Obedience of Faith

Good and Faithful Ministry - Christian Blog post written by Golfran Rivera about the obedience of faith. Well done, good and faithful servant.  Matthew 25:23

Ah yes. Obedience. The word, for many, has taken on a very negative connotation. Similar to the word “submission,” “obedience” has a way of ruffling feathers in modern society. And this is true even in Christian circles.

There are many inaccurate connections we make with the concept of obedience to God. One of the silliest things that many people, and sometimes even Christians, believe regarding obedience to God is that somehow their obedience is directly connected to their salvation. Essentially, many Christians are regularly asking themselves if they are truly saved, and in turn, they’re wondering this about others because they believe that obedience is the key to salvation.

Now, before we go any further, let’s be clear about something. Obedience is an important aspect in the life of the Good and Faithful. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea that somehow this blog post is about how obedience is irrelevant or maybe even non-essential. It’s very relevant and very essential. But I want to talk about how silly it is to imagine that your salvation, your place in the household of God, your status as an adopted child of God, depends wholly on your own ability to obey the perfect commands of a perfect God while you yourself are quite imperfect.

You see, what often gets lost among Christ followers is that Jesus did not only save us from sin and death. This is something we talk about a lot at the Good and Faithful because we are convinced that there is a need for us as Christ followers, us as the Good and Faithful, to have a more robust understanding of the Gospel. That begins with understanding that Jesus did not die on the cross simply to save you from the wrath of God. Again, no doubt, Jesus did in fact save us from sin and the impending judgment that comes with it. However, in addition to this, as if it wasn’t enough, according to the Gospel that Paul preached to the Romans, we have been granted adoption as children of God.[1] John wrote in his Gospel account:

“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”[2]

Now why is this important? Because, if we forget to understand that as sinners saved by grace we are also now members of the household of God, we forget to realize that our obedience is not our ticket to heaven. To think that you are one act of disobedience away from losing your salvation is essentially to say that if you happen to disobey, and let me tell you something, you likely will disobey at some point, then your Father in heaven is going to kick you out of His house. Think about it! Salvation equals entrance into the household of God.[3] If you think your obedience equals your salvation, then your disobedience means your condemnation and your excommunication from the household of God!

Now, what would that sound like if somebody told you, “My dad is awesome! I love him! He is so good to me! He is so good to me that he blesses me even when I don’t deserve it. The only problem is, every time I mess up and he tells me to do something, and I don’t do it or he tells me not to do something and I do it, he kicks me out of the house...” You might ask, “You mean like if you do something terrible?” “No. If I do anything wrong. Because my dad is perfect, if I do anything wrong, he kicks me out of the house. And then I spend the rest of the night and the next few days trying to do something good, so he’ll let me back in the house. Then I spend my time showing him that I’ll be better at listening.” …

That’s silly right?! Please tell me you see how silly that is!

If someone said that to you, you might want to call CPS. At a minimum you wouldn’t believe the idea that this is a great dad. That this is a good good father.

The reality is many of us live as if our Father is waiting to kick us out of the house. We are uncertain if we have a place in His home, even though Jesus affirmed and said,

“In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”[4]

Because many of us have been taught the importance of obedience. we forget that this obedience is in the context of being known as children of God. And because we forget this, we now put such a heavy emphasis on obedience that we forget that the righteous do not live by obedience. The righteous live by faith.[5]

Here’s the reality. Everyone who tries to live in the presence of God by virtue of their own perfect obedience will fall short of the glory of God. God Himself has said that no one is righteous, not even one.[6] You and I know if we’re being honest with ourselves, we lack the capacity to be perfectly obedient. Paul writes to the Galatians that the desires of the flesh are at odds with the desires of the Spirit within us so that we do not do what we want to do.[7] He writes more about that in his letter to the Romans in Chapter 7 and Chapter 8. John, who writes his first epistle to exhort his audience to love God and to obey his commandments is also the one who says, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.[8]

What I’m saying is, if you think your place before God hangs on your obedience you don’t stand a chance.


Thanks be to God that Jesus did not say your obedience is the way and the truth and the life nobody comes to the Father except by your perfect obedience. That’s not what He said. He said this:

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (emphasis added)[9].

The writer of Hebrews, who tells us to come boldly before the throne room of grace to receive mercy, does not say “seeing that you have been perfectly obedient, let us come boldly before the throne room of grace.” No. He says,

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (emphasis added)[10]

The Apostle John reminds us that “we love because he first loved us.”[11] He clarifies, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”[12]

In other words, it is God who makes a way. It is God’s faithfulness; it is Jesus’ obedience to the Father that has purchased for us right standing with God. It is He who has made a way for us to be known as children of God. It is not our obedience. In fact, it is our disobedience that required a sacrifice for sins. The righteous do not live by obedience, the righteous live by faith. Faith in the one and only Son of God that the sacrifice He provided on the cross is sufficient to allow us to stand redeemed before a perfect and holy God. A God whose good pleasure it was to strike Him instead of us so that by His blood we could be made right with him.[13]

Now, I told you I wasn’t trying to make the point that we shouldn’t be obedient. Quite the contrary. The Apostle Paul began his letter by saying that he as an apostle was called to bring the nations to the obedience of the faith.[14]Jesus, as He tells His disciples to go and make disciples says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (emphasis added).[15]

The Apostle John who was the self-described “disciple whom Jesus loved” says, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.”[16]

Jesus Himself said, “If you love me, obey my commandments.”[17]

No doubt the Good and Faithful are called to obey God, to obey the word of God as it has been revealed to us in Scripture, as the Holy Spirit guides us in our day-to-day lives. But we must separate our status as children of God from our obedience. Meaning that our obedience does not equal our adoption. It is because we are adopted and been granted the Spirit of Christ who dwells within us calling out “Abba, Father[18] that we can now learn obedience. We can now be trained and raised up by God as His Good and Faithful to learn to obey Him. So, let us go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teach them to obey all the Christ commanded us. And behold, He is with us always even into the end of the age.


[1] Romans 8:15
[2] John 1:10-13 ESV
[3] Ephesians 2:19
[4] John 14:2 ESV
[5] Romans 1:17
[6] Romans 3:10-18
[7] Galatians 5:17
[8] 1 John 2:1 ESV
[9] John 14:6
[10] Hebrews 4:14-16 NKJV
[11] 1 John 4:19 ESV
[12] 1 John 4:10 ESV
[13] Isaiah 53:10
[14] Romans 1:5
[15] Matthew 28:18-20 NIV
[16] 1 John 5:2-3 ESV
[17] John 14:15 NLT
[18] Romans 8:15


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