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. Let’s clarify again to prevent from confusion, you are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. However, how do you confirm the union and presence of the Holy Spirit? How do you grow in assurance? What fruit is exuded from your life that indicate a true fully dependent fiduciary trust in 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

10 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

      3. Here you have mixed the dispensation of the Gospel for the Nation of Israel with the dispensation of the Gospel for the Church. Acts 2:38 and 2 Peter 3:9 are directed at the Jew and not the church. The idea of repentance is for the Jew to change the way they think – this is evident by the sermon on the Mount in which Jesus offers the Nation of Israel the Kingdom of Heaven – the literal Kingdom in which Jesus will rule from the throne of David – the succession and right of Kingship through the line of David – in Jerusalem. The Kingdom was rejected by the Jews and the age of the Gentiles came in and the church was created. The salvation for the Jew who is promised a King and the land is markedly different from the salvation of the church – those who believe in the Son – Jesus. The evidence of this is in the woman from Canaan who pleads for her daughter. She first approaches Jesus as the Son of David, King of the Jews and gets nothing. Then she drops the pretense and approaches Him as Savior. Her faith, without qualification, has her daughter saved instantaneously – without any other qualification. If there was additional qualification then the salvation by faith in Jesus would not be free. Many times the message from those who teach the church is in error. Its not get your life right in order to approach God – it is approach boldly the throne of God through Christ Jesus and allow His mercy and grace to change you as a fruit of your salvation. Now the gift is free and has no qualification other then to call on His name. Paul teaches repentance – and rightfully to the church – but this doesnt mean that Paul is saying that there is qualification or condition in order to gain salvation – what Paul is saying is that you must change the way you think – stop thinking that you can qualify yourself and hear the word – trust the word and believe the word and you are saved.

        Kind regards,
        J Arnn
        Jewish Studies for Christians

    2. Praise the Lord….

      All the points you have quoted regarding salvation are the words for initiation of salvation. Salvation must be in three tense like viz., I am saved, saving and shall be saved. Bible also says in
      Matthew 10: 22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. And in Matthew 24: 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Salvation is a continuous process and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit God work. Then what this mean in Mark 10: 31But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.

      With regards.

