A MAN’S LIFE IS CHARACTERIZED BY EITHER BEING OBEDIENT OR DISOBEDIENT TO GOD. AT NO POINT IN HIS LIFE IS THERE A THIRD OPTION. WHEN A MAN IS NOT BEING OBEDIENT TO GOD, HE IS BEING DISOBEDIENT TO GOD. THE VERTICAL LINE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MAN’S LIFE DEPICTS HIS MOMENT OF SALVATION. IT’S THE POINT WHERE OBEDIENCE TO CHRIST IS REWARDED WITH THE GIFT OF SALVATION.
It is not coincidental that in the same line Peter refers to obedience to Jesus and being ‘sprinkled with His blood’, 1 Pt 1:2. Peter talks about the new birth in Christ (1 Pt 1:3,23), and says you, ‘in obedience to the truth purified your souls’, 1 Pt 1:22. Peter says our life is characterized by obedience, not disobedience like the unbelievers who, “stumble because they are disobedient to the word’, 1 Pt 2:8. Instead, because we call Him Father, we live in holiness, and live, ‘as obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours…” 1 Pt 1:14. This salvation is not ‘salvation by works of the flesh’, but by love, belief, and faith, 1 Pt 1:8,9. The salvation moment of obedience happens at baptism, 1 Pt 3:21 “Corresponding to that, Baptism now saves you…” How does Baptism save you? It saves your through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the point of the new birth which Peter described in 1 Pt 1:3,23.
Interestingly the same word Peter used in 1 Peter 1:14 for obedience, Paul uses it in Romans 6, saying, “you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness”, 6:16. Yes, the obedience of faith (Romans 1:5; 16:26) results in the gift of righteousness from God! If your christology doesn’t include salvation through obedient faith, you have a man’s doctrine.
Man comes into the world without sin. He is perfect just as God created him. As he grows and learns right and wrong, like Adam, he sins and his disobedience earns him spiritual death. But when he hears the Gospel and obeys it, his obedience is rewarded with the gift of salvation.
The “faith only” folks like to depict a place in the middle where salvation comes when one is being neither obedient or disobedient to God. That way he can say that salvation is separate from obedience. But John refutes this silly position by showing that even believing in Jesus is work.
Pay attention to what Jesus said and what the disciples asked: “27 Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” 28 Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” Jn 6:27-29.
Jesus said to WORK for food that doesn’t perish. The disciples asked what WORK should they DO? Jesus answered that God’s WORK for them to DO is to believe in His Son, Jesus Christ.
So while the “faith only” folks try to etch out a “faith alone” moment in a man’s timeline, the Scriptures show that we are always either working for or against God. The moment you go from unbelieving to believing, you just changed your WORK from disobedience to obedience to God.
But of course we know that the work of believing “alone” isn’t sufficient for salvation, but this WORK must also be matched with the obedience of confessing, repenting and being baptized – just like Peter said. People can believe but unless they do the work of confessing, it’s not pleasing to God, Jn 12:42,43. The very important of calling on Christ name in baptism is essential to salvation for baptism is the threshold moment when the obedient person goes from lost to saved.
This does not harm to the Gospel, full and free. The man that’s gone from lost to saved is praising God for giving Him a gift to great to earn. By faith the man has stopped his disobedience and started walking an obedient life.
God bless you. Dan Mayfield