The Obedience of Faith
David L. Odom
What is the 'Obedience of Faith'?
ROMANS 1:5; 16:26
1:5; "through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name's sake," 16:26; "But is now manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, is made known to all the nations, leading according to obedience of faith;"
This term 'obedience of faith' is translated 'obedience to the faith' in the KJV. This would be the same meaning used in -
"The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith."
"strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God."
This is a term used for the gospel of Jesus Christ, also referred to as the New Covenant, the New Testament, the law of Christ, etc.
"but only, they kept hearing, 'He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.'"
This is the truth of God that we must contend for today:
"Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints."
So, our personal faith, or belief, comes from 'the faith', the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Romans 1:16, 17
"16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith unto faith, even as it is written, 'The righteous shall live by faith.'"
Obedience must be toward God!
ONLY TWO TYPES OF OBEDIENCE!
"Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?"
This 'obedience to righteousness' is the obedience that Jesus learned, and the obedience we must learn in doing the will of our Creator above all else!
"8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. 9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, 10 being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek."
"21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness ."
Lawlessness is acting without Divine authority! If we cannot find it authorized in the New Testament for us today, then it is NOT from God!
So we are told:
1 Peter 4:11
"If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God..."
1 Corinthians 4:6
"I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.
Revelation 22:18, 19
"18 testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.
If we 'add to', or 'take away' from God's word for us today, the New Testament, then we pervert His Gospel! There is only ONE Gospel, HIS Gospel! We must not change (pervert) it in any way! This even includes ANY supernatural person or activity! Notice carefully the Scripture below:
"6 I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from Him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; 7 which is not another gospel only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema. 9 As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man preaches unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema. 10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? or am I striving to please men? if I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ."
Who are WE trying to please? Ourselves, our parents, our friends, an angel, or, GOD?
Many today obey SOME of God' laws, but for different reasons!
For example, infidels can be charitable, kind, and do good to others! But they lack an essential element in order to please God, an active faith!
We also, if we claim to follow Jesus, can obey part of His will, and ignore other commands, approved examples, and necessary inferences that He gives us to follow!
King Saul was an example of this!
He was suppose to utterly destroy the Amalekites, but he didn't do as God commanded him through the prophet Samuel! He did a 'part' of God's command:
I Samuel 15:22, 23
"22 And Samuel said, Has Jehovah as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of Jehovah? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim. Because you have rejected the word of Jehovah, he has also rejected you from being king."
Notice that he rejected the word of Jehovah by only doing a 'part' of what he was commanded to do!
If we mix the doctrines, commandments, and traditions of men with God's Word, we CANNOT be well pleasing in our Creators sight!
"7 You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 9 But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."
HOW WERE THEY DOING THIS?
"3 And He answered and said unto them, Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God said, 'Honor your father and your mother: and, He that speaks evil of father or mother, let him die the death.' 5 But you say, 'whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, That where you might have been profited by me is given to God ; 6 he shall not honor his father.' And you have made void the word of God because of your tradition."
We must do ALL that God commands us to do, in order to be acceptable to Him, and NOT add to His word, or take away from His word!
Which brings us to a very important question: At WHAT POINT are we JUSTIFIED in the sight of our Creator?
Most all agree that the BLOOD OF CHRIST is the ground for our justification:
"6 For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: for peradventure for the good man some one would even dare to die. 8 But God commended His own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by His blood, shall we be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by His life; 11 and not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation."
Revelation 1:5, 6
"5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood -- 6 and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father-- to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen."
But obedience MUST come before we can reach the soul saving blood of Jesus Christ!
I Peter 1:2
"according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied."
We see from the word of God that an active faith is the necessary principle!
"And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Notice that we must 'seek' Him, and 'come' to Him!
John 6:44, 45
"44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me."
If we properly receive Him, that is, His inspired word, then we have RIGHT from Him to become children of God! And notice that receiving Him (faith only) does NOT make us children of God!
"12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."
Why? Because there is MORE to do in order to be justified (saved) in His sight! Just believing (faith only) in Jesus does NOT justify us!
BUT THEN, WHEN ARE WE JUSTIFIED IN GOD'S SIGHT? WHEN ARE WE 'BORN OF GOD', AS THE SCRIPTURE SAYS ABOVE!
"3 Jesus answered and said to him, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.' 4 Nicodemus said to Him, 'How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?' 5 Jesus answered, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.'"
Notice that this 'new birth' is ONE birth, which consists of TWO elements; WATER and the SPIRIT!
Remember that we are justified in God's sight when we reach the blood of Christ, or are sprinkled in the blood of Christ, but WHEN does this happen?
"let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water."
Yes, this takes place in water baptism, the one baptism (Ephesians 4:5), the new birth (John 3:5), that you see the inspired men of God teaching all throughout the book of Acts!
"3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin."
Notice that this all takes place when we are scripturally baptized 'into Christ'!