      Reply

      1. Once Salvation is initiated – it is permanent – a believer, once saved by the act of grace and mercy from the Father through belief in Jesus Christ cannot lose that salvation – even in their darkest moment, deepest sin or severest doubt, the confession is – I am the righteousness of God through faith in Christ Jesus – I am a beloved child of God – I am holy in the eyes of God through my faith in Jesus and my name has not been blotted from the book of life. The truth is, if believers (Christians) knew their true worth in God through Jesus, they would turn from sin – no longer head the whispers of the devil – no longer sell themselves short – knowing the magnificent inheritance promised them by God. However, for the believer, even when you sin, even when you are heavily burdened or even in your most severe moment of doubt about God and/or Jesus – the believer is saved – washed clean by the blood of the Lamb, righteous in the eyes of God, Holy and perfect so that even in your faltering state – you are upright and can go boldly to the throne – not to prostrate yourself and beg for forgiveness – but to proclaim who you are – the rightful heir of the Kingdom of God – the bride to the Bridegroom – a living member of the church. For the believer, unlike the Jew, their isn’t a qualifier for salvation other than belief – and it is not blind belief. God’s will is for us to believe in the One in which He sent – through the hearing/reading of the word – through trust that the word is true, honest, holy, obedient and faithful – and through faith that His word will not come back void.
        As believers it is important to understand what is for the Jew and what is for the church. Matthew was written for the Jewish Nation of Israel. This is the genealogy of Jesus and the time of offering the Kingdom of Heaven (The literal Jewish Kingdom in Israel, where Jesus sits on the throne of David – to show correct lineage of succession and right to Kingship centered in Jerusalem where Jesus will remove satan, the prince of the air from dominion over the earth). The Kingdom of Heaven was offered to the Jewish Nation in Matthew and it was rejected by the Jews – therefore the Kingdom of Heaven was placed on hold until the second coming of Jesus where he will rule for 1000 years. Satan will be bound during this rule, so there will be a perfect peace on earth, no disease, no strife, no war, none of the things that once plagued man – it will be harmonious bliss.
        So what about Matthew 10:22? Granted we do apply it to the believer today – but that teaching is not quite correct. What other nation in the world has so much hate and animosity against it that other nations (even today) rise up against it to destroy it completely? Israel – yes, that’s right. Of course any nation which supports Israel is also targeted, but Israel is the focus of many nations hatred. Why? Israel is the nation of God – the Abrahamic covenant established the promise of God to Abraham that the land was rightfully his and his descendants. In the bible, we see satan first comes against God by trying to destroy man in the Garden of Eden, then the children of Egypt are put to death to try and stop Moses, then the children who were born during the same period of Jesus, then Jesus was put to death – but we know the victory in His death and resurrection. So all this time satan, who realizes now that he has been defeated seeks to destroy the one thing left to destroy – the Nation of Israel – if it could be destroyed – wiped off the map as some have proclaimed then it stands to reason that there could be no kingdom. It is also much more simple than the hatred for the Nation of Israel, it is also the hatred from those who rejected Jesus as Messiah. Jesus it telling His fellow Jews, that if you accept me, you will be hated by those who reject me.
        In Matthew 24:13, Jesus is again speaking to the Jew about the Kingdom of Heaven and about its imminent rejection – that for a Jewish believer – it is going to be a hard life – a dangerous life – a life of persecution by ones own brother – but if you endure to the end you will receive reward in Heaven. This is markedly different from the salvation of the believer – such as the woman from Canaan who pleaded for her daughter – her salvation was instant and perpetual lasting forever. Once the Kingdom of Heaven was rejected by the Jew the age of the Gentile came into being. The bible speaks of 3 different dispositions of man – Jew, Gentile, Believer. That is it: The Jew rejects Jesus as Messiah; the Gentile rejects Jesus as Savior; but the Jew and Gentile who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior are now believers in Christ Jesus and part of the body of Christ – the Church. The salvation for the church is faith based and has no other qualifier – whether you are good or bad, happy or sad, return to your old ways – it doesnt matter – once saved always saved.
        Ok, what about Mark 10:31? It is an interesting added quote that you will also find in Matthew 19:30 and Matthew 20:16. If we look at the context and let the bible define itself then we see that again Jesus is speaking about the Jewish Nation and not the church. This does not apply to the believer – those that have faith in Jesus and are saved. This applies to the Jew at a specific time – why is that? In the context of both Mark and Luke – Jesus has just demonstrated to the young ruler two ways to salvation: First, obey the law – which the young ruler has already broken because his god is his fortune and not the God of Abraham – Jesus points this out. Second: Drop the pretense that man can obey the law of Moses and live as holy as God – which is impossible – realize (repent) that man needs a Savior who will reconcile man back to God – Jesus does this by telling the young ruler to sell all he has and follow (trust – believe – listen – have faith in) Him. Give up his false god, give up his self-righteous way of thinking (repent) and believe in the only One who can save man – Jesus. We also see, that Jesus constantly rebukes the Pharisee and to a degree His own disciples when their belief falters. Jesus has ministered to His people, He has shown them signs and wonders by healing the sick, lame and possessed – he raised the dead – yet many who were first in society standing rejected Him – such as the Pharisee. Jesus even told His disciples that harlots and tax collectors would enter Heaven first before them because they believed. Certainly, one would think the disciples would go first – yet many heard with their ears and saw with their eyes and still they disbelieved and rejected Jesus – so many who are first will be last and many last will be first. This is not about the church (the believers in Christ) it is about the Jew – the ones who heard and saw and believed will be first and the ones who heard and saw and rejected will be last.

        Kind regards,
        J Arnn
        Jewish Studies for Christians

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

    Rabbi J. Arnn
    Jewish Studies for Christians

    Reply

  3. Good word Rabbi, One does not repent of their sins in order to be saved. Justification is a separate event. Repentance and turning from sin is part of discipleship, and occurs after he has repented…meaning..changed from unbelief to belief….concerning Jesus Christ. All one has to do to be saved is acknowledge that Christ’s blood saved them from their sinful state. His death, burial, and resurrection proved it!

    Reply

  4. John Arnn
    Very well said. You are “spot on ” with scriptures from God’s Word.
    Thank you and God Bless
    A sister-n-Christ

    Reply

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