Does God Still Require Obedience?

1 John 2:3-6 ESV

“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”

Many people today who profess faith in Jesus Christ, including many pastors, are teaching that God does not require obedience anymore of his people. So, if we are teaching that we must repent of our sin and obey the Lord and his commands, then they consider that to be teaching “works-based salvation.” But how do they get around all the Scriptures in the New Testament that teach that we must obey the Lord and his commandments?

Jesus and his NT apostles all taught that we must obey the Lord and his word. For, Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin) and follow (obey) him. And he said that if anyone keeps (obeys) his word that he will never see death. And he said that if we love him, that we will keep (obey) his commandments, and we will abide in his love (Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10).

As well, Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does (is doing, obeys) the will of the Father who is in heaven. For on the day of judgment many will say to the Lord, “Lord, Lord,” and then they will list off the things they did in his name. And then Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matt 7:21-23).

John taught obedience, as well. He said that the way in which we know that we have come to know the Lord is if we keep (obey) his commandments. And, if we say that we know the Lord, but we do not keep (obey) his commands, then we are liars, and the truth is not in us. And he said that whoever keeps (obeys) the Lord’s commands abides in God, and God in him. And then he said that the way we know that we love the children of God is if we love God and we obey and we walk according to his commandments.

[1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; cf. 1 Jn 2:15-17; 1 Jn 3:4-10]

We read in Hebrews 5:9 that Jesus became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. And we read in 1 Peter 1:2 that we who are in Christ are the elect of God for obedience to Jesus Christ. And we read in James 1:22 that we are to be doers of (obeying) the word and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves. And in 1 Corinthians 10 and in Hebrews 3 & 4 we learn that God still regards faith as obedience and disobedience as unbelief.

Then, in the book of Romans we read that we are slaves of the one we obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness and sanctification, which then results in eternal life with God. And we read that God will render to each one of us according to our works, and for those who are self-seeking and who do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury (Rom 6:16; Rom 2:6-8).

And we read that Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to his righteousness, and that we might no longer live for ourselves but for Jesus who gave his life up for us, and that his blood was shed for us to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we would now honor God with our bodies. And we read that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15,21; 1 Co 6:19-20; Rom 8:4; cf. Eph 2:10; Tit 2:11-14; Php 2:12-13).

Then we read in Galatians 5:16-24 that we are to walk by the Spirit so that we do not gratify the desires of the flesh. And then it lists a whole bunch of works of the flesh, such as sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, strife, fits of anger, drunkenness, orgies and things like these. And then it states clearly that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. And then it describes for us the attributes of the fruit of the Spirit that should be in our lives if we are truly of the Spirit of God.

All of this is about obedience and disobedience. If we obey the Lord, in practice, then we have eternal life with God. But if we disobey him in practice, then we will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. The Scriptures do not teach “Once saved always saved,” and that we can continue living in deliberate and habitual sin and still go to heaven when we die. The Scriptures teach progressive salvation which will not be complete until Jesus returns, but which is conditional based on our walks of obedience to our Lord and providing that we continue in that faith steadfast until the very end.

[Rom 8:24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Jn 8:31-32; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 11:17-24; 1 Co 15:2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 1 Jn 2:24-25]

So, we need to take this to heart. Many of you are counting on heaven as your eternal destiny who may hear the Lord say, “I never knew you.” Don’t be one of those. Walk in obedience to the Lord and you’ll have life eternal.

Do Not Fear

An Original Work / June 2, 2013
Based off John 14

Do not let your hearts fear.
Trust in God. Trust in Christ.
“In My house you will find
Many rooms I have
Prepared for you,
And I will come back
And take you to heav’n.”

“I will take you to be with Me;
You’ll be where I am.”

“I am the way and
The truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father,
Except he comes through Me,
So put your faith in Me,
And do all of what I command.”

“Whoever has My commands
And obeys them loves Me.”

“I did not leave you as orphans.
I sent you the Counselor;
The Holy Spirit to live in you.
He teaches you all things,
And He reminds you of Me.”

“My peace I give to you,
So do not fear, trust in Me.”

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