While various men may define faith differently and while various groups may separate faith and obedience in God’s plan for man, the first article in this series found that both the Bible and lexicographers emphasize that true faith involves conviction, surrender and obedience. Is there further Biblical evidence that can offered in this matter?
It may surprise some Bible readers to learn that the New Testament actually uses the terms and concepts of (1) true, saving faith and (2) obedience synonymously and interchangeably. Consider the following passages that make a distinct contrast between one who “believes” and one who “disobeys.”
John 3:36 states, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life…” To believe is to obey. To not obey is equivalent with not believing.
Hebrews 3:18-19 states, “And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.” To not believe is to not obey. Disobedience is equivalent to unbelief.
Acts 14:1-2 states, “A great multitude both of Jews and of Greeks believed. But the Jews that were disobedient stirred up the souls of the Gentiles…” To believe is to obey. To be disobedient is equivalent with not believing.
Romans 10:16 states, “They have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?’” To have believed is to have obeyed. To not obey is equivalent with not believing.
Do you think that God wanted Bible readers to make the clear and direct connection between believing and obeying Him? In God’s eyes, one cannot truly believe without obeying! These texts emphatically affirm that!
In a similar way, those who obeyed the Lord in the book of Acts were said to have “believed.” In Acts 2, individuals believed the message (2:37), repented (2:38) and were baptized (2:41). Luke summarizes what they did by saying they had “believed” (2:44). In Acts 16, the jailer and his household heard the Word (16:32), believed (16:31), repented (16:33a) and were baptized (16:33b). Luke summarizes what they did by saying they had “believed” (16:34). The terms that involve true faith and obedience are used synonymously and interchangeably in the Word of God.
Take time to mark these verses in your Bible. We have now learned that by definition and by clear and repeated usage in Scripture, Biblical faith involves one’s obedience.