Terms of Salvation


What Does a Person Need to Do to be Saved?




Is A Person Saved by Obeying?


"And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey Him (Acts 5:32).


"And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him" (Hebrews 5:9).


"He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him" (John 3:36, NASB).




In Romans 1:5 we find the expression, "for obedience to [of] the faith."  The gospel message must be obeyed.  The one condition of salvation is faith in Jesus Christ and faith alone.  We are saved by "believing on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 16:31).  It is important to remember that God commands men to be saved.  "And this is His commandment, that we should believe on the Name of His Son, Jesus Christ" (1 John 3:23).  This is the first command that the sinner must obey.  He must obey the gospel by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.  "But now [God] commandeth all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30).  Again we see that sinners are commanded to repent and believe the gospel.


"And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem was very greatly multiplied, and a great crowd of the priests obeyed the faith." (Acts 6:7)  Again, this verse speaks of obedience to the faith.  "But they have not all obeyed the glad tidings. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our report?" (Rom. 10:16) This is another verse that clearly equates "obeying" with "believing" (see also "faith" in Rom. 10:17).  And the obedience that is spoken of in Romans 10:16 is clearly gospel obedience; it is obeying the glad tidings.  A person is obedient to the gospel when he believes on the Lord Jesus Christ.


Consider also 1 Peter 2:7-8—"To you therefore who believe is the preciousness; but to the disobedient [i.e., to those who refuse to believe], the stone which the builders cast away as worthless, this is become head of the corner [Ps. 118:22], and a stone of stumbling and rock of offence [referring to Jesus Christ, Jehovah-Messiah, Isa. 8:13-14, with respect to those who reject Him]; who stumble at the word, being disobedient [i.e., they stumble because of their disobedience, i.e., because of their refusal to believe], to which [stumbling] also they have been appointed [judicially appointed to stumble because of their refusal to believe]."


If sinners refuse to repent and believe on Christ, then they have disobeyed the gospel:  "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess. 1:8 and see 1 Peter 4:17).  Thus, rejecting the gospel is considered an act of disobedience, refusing to obey God's command to repent and believe on Christ.


A believer's life is characterized by obedience, by keeping Christ's commands (1 John 2:3-5; John 14:21-24; John 10:27).  This does not mean that believers obey perfectly (1 John 1:8-2:2).  And some believers are more obedient than others.  However, if a person's life is characterized by disobedience, then it is very possible this person could be unsaved (1 John 2:3-4; John 14:24).  Obedience characterizes what we are before God by grace as His children. We are begotten of God with a new nature, and are described in His Word as “obedient children” (1 Peter 1:14), as opposed to the unsaved who are described as “children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2).


Obedience to Christ's commands for daily living is not a requirement for salvation; it is a result of salvation.  We do not obey in order to be saved; we obey because we are saved.  Lordship salvation teachers tend to make obedience a requirement for salvation which distorts the true gospel of grace.  Lordship salvation requirements (such as obedience, surrender, fulfilling the demands of discipleship) all focus upon what the sinner must do. When it comes to salvation by grace, the true focus should be upon the finished work of Christ and what He has done. See our study entitled Do or Done?. Salvation is based on God’s mercy, and it is not based on “works of righteousness which we have done” (Titus 3:5). “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:5).


How wonderful it is to rest on the all-sufficient, finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ! May our only boast be in the crucified One (1 Cor. 1:29-31)! “Nothing in my hands I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling!”   No one is going to gain entrance to heaven and say, "Lord, I'm here because of how faithfully I obeyed Your commands."  No, our only plea is Jesus Christ and not our own righteousness:

“And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:9).




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