It needs to be understood that God tells us that we are justified in the following:
GRACE - Romans 3:21-24
FAITH - Romans 5:1
BLOOD - Romans 5:9
WORKS - James 2:17-26
WORDS - Matthew 12:37
DOERS OF GOD'S LAW - Romans 2:1-16
THOSE CALLED BY GOD - Romans 8:30 HOW? - 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15
God has tested man in all ages through outward acts of obedience!
FAITH NEVER SAVES UNTIL IT IS EXPRESSED BY OUTWARD ACTS!
Genesis 22:1, 2, 10-12
"1 Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, 'Here I am.' 2 He said, 'Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you'"; "10 Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, 'Abraham, Abraham!' And he said, 'Here I am.' 12 He said, 'Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.'"
STUDY CLOSELY Hebrews chapter 11
TODAY, MAN MUST OBEY (have an active belief) THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST - that form of teaching, the faith, in order to reap eternal life in heaven!
1 Thessalonians 1:7-9
"7 and to you that are afflicted rest with us, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of his power in flaming fire, 8 rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus: 9 who shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might,"
Remember, we must obey God rather than men! ACTS 5:29
THEN AND ONLY THEN, WILL JESUS CHRIST BECOME OUR AUTHOR OF ETERNAL SALVATION!
"and having been made perfect, He became unto all them that obey Him the author of eternal salvation;"
THEN AND ONLY THEN, CAN OUR SOULS BE PURIFIED!
1 Peter 1:22, 23
"22 Seeing you have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently: 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which lives and abides for ever."
HAVE YOU DONE WHAT GOD TELLS YOU TO DO IN ORDER TO BE SAVED, JUSTIFIED IN HIS SIGHT?
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
Hear, learn, and come to Jesus Christ!
John 6:44, 45
"44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught of God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me."
By believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that He is Immanuel, the Messiah, the Word!
"Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, And they shall call His name Immanuel; which is, being interpreted, God with us."
John 4:25, 26
"25 The woman said to Him, 'I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.' 26 Jesus said to her, ' I who speak to you am He.' "
John 1:1, 14
"1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." "14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth"
"Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."
BUT YOU DO NOT RECEIVE REMISSION OF SINS IN A MENTAL BELIEF ONLY (called Faith Only)
By repenting of our sins!
"I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
"Peter said to them, ' Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.' "
Acts 17:30, 31
"30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."
BUT YOU DO NOT RECEIVE REMISSION OF SINS AT THIS POINT IN OBEDIENCE!
By confessing Christ before men!
Matthew 10:32, 33
"32 Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven."
Romans 10:9, 10
"9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, unto righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, unto salvation."
1 Timothy 6:12-16
"12 Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen."
BUT YOU DO NOT RECEIVE REMISSION OF SINS AT THIS POINT IN OBEDIENCE!
By being baptized into Christ!
NOTE: This is immersion in water 'INTO CHRIST'
for (UNTO, IN ORDER TO) the forgiveness, the remission of your sins!
This is NOT sprinkling or pouring!
"Jesus answered, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' "
"1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin."
"37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brethren, what shall we do?' 38 Peter said to them, 'Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.' 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, 'Be saved from this perverse generation!' 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."
Notice in the above Scripture that only those who 'received his word' obeyed the gospel!
"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."
Have you yet been involved in the 'new birth' from above?
Have you yet been baptized for the correct reason?
Some are baptized today because they have been taught they have already been saved by 'faith only', and that water immersion is only an 'outward sign of an inward change'!
BUT NOTICE THAT 'PREACHING JESUS' INCLUDES WATER BAPTISM!
"35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. 36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, 'Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?' 37 [And Philip said, 'If you believe with all your heart, you may.' And he answered and said, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'] 38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing."
Acts 10:47, 48
" 'Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?' 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days."
This is where we meet His soul saving blood (figuratively of course) which washes away our sins!
Revelation 1:5, 6
"and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood" 6 and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen."
"Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name."
I Peter 3:20-22
"20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him."
There is not any power in the water (water salvation), but it is DOING what God commands us to do, in HIS WAY , according to HIS TRUTH, which is an appeal to God for a good conscience through Christ's resurrection, by doing His will!
Also notice that is how Jesus purchased His church, with His own blood!
But why are people telling us today that the church isn't important!
"Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood."
Therefore we read:
1 Corinthians 12:13
"For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."
Christ Jesus is the Savior of this body, the church, which is His kingdom!
"For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body."
"15 He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' 16 Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' 17 And Jesus said to him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.' "
The rock upon which Christ's church was built was the Truth which Peter had just stated that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God! The Lord's church was NOT built upon Peter!
Ephesians 1:22, 23
"22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all."
"4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all."
Notice only one body, which is His church, His kingdom, just as there is only one baptism, which is water immersion into Christ!
This is how we put Christ on!
"26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise."
YES, YOU DO RECEIVE REMISSION (FORGIVENESS) OF SINS AT THIS POINT IN OBEDIENCE!
Notice the examples of conversion in the book of Acts:
Are you in this church you read about in the New Testament?
Have you correctly put Christ on yet?