"Is obedience to God’s law essential?

Don’t you minimize God’s grace when you mandate obedience?"

by Mark J. Ward

Bible Answer:

This is a very good religious question. Some very sincere religious folks believe "all roads lead to heaven". Others contend that grace saves without the necessity of obedience. Some people actually believe that just because members of the Lord’s church teach that God requires us to obey the applicable laws found in the New Testament, that we are somehow taking away from the wonderful grace (unmerited favor) of God that is involved in salvation. Such is not the case! Please read further.

The Bible contains the proper answer to this question (and all other religious questions that God has seen fit for us to have the answers to). Please read the following passages of scripture: Matthew 7:21; Romans 1:16; Romans 10:1-16; 2 Thess. 1:6-9; I John 3:4; & 2 John 9.

Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Romans 10:1-16 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

2 Thess. 1:6-9 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

I John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

2 John 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

Notice what the passages cited previously teach:

1. We must DO (obey) the will of God in heaven, or we will be lost

2. The GOSPEL is God’s power to save.

3. There are those who have NOT OBEYED THE GOSPEL, and they are considered LOST by God.

4. Christ will come in flaming fire taking vengence on those who "...OBEY NOT THE GOSPEL"

5. Sin is defined as trespassing against God’s law; this necessitates obedience to God’s law!

6. If we do not abide in the doctrine of Christ, we don’t have God.

The Bible clearly teaches that people living today MUST be obedient to the gospel/doctrine of Christ. The first principles of the gospel include becoming a Christian. The first principles also include other matters that are considered "milk" of the Word (See Heb. 5:10-14). God requires spiritual growth in His children, just like parents today expect their babies to mature physically. Christians are mandated by God to OBEY the requirements in the New Testament for individual activity, as well as church activity. It becomes SIN when we engage in any activity that is unauthroized, or fail to engage in activity that is required. God’s grace is clearly involved in salvation, but it is connected to our meeting the conditions that God has set for salvation. Man’s obedience and God’s grace are both essential ingredients in the matter of our salvation.

Notice what God’s grace teaches us in Titus 1:10-12, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;" This passage plainly teaches that the grace of God teaches us to deny ungodly living and live properly (i.e. to do God’s Will) while on earth. This addresses the necessity of searching out God’s requirements and lovingly obeying them!

Many religious teachers are teaching falsely today. Good men and women are being deceived with the false idea that folks in all denominations will be saved and that sincerity is "enough" to get one to heaven. Such is a damnable heresy! One must first truly become a Christian by a proper conversion. Then, as a babe in Christ one is to desire the sincere milk of the Word to grow and spend the rest of his/her life in loving servitude (i.e. obedience) to Almighty God. Yes, obedience is mandatory to our salvation! God’s grace is not diminished one bit since He has set the conditions (i.e. of our obedience) by which we can gain access to the blessings of His wonderful grace.

Please email me with your thoughts (markjward@yahoo.com). --by Mark J. Ward

Thanks for reading. - Mark J. Ward

Email the Editor at markjward@yahoo.com