“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) Is Obedience Essential to Salvation? (Bill Crews)
2) “Speak As the Oracles of God” (R.J. Evans)
Is Obedience Essential to Salvation?
According to what the New Testament of Christ teaches, what is the place, the importance, the purpose of obedience — our obedience to the commandments of God?
Matthew 7:21 reads: “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 who is in heaven.” Obedience is essential to our entering the kingdom of heaven.
Hebrews 5:8-9 reads: “Though He was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered; and having been made perfect, He became unto all them that obey Him the author of eternal salvation.” Obedience is essential to our receiving eternal salvation.
1 Peter 1:22 reads: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to (KJV — in obeying) the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently.” Obedience is essential to the purifying of our souls.
Jesus said: “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Obedience grows out of love for Christ and is proof of our love for Christ.
1 John 2:4-5 reads: “And hereby we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” Obedience is proof that we know Him. Anyone who does not obey Him cannot know Him.
Romans 6:17-18 reads: “But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching (KJV — doctrine) whereunto ye were delivered; and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness.” Obedience is essential to being made free from sin, and that obedience must come from the heart.
2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 reads: “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, rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” At His second coming and the judgment the Lord will render vengeance to those who have not obeyed His gospel.
Men Teach That Obedience Is Not Essential To Salvation
To say that obedience is essential to salvation is not to say that man merits or earns salvation, for that is an impossibility — as impossible as living a sinless life, as impossible as rendering flawless obedience to God all the days of one’s life. Everyone sins; salvation is a matter of God’s forgiveness; and man cannot possibly earn forgiveness. All of the passages that are misunderstood by men to teach that our salvation does not depend upon any doing or works on our part are really passages denying that men can be justified by the works of the law of Moses or any such law (which would demand perfect obedience). These were designed to answer the Judaizing teachers who were denying the sufficiency of Christ and the gospel and casting man’s hope of salvation in the works of the law of Moses (they were especially telling Gentile Christians that they could not be saved without practicing circumcision and obeying the works of the law of Moses). They were shown the consequences of such teaching.
Obedience And Salvation By Faith
To say that obedience is essential to salvation is not to say that salvation is not by faith. Salvation is by faith, but it is not by faith alone. It is by faith that obeys; it is by obedience that comes from the heart. Faith alone cannot save (James 2:14-16); faith alone is dead (James 2:17); faith alone is barren or fruitless (James 2:20); faith alone cannot justify (James 2:24); faith alone is what the demons had (James 2:19). James 2:14-26 teaches that faith is shown by obedience (verse 18) and that faith is made perfect by obedience (verse 22). The faith that saves is the faith that obeys the commandments of Christ. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6).
Obedience And Salvation By Grace
To say that obedience is essential to salvation is not to say that salvation is not by grace. Salvation is by grace, but the spiritual blessings of grace are conditional, not unconditional. “For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us, to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12). The “not of works” of Ephesians 2:8-9 refers to works of which man can boast (which would be the case if man could be justified by the works of the law of Moses, which demanded obedience, but which contained no sacrifice that could actually take away sin — Hebrews 10:1). Conditions of forgiveness under the new covenant or the gospel are not under consideration in Ephesians 2:8-9.
In Revelation 22:14 the King James Version reads: “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter in through the gates into the city.”
— Via the Roanridge Reader, January 21, 2018, Volume 33, Issue 03, Page 2-3
“Speak As the Oracles of God”
“If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11).
The importance of faithfully and completely preaching the word of God manifests itself in many passages throughout the Bible. The scriptures warn against adding to, or taking away from, the word of God (See Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18-19). In the days of King Jehoiakim, God sent the prophet Jeremiah to reveal His message to the people. God commanded Jeremiah to “speak to them—do not diminish a word” (Jer. 26:2). While it may have been tempting for Jeremiah to leave off parts of God’s message that would have stirred the anger of the people, Jeremiah faithfully preached the word of God. The importance of delivering all of God’s message to the people is seen in the very beginning of Jeremiah’s work as a prophet — “But the Lord said to me: ‘Do not say,“I am a youth,” For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak’” Jer. 1:7).
In Ezekiel 33, the Lord explained why the Lord’s servants must always preach God’s complete message. “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ And you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul” (Ezek. 33:8-9).
Now we can better understand why it was so important for Paul to tell the elders of Ephesus— “I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27). This always concerned Paul because when the Jews at Corinth rejected his message— “Jesus is the Christ,” we are told, “when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles’” (Acts 18:6).
We have two letters written by Paul to the young evangelist, Timothy. Please observe what Paul charged Timothy: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2). If we faithfully preach God’s word, we will find ourselves at times rebuking people for their wrongs or reprimanding them for their sins. This is not an easy task. But whether it involves encouraging or rebuking, we must still preach the word with “longsuffering” and “in love” (2 Tim. 4:2; Eph. 4:15). We live in a time much the same as described by Paul when he said, “because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). However, the Bible is God’s word, and since we are commanded to “preach the word,” we should ever strive to be faithful to declare God’s revealed will. By so doing, it is the only way that we can truly join in with Paul and say— “I am innocent of the blood of all men” (Acts 20:26). Thus, “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Pet. 4:11).
— Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, July 1, 2018
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)