11/11/21 – Obedience Is Faith (Article)

If I were to ask you, “How do you obey God?“ You would probably say “Well, by doing whatever God says to do.“ And you would be correct. More specifically, if God gives a law and you perform that law, that is biblical obedience. 

Hopefully you are the kind of person that just wants to know what scripture says, even if you’ve never heard it before, because I’m fairly certain you’ve never heard what we are about to tell you.

We will give you scripture for every single point along the way though, so please acknowledge all the biblical evidence that we are giving. Don’t take our word for it. 

There’s Been A Change Of Law

If you were to ask most Christians what God‘s commandments are, they would probably quote the Ten Commandments. Here’s the funny thing: those are Old Testament commandments. We, as believers, say we live in a New Covenant with a new sacrifice, with a new High Priest, who went into a new heavenly tabernacle with new and better promises, and yet we quote the commandments from the OLD covenant as God‘s current commandments! Does anyone find that strange? Now, granted, the Ten Commandments are holy, just, and good (Rom. 7:12), but they are still OLD commandments.

Hebrews 8:13 (NKJV) In that He says, “A NEW Covenant,” He has made the first obsolete.

For some reason, most Christians don’t see any problem with quoting old commandments in a New Covenant. But do you see anything weird about that? Especially, considering the fact, that the Bible says that in this New Covenant there has been a CHANGE of law. Yes, that’s right. There is a new law to go along with our New Covenant. Doesn’t that just make sense?

Hebrews 7:12 (KJV) For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

Don’t believe us! Read that verse again. It’s as clear as it can be. If we have a New Covenant and a new high priest, then there must be a change of law. And if the law has changed in this New Covenant, then we are completely inaccurate for quoting the Ten Commandments as Gods current law. Remember, the Ten Commandments are good, but they are the OLD Testament commandments.

The commandments of the first covenant (the Ten Commandments and all the other commandments) are referred to in the Bible as “the Law of Works.“ That’s a pretty good name for it because all of the Old Testament commandments require you to do some kind of work (hence the “thou shalls“ and “thou shall not’s“). But, as we read from Hebrews, there has been a change of law in this New Covenant. And that new law is called “the Law of Faith.“

Romans 3:27 (NKJV) Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.

Trust me, there’s plenty more scripture coming, but from this verse we see two different kinds of laws — the Law of Works and the Law of Faith. The Old Testament law required works from people. This is why the Law of Works was so ineffective, because sinful man, apart from Jesus, simply can’t keep it!

Hebrews 7:18 (NKJV) For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness…

Acts 7:53 (NKJV) …who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.

God didn’t give the Ten Commandments thinking you could keep it. He gave it to prove you can’t! That way, you stop working and put faith in Jesus instead!

Galatians 3:23-24 (NKJV) But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. [24] Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ

So, the Old Testament law was just a temporary thing put in place to drive us to put faith in Jesus. The Old Testament law is no longer God’s current law. And, yes, that includes the Ten Commandments. I’m not just referring to the traditions of the law. 2 Corinthians 3:7-11 explains that the “words written on stones” (referring to the Ten Commandments) was meant to pass away! It was temporary. And now we have a new law to go along with our New Covenant! That should just make sense. 

New Covenant Law

In this New Covenant, the only thing that God requires from mankind is that they believe in what Jesus has done. He says it Himself right here:

John 6:28-29 (NKJV) Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, 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 sent.”

Notice that the people wanted to know how to do the “works“ of God (plural), but Jesus said “this is the WORK of God (singular), that you believe in Him…” There is one law for us to keep in this New Covenant and that is the Law of Faith. 

Now even if you’re not seeing it yet, just humor me for a second… If the New Covenant law really was to simply put faith in Jesus, what do you think our obedience would be called? Well, under a Law of Faith, you might call our obedience, “the obedience of faith,” right? I think that’s reasonable. No wonder Paul refers to our obedience this way: 

Romans 1:5 (ASV) through whom we received grace and apostleship, unto obedience of faith among all the nations…

What did Paul call our obedience? Faith! Well, that certainly would make sense if we’re under a Law of Faith! 

Romans 16:26 (ASV) …the commandment of the eternal God, is made known unto all the nations unto obedience of faith

That verse mentions the commandment of God and then says that we obey it with faith!

1 Peter 2:7-8 (NKJV) Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient… a rock of offense.

Did you catch that? Peter just used “disobedience” as the opposite of “belief.” Seeing a trend here?

Romans 6:17 (NKJV) …yet you obeyed from the heart [mind] that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.

Your heart is just another word for your mind (Luke 9:47). In fact, Romans 10:10 says that your heart is where you believe. And Paul clearly says here that we obey God with our heart (or your mind)!

Need more evidence? Paul makes it even clearer here by saying that we obey God with our thoughts:

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NKJV) …bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…

If you don’t hear anything else, please take another look at those verses. Could they be any clearer? Our obedience IS faith. Obedience happens in your heart (mind). We obey God with our thoughts. To be honest, MOST of our biblical proof is still to come, but even with the verses we have read so far, how do you explain this? A lot of people just want to believe what they already believe, but I’m curious, how do you interpret these verses? This cannot be brushed off. Do you not believe that Paul said obedience is faith — and that obedience happens in your heart, with simply your thoughts? Do we deny that Jesus said the work of God was to simply believe in Himself? Do we deny the fact that Hebrews says there has been a change of law, or that Romans speaks about the Law of Faith? Let’s all be people that care more about with the Bible says than what we’ve been taught before. God wants to teach you something here!

God’s ONLY law for us to keep in this New Covenant is to believe what Jesus has done for us! This is why our obedience is spoken of this way in the New Testament!

The obedience of faith does not mean that faith CAUSES obedience. No, faith IS the obedience. Yes, faith IS the obedience! ALL your obedience to God in this new covenant happens between your ears. All of it. 

And don’t worry, at the end of this article we will explain the importance of good works, because godliness, holy living, and good works are all very important! But we need to know how to obey God first. The church is largely ignorant of the very law that we live under!

Loving the Lord with your heart

Let’s go another layer deeper here. Everybody has heard the commandment “You shall love the Lord your God with your heart.“ What do you think that means? Most people just interpret that to mean that we should love the Lord with everything we’ve got, but I’m sorry, that is incorrect. Did you know that when God says to “love him with all of our heart” He is talking about putting faith in Jesus? Yep, and that’s not me saying it, that’s the Bible saying it. 

First, look at the two commandments Jesus lays out in Matthew 22:37-39. He says:

1)  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

2) You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

OK, now look at how those EXACT VERSES are quoted by the Holy Spirit in the book of 1 John:

1 John 3:23 (NKJV) And this is His commandment: that we should BELIEVE on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and LOVE one another, as He gave us commandment.

Now, either John is completely misquoting Jesus, or the church is severely wrong in the way we’re interpreting this commandment. John quoted Jesus’ first commandment, “loving the lord with your heart” as “believing in God’s son Jesus.” Remember, that’s not me saying it, that’s your Bible interpreting that commandment. Jesus said:

1) Love the Lord with your heart

2) Love your neighbor

The Holy Spirit, through John, quoted those commandments as:

1) Believe in Jesus

2) Love one another

Loving the Lord with your heart, soul, and mind literally means “believing in God’s Son.” But this just makes sense. Paul referred to the obedience of faith in the book of Romans as “obedience from the heart.“ Your heart is just another word for your mind, as is your soul (Luke 2:35). So, when God says, “Love me with your heart” He is simply saying “Love me by believing my Son.” And we don’t even have to debate over that interpretation. The book of 1 John already settled it. 

“Love the Lord with your heart” means “believe in God’s Son.” Have you got that locked in? Good! Keep that in the back of your mind. It’s going to be important in a second!

Gods Private Meeting With Moses

This is something you’ve probably never heard before. Pay close attention. 

Did you know that when God spoke the Ten Commandments to Israel, the people of Israel were terrified of those words, believing that they would die! They were so afraid at the giving of the Ten Commandments that they pleaded that Moses would go and hear from the Lord for them and relay the message to them. And after God heard the terror of the people, God told Moses “They are right in everything that they’ve said.” Essentially telling Moses that they were right to react this way.

Now here is the most important part: After seeing how afraid Israel was of the Ten Commandments, God pulled Moses aside privately and said, “Stay back and I will give you the commandments that they should keep.” Then in this private meeting with Moses, which Moses didn’t tell the people about for 40 years, God spoke to Moses the New Covenant Law —  the Law of Faith!

Don’t believe us? That’s OK, read it for yourself. What you’re about to read is occurring 40 years after the Ten Commandments were given, and 40 years after God told Moses about the Law of Faith (Exo. 20:18-19, Deut. 2:7). Moses is just now recounting that day to the people:

Deuteronomy 5:25 (NKJV) [And the people said] Now therefore, why should we die? For this great fire will consume us; if we hear the voice of the LORD our God anymore, then we shall die.

Verse 28 “Then the LORD heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and the LORD said to me: ‘I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken.

You, see? The people are terrified at the giving of the Ten Commandments, believing they would die, and God replies, “They are RIGHT in all that they have spoken.” God got the reaction He wanted! They were right to fear the giving of the Law of Works, because anyone that tries to abide by that law WILL die. 2 Corinthians 3:7 even calls the Ten Commandments “the ministry of death”. So, in regard to their terrified reaction, God doesn’t disagree at all. In fact, He says, “They are right in all that they have spoken.”

But wait, it gets better! God told Moses to have everyone go to their tents. And this is what God said privately to Moses:

Deuteronomy 5:30-31 (NKJV) Go and say to them, “Return to your tents.” But as for you [Moses], stand here by Me, and I will speak to you all the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments which you shall teach them, that they may observe them in the land which I am giving them to possess.’

God dismisses everyone else to their tents but tells Moses to stay back. And because the people didn’t take well to the giving of the Ten Commandments, God was about to give Moses ANOTHER law that the people would be ABLE to keep. So, in a private meeting with Moses, God gave him this second law which had never been spoken of before. Here it is:

Deuteronomy 6:4-6 (NKJV) “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.

Now wait, do you remember how the Lord interpreted this commandment in the book of 1 John? He said loving the Lord with your heart was believing in His Son! That is indisputable. That’s God’s interpretation. 

So, let’s get this straight. The people can’t bear the giving of the Law of Works (the Ten Commandments) and so God basically tells Moses “They’re right to be afraid! Moses, you stay back by me, and I’ll give you a law for them to keep. Here it is: Love the Lord with your heart (AKA just believe in my Son with all your heart) That’ll do!”

Do you realize what we just read? We just witnessed God prophesying of the New Covenant law, and He did it privately, the very day that the Old Covenant law was given! In Deuteronomy, Moses finally tells it to the people.

If you’ve ever heard a pastor or a theologian explain the book of Deuteronomy, they’ll usually just say that Deuteronomy is a book in which Moses rehearses the same laws that were given at Mount Sinai. But’s that’s not exactly true. Moses does rehearse some things that happened at Mount Sinai, but the point of Deuteronomy is not about rehearsing the old laws.In Deuteronomy, Moses speaks to the people about the New Covenant law of loving the Lord with their heart. That law was never spoken to the people at Mount Sinai! 

Moses himself says that the covenant spoken of in Deuteronomy was NOT — I repeat NOT — the same covenant that was made with them at Mount Sinai, but a separate law altogether.  See for yourself:

Deuteronomy 29:1 (YLT) These are the words of the covenant… apart from the covenant which He made with them in Horeb [Sinai].

Need further proof that Deuteronomy is about the Law of Faith? Well, Paul quotes the book of Deuteronomy and says that it is “the word of FAITH which we preach!”

Romans 10:7-8 (NKJV)  [7]  Who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). [That is a quote from the book of Deuteronomy]  [8]  But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach)…

Yes, Deuteronomy is when Moses speaks the Law of Faith to the people for the first time. It’s a prophesy of the New Covenant law. 

What About Good Works?

And now, with all of that say, what about doing good works!? How can we say that God ONLY requires faith and knowledge of Jesus? What about good works? Doesn’t God require good works too?

Well, here it is plain and simple: God has not given us a law to do good works, only faith in Jesus. The reason He can do that is because good works are a result of our faith and knowledge of Jesus. Faith produces love and good works (2 Cor. 3:18)! 

Romans 12:2 (NKJV) …be transformed by the renewing of your mind…

Therefore, when Jesus was asked what the greatest, most important commandment was, Jesus didn’t speak one of the Ten Commandments. He spoke the commandment of Deuteronomy (second law) – to love the Lord your God with all your heart! Faith in Jesus! This is the great commandment! No other commandment in the Bible is called the great commandment, except this one. Faith in God’s Son is the first and great commandment! But then Jesus spoke of a second commandment!

Matthew 22:37-39 (NKJV) Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart… This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Notice Jesus puts an order to these commandments. He says believing Him comes FIRST and loving your neighbor comes SECOND. He will never reverse that order. Faith first, love second. What Jesus is trying to say here is that faith produces love for your neighbor! That’s why Jesus puts them in an order. Faith comes first and then love is worked out of us second! Paul says it here:

Galatians 5:6 (KJV) For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love [produces love].

Notice that Paul says, “It doesn’t matter if a person is circumcised or uncircumcised, but faith which works by love!” That mean that faith works out love through us. Faith produces love. This verse is very similar:

1 Corinthians 7:19 (KJV) Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

Notice before, Paul said “Circumcision doesn’t matter, just faith which works by love”. Well in this verse he says, “Circumcision doesn’t matter, just keeping the commandments of God!” 

Ok, now let’s pause, I thought that God’s only law for us to keep was faith in Jesus. Does this mean that there is more than just faith in Jesus required? No, God’s only New Covenant law for us to keep is faith. Period. But when you put faith in Jesus it automatically produces a love for your neighbor! Here’s the biblical proof:

1 Timothy 1:5 (NKJV) Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith…

You, see? The result of the God’s New Covenant commandment (faith) is love.

1 Peter 1:22 (KJV) Seeing ye have purified your soulsin obeying the truth through the Spirit unto [resulting in] unfeigned love of the brethren…

Obeying the truth (faith) results in a love for your neighbor! See? Faith first, love is worked out second. 

Loving your neighbor is the fulfillment of every good work God would ever want you to do! So you could say that faith in Jesus produces every possible good work in you!

Galatians 5:14 (NKJV) For all the law [of works] is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

So, do we need to make sure we believe Jesus, but ALSO work hard to love our neighbor? No, you just start learning what Jesus has done for you and that will PRODUCE a love for your neighbor all by itself! It will produce all the good works we could never do under the Law of Works!

Faith produces love! Those are the commandments Jesus laid out, but faith is the only one we must do, because one produces the other! It’s no wonder that all through the New Testament the apostle speaks about faith and love! Ever wonder about that?

Colossians 1:4 (NKJV) …we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints… 

Ephesians 1:15 (NKJV) …I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints…

1 Thessalonians 3:6 (NKJV) …Timothy… brought us good news of your faith and love

(Also, Eph. 6:23, 1 Thes. 5:8, 2 Thes. 1:3, Phm. 1:5)

So, I think it’s clear: Faith is God’s law. And faith produces love. What do you think happens if people don’t believe in God’s Son? Well, no love is produced.

Matthew 24:12 (NKJV) And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

Lawlessness is merely unbelief. If faith produces love, then it’s no wonder that when lawlessness (unbelief) abounds, love grows cold!

In Closing

There is so much more that could be explained, but this article would go on much longer. Once you’ve learned these things, you’ll see it everywhere in the Bible. You’ll scan through Kings and Chronicles and see that the kings who did right in God’s sight were the ones that served Him “with their heart!” You’ll see the terms lawfulness and lawlessness, obedience and disobedience (as in Heb. 3-4) in a totally new light. And now you’ll know how to obey God. Obedience is just learning what Jesus has done for you with all of your heart! Love and good works will be produced from that faith but love and good works are not our obedience. Our obedience is faith. And that produces the good works all by itself! 

At the end of this age, there will be many people that will call Jesus their “Lord;” claiming that they have kept His law! They will tell Jesus of all of the good works they have done for Him! But Jesus isn’t looking for good works from us. Jesus will turn them away, because despite their attempts to do the right thing, they didn’t keep His law. And His law is simply faith in Him.

Matthew 7:22-23 (NKJV) Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ [23] And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness [unbelief]!’

We can preach the gospel, we can help others, we can do many wonders, and all of those are great things. But is that our obedience in this new covenant? No, it is not. 

Obedience isn’t doing whatever is right in our own sight. Obedience is not doing whatever we call obedience. Obedience is doing God’s law. And that law is the Law of Faith. Therefore, our obedience to God is faith. Period. If you’ll start learning and getting to know Jesus, you’ll be fulfilling God‘s commandments 100%, because obedience is faith (Num. 14:11, 24)!

Q&A:

Q: Jesus commanded lots of things in the Bible. How can you say that faith is the only thing we need to do?

A: There are many, many things that Jesus told us are proper to do. That’s totally true, but there’s only one law! Nothing else is LAW to the believer except faith. All good works are produced from that one thing.

Here’s a great example: Did Jesus not command His disciples to raise the dead and cast out devils? Of course, He did.

Matthew 10:8 (KJV) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils…

And yet, Jesus says that men will come to Him at the end of the age saying, “We cast out devils in Your name” and Jesus will tell them “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Mat. 7:23)

So sure, Jesus told His disciples to cast out devils, but that’s not the law. So, despite men having cast out devils, Jesus will tell them, “Yeah, but you didn’t keep my law!” And despite there being many, many things that the Bible advocates for men to do, that’s not your obedience. Faith is the only law. And all good works are a result of faith. In fact, there are no good works produced through us aside from learning and knowing Jesus (Rom. 12:2, 2 Cor. 3:18).

Q: What if a person is living in sin? Are you saying that it’s ok as long as they believe Jesus?

A