In 1535 John Rogers translated the first full Bible into the English language. Subsequently, he was the first martyr of the reformation, burned at the stake by Queen “Bloody” Mary. As he was guided to the stake, history describes his own children walking at his side “encouraging him” while he smiled with joy.

Obedience.

Is your faith so profound its noticeable? Would Queen Mary have hunted you down? Would you walk to the stake with joy? Are you set apart? Have you experienced a clear break from old ways? Are your deeds, words, and thoughts holy?

Sadly, I meet with too many people who believe they’re saved but bear absolutely no fruit of it! They feel limited confidence in their salvation and often I can’t give them confidence in it either…

vintage-arrow-light-bulb-sign-20466-p“Obedience” isn’t a word we hear much in modern church. We hear a lot about relevance, experience, material blessing, and decisions, but incredibly little about obedience. But, the Bible has a ton to say about obedience. In fact, you can determine if you’re truly saved by simply looking at the evidences of obedience in your life. To be clear, you are saved by the work of the Spirit creating in you a real-time, present, ongoing, current, entire dependence on Christ, called justification by faith, but the Bible teaches that this new dependence will always result in a desire to please Christ.

  1. You’ll want to obey because you love Jesus (Jn 14:15)
  2. You’ll want to keep a clear conscience (Rom 13:5, 1 Tim 1:5, 2 Tim 1:3)
  3. You’ll want to be a vessel for noble use (2 Tim 2:20-21)
  4. You’ll want your life to be a testimony for unbelievers (1 Peter 3:1-2, 15-16)
  5. You’ll hope for God’s present blessings (1 Peter 3:9-12)
  6. You’ll want to avoid God’s displeasure and discipline (2 Cor 5:11, Eph 4:30)
  7. You’ll want heavenly rewards (Matt 6:19-21, 1 Cor 3:12-15, 2 Cor 5:9-10)
  8. You’ll want a deeper walk with God (Matt 5:8, John 14:21, 1 John 1:6)
  9. You’ll want peace and joy (Phil 4:9, Heb 12:1-2)
  10. You’ll want what is right (Phil 4:8, Ps 40:8)

If you read these items and recognize growing desires, new victories, and progressive out-workings in your life than you ARE experiencing the sanctifying work of God and can be assured of your salvation! Conversely, if you felt tempted to delete this post the moment you saw the title, felt the urge to argue with the subject of “obedience” as evidence of salvation, or were taught that your salvation was secure simply because you “raised your hand” or “walked the aisle” then cry out to God and search the Scriptures.

Jesus Christ must be Lord!

Posted by Anthony Wood

Anthony is Pastor of Mission Bible Church in Tustin, CA, and has authored the books Defining Church & Defining Family. He’s married to Bre, and they have three children. More @AnthonyGeneWood

5 Comments

  1. How do we know that we are saved really has only one requirement bionically and you find that in Romans 10:13 “For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” Acts 2:21 “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” Now, if you want to know where this came from go to Joel 2:32 “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance. You see, both authors in John and in Acts were testifying to the promise of God that all who call upon the name of the Lord, Christ Jesus, will be saved. It has nothing to do with your love for God as suggested above – in fact the interpretation of John 14:15 is in error- the better translation would read: Whosoever is content in me will keep my teaching. It is obvious that man could not continue to exist in the cycle of love that God had intended from Adam when man bowed to satan and the world fell. However, God has always intended for man to exist in this cycle of love and therefore He sacrificed His only begotten Son whom the Jews rejected. In fact, before Jesus, the Jews stood at the base of Mount Sinai and proclaimed boastfully, that whatever God asked of them they could fulfill – So God gave them – THEM – the Jew the Law of Moses not as an instruction guide or how to manual but as a demonstration that man could not live up to the holy standards of God – remember, your best is as a dirty rag to God. God’s foolishness is wiser than the wisest man. So, although those 10 standards sound good – they aren’t biblical when it comes to salvation – you are saved by simply calling on the name of the Lord – and that is the promise of God. Placing it back on man – through his own works to achieve salvation is to place man under the curse of the law – to place us back under the mindset of Cain who killed his brother out of jealousy because Able’s sacrifice (a picture of Jesus) was received by God rather than the work of Cain who presented God with his own labor and did not utilize the sacrifice. Today, your sacrifice is Jesus and through Him you will find the Father – once you call on Him you have salvation through the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ – not your own works – you then receive son-ship and become an heir to the throne – not a disciple – not a slave – not a bond servant – but an heir – a member of the body of Christ and a bride for the Groom, adorned in fine linen which signifies righteousness. Call on His name – leave the rest to God and rest in His mercy.

    2. You are justified by faith in Christ Jesus – God remembers your sins no more and He sees your as righteous and with clean conscious.
    3. Jesus is the vine and you are the branch – you can be nothing without Him and His love will flow through you and transform you.
    4. All testimony reveals Jesus – not your life.
    5. God has poured out all His heavenly blessings – you need only receive.
    6. God judged Jesus in your place – you have been judged and redeemed for ever and God has promised to never let you go.
    7. You are an heir to the throne of God – your rewards are already prepared in the Mansion.
    8. You are already a part of the body of Christ and seen as a perfect, righteous, saved person in the eyes of God.
    9. Again, God, through Christ Jesus and His mercy and grace have given you this already – receive this in His name.
    10. The love of Jesus will flow into you like living waters and transform you from within – even in your darkest moment He will not forsake you and the Holy Spirit will gently guide you to what is right in your transformation.

    Anything that puts the work on man – and pastors who preach works are missing the point of the Gospel and the message of Jesus. It truly pains me to see the innocent fall victim to the subtlety of this misguided teaching.

    Prayers for you and your congregation,
    Rabbi John Arnn
    Jewish Studies for Christians

    Reply

    1. You’ve provided a pertinent diagnosis of the conversion process but misappropriated the intent of the post referencing “assurance” of salvation not “process” of it. As you know, one who claims to “call” on the Lord must identify what that “call” in fact means. Markedly, parallel to the texts you’ve listed, the idea of repentance also appears. Scripture teaches that sinners must exercise faith in conjunction with repentance (Acts 2:38, 2 Pet 3:9), embracing Christ and rejecting sin (Acts 3:19, Lk 24:47), submitting to the Lordship of Christ, forsaking the world and following Him as Master (Lk 3:8, 2 Cor 5:15, John 10:27), all of which is a gift of God (2 Tim 2:25). If we remove repentance from the Gospel message we spur on the antinomian trend that has corrupted American evangelicalism. Regards, AW

      Reply

      1. I misappropriated no intent, but rather pointed out a promise of God in Joel 2:32 That is shall come to pass that whosoever call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. There are no other qualifiers to this assurance to salvation. Do you place the repentance of man over the sacrifice? If so, your scholarly learning, much like the Pharisee has amounted you nothing in the Gospel. I urge you to carefully read Matthew, Mark and Luke and tell me which of those who sought out Jesus was required to repent prior to receiving their healing? None of them is the correct answer. Healing in all the cases is synonymous with salvation. In Acts 2:38 who was Peter speaking to? He was speaking to his fellow Jews who had rejected Jesus – Peter was not speaking to Christians nor was this meant for Christians. See John 6:28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Now John 6:29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent”. So now we know the will of God – the bible plainly states this. Jesus, in Matthew 4:17 tells the Jews to repent “metanoeo”, the same word that Peter uses with the Jews. Why? Because we Jews, had had generations of traditions steeped in the fabric of the Mosaic Law, we had sacrificed bulls, goats, and turtle doves as did God when He covered the sin of Adam with innocent blood and covered them with the skin of the animals God sacrificed to Atone (to cover without removing) for man’s sin. The promise of salvation came at the time of Jesus’ sacrifice at the cross where the blood of the innocent washed away our sin forever. Two very different concepts and two very different covenants. Adam had already covered them both in fig leaves of his own work – a repentance of man for the shame and guilt of committed sin, but this was not asked by God and it was not good enough for His Holy being – therefore the blood of the innocent was shed to cover (Atone for) the sin of man. When Jesus was sacrificed and resurrected there was nothing for man to do – the work was finished by God. Now getting back to Peter and Jesus in Matthew. After generations of the Mosaic Law, both Peter and Jesus were telling the Jew to reconsider – to think differently – to repent from the way Jews had thought for 40 generations and realize that there is no salvation in the Law but only through Christ Jesus and if you continue to reject Jesus as the Messiah then there is no salvation for you on the condemnation of the Law which only strengthens the power of sin. True change comes from within by the power and love of Christ – He is the vine you are the branch – you can do nothing with Him. By your misguided logic to put the work back on man to repent – you have placed people back under the bondage of the law – meaning do good get good, do bad get bad – this places them under the curse of the law which only has the power to strengthen sin. Is that what you want for your congregation? I don’t think so. You read the scripture – you know the scripture – yet you do not understand the scripture. Is the veil so strong over your eyes that you are not willing to see the truth? And certainly if you embrace Christ you have rejected sin – but that transformation is not of your own works – it is by gentle transformation by the love, grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. You may be able to delete my posts – but you cannot delete the truth of the Gospel.

        Kind regards,
        Rabbi John Arnn
        Jewish Studies for Christians

      2. I would like to continue, if you are willing to at least listen: Luke 3:8 “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones”. Remember this is John the Baptist speaking again to Jews who are deep into their own efforts to please God and raised from birth to obey the Law of Moses. What are fruits worthy of repentance? What John the Baptist is asking them (the Jews) is to bear the fruit that is worthy of you changing your way of thinking about the new covenant to come – Jesus has yet to be sacrificed at this time and the old covenant – the Mosaic Law is still in place. What should they bear? Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Wow – there is not law against such things – imagine how radical this teaching was to the Jew at that time? How many of my Jewish brothers, so entrenched in tradition, ritual, and the curse of the law would not see this – would reject this teaching as blasphemy? Even today we see the Nation of Israel suffer – but God has promised to save them. So the fruit worthy to change the Jewish mind is Jesus – is the Savior – not the Jew – not the Christian – not the man. 2 Corinthians 5:15 you really need context and I’m not sure you truly have it: The Church at Corinth had been struggling, were arguing, and mainly perverting the teaching of Paul and in this passage you can see Paul reminding the church who they are: That Jesus died for all so that they should live no longer to themselves (alone, under the curse of the law) but that when Jesus died on the cross, they too died with Jesus and were raised with Him – part of Him in the body of Christ which is now the Church. In John 10:27 Jesus is again speaking to the Jews and the passage is quite lovely – because He is speaking in terms that they – shepherds can understand but the language would not have been Greek – it was Hebrew and it was the word Chabar (to unite, to join, as one) You see, Jesus wasn’t just telling the Jews that His sheep hear His voice and follow Him – He was telling the Jews that His sheep were a part of Him in an intimate relationship and were one with Him. This makes more sense when you realize that the believer is in Christ and Christ (Holy Spirit) is in the believer. The relationship is not side by side as two people but rather joined as one. The covenant of Marriage is the symbol of this joined union – when two become one. Jesus isn’t saying my sheep follow me – He eludes to a wonderful, meaningful, loving and intimate relationship of oneness. Discipleship (followership) ended with the death of Jesus and upon His resurrection – those that call on His name have salvation and receive sonship from the Father. This is key. Read Revelation – you will see that it is Jesus who is dressed in servant attire and the bride (the church) who is dressed in fine linen – a picture of righteousness through faith in Jesus. And the Bridegroom and the Bride are made ready for the wedding where they become one. This is the intimate relationship your Heavenly Father wants with you. Not to hear His voice and follow – it is not about obedience any more. It is all about relationship. I do agree with you – for those that do not believe – for those that have rejected Christ, it is our duty – Just as John the Baptist did, just as Peter and even Jesus asked the Jewish people to repent – to change the way you think, to change your mind about the Savior, to embrace Jesus as Lord (one who holds covenant with man) and Savior (a substitute, one who stands in the gap for you). But to lead them to repentance so that they may become a believer is not through their own works – of sin consciousness, shame and guilt – but its through the fruit of the Spirit – which is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

        Kind regards,
        Rabbi John Arnn
        Jewish Studies for Christians

  2. My apologies – bionically should read “Biblically” in the above comment.

    Rabbi J. Arnn
    Jewish Studies for Christians

    Reply

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