“to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.” — Rom. 2:8
It’s surprising that anyone can read the Bible and think that salvation does not hinge on having an obedient faith. The “faith alone” teaching does a disservice to the Gospel and will ultimately lead millions to be eternally lost.
The letter of Paul to the Romans is a book that teaches faith, that salvation is “from faith to faith“, which means “first to last, salvation is by faith.” I am not debating that salvation is by faith because it is. But the misconception held by many is that saving faith can be separated from obedience. It can’t.
The Apostle speaks of “the obedience of faith” in Romans 1:5 and 16:26 which indicates that saving faith is obedient. Paul doesn’t say, “obedience AND faith”, he says “obedience OF faith.” The Scripture says those who “do not obey the truth” are storing up “wrath and indignation.” Saving faith is obedient.
Let no one misunderstand: salvation is a gift. It can’t be earned, and is never deserved. Because “all have sinned”, all “fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), we need for God to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves. Once this fall from grace has occurred due to our own sin, no amount of works can atone for one’s shortcomings. The Good News is that God has a plan. When a man hears the Gospel of Jesus, and is pricked being laid open and bare before the truth, he repents and obeys Jesus’ word while trusting in God for His salvation (and not his own works), he will be saved. That’s how faith saves. But if a man says he has faith in God, but his faith is not obedient, then his faith is dead and worthless (Jas. 2:14-26).
There is no option. Obedience is necessary. To repent and turn to God is essential for salvation (Acts 3:19). By obeying in faith, God saves. Those who say salvation is by “faith alone” and that all you have to do is pray Jesus into your heart, are false teachers. The Cross of Jesus isn’t being preached until the person is pricked to turn from sin and be obedient to Christ’s command to be baptized for the “remission of sins” (Acts 2:38; 22:16). Obedience is essential for salvation because God decreed that his gift is received in the water of Baptism (Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:27; 1 Pet. 3:21; Rom. 6:3-5; Mt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15,16). Won’t you obey God today and receive His free gift of life?