Faith Without Obedience Is Dead

January 18, 2007

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36). What does this passage mean?

Doesn’t it mean that faith is obedience, and that not obeying is not believing? From now on, we should know that faith and obedience are one, not two.

Let’s look at the passage again, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects (does not believe in) the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36).

Therefore, believing in the gospel is obeying the gospel. Obedience is deeds. The Bible says, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” (James 2:26).

The works of faith–the obedience to the gospel–are not man’s righteousness by walking in the law, but God’s righteousness by walking in the Spirit. No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. It is written, “Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:3).

The Bible says, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16).

It is clearly written that faith is obedience, “Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.” (Romans 1:5). The fruit of the gospel is the obedience that comes from faith. Therefore, faith without obedience is vanity, and it is the chaff which will be burned up with unquenchable fire.

The gospel and the obedience are one. The Bible also says about it, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our report?'” (Romans 10:16).

Let’s look at that again, “But they have not all obeyed (believed) the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed (obeyed) our report?'” (Romans 10:16).

And also, the word of truth says, “And again in the passage above he says, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’ For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.” (Hebrews 4:5-8).

As it is written in this passage, “those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience,” also today, there are many people to whom the gospel was first preached, but those who live by the faith of obedience to the gospel can hardly be found. The Lord prophesied, “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

The gospel just in itself is not gospel. It becomes gospel when it is obeyed through faith. As the Lord Jesus spoke in parables, the master’s cancelling ten thousand talents of debt is not enough to be gospel. Only when the servant cancels a hundred denarii, it becomes gospel. It is written, “Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” (Matthew 18:33).

And also, faith without goodness has nothing to do with salvation. It is just a belief in the lie. The Bible says, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge…” (2 Peter 1:5).

Therefore, it is written, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14). Thank you, Lord.

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