power to do it.
We cannot make any progress in our spiritual life if we think that Christ was obedient instead of us. If we want to make any progress, we have to be obedient ourselves as is written so clearly in Hebrews 5:9.
Believe and obey
What was the work that God gave Paul to do? He had to lead the people of all nations to believe and to be obedient to that faith, as is written in Romans 1:5 (NCV): “Through Christ, God gave me the special work of an apostle, which was to lead people of all nations to believe and obey.” People should be taught to be obedient, not just to believe in Christ’s obedience and be happy about that.
It is only by being obedient ourselves that we can really make progress in our spiritual life. We have to be obedient from the day we are converted – when we call on His name, believe in Jesus, and confess our sins – because this is the first thing the gospel tells us to do. From then on it is important that we continue as we have begun: being obedient at every point.
The message of the gospel is clear and easy to understand. Who could ask for a clearer word than for example Matthew 28:20 (GNT), “… and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” – to obey every single word!
Think for example of the Sermon on the Mount! There is plenty to obey and do when you read this. To be obedient you need faith and love! You need to pray! You need the Spirit and power! Everything that we need for being obedient is given to us in and through Jesus Christ, and is available for us both day and night. God be praised!
Obedience leads to action
Who could ask for anything clearer than James’ blessed words about obedience? They are so clear! “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? … So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless … Even the demons believe … How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? ... Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.” James 2:14-26 (NLT).
I am sure nobody can have any doubt about what this means. Without being obedient, it is useless, absolutely useless! You can think what you want, say what you want and believe what you want — but obedience is the thing that is important! No salvation without it, no further progress without a deeper obedience.
God gives grace, but for what? It is for this one reason: to help us to be obedient! If we think anything else, then we are only deceiving ourselves and will be truly sorry one day. It does not matter what you say or do, or what stage you are at. Know this: the only thing that is important is to believe and obey.
Everything that we need for being obedient can be found and received in Christ Jesus, so we are without excuse. Let us therefore do the best we can to be obedient in everything! (2 Corinthians 10:5-6; 2 Corinthians 2:9.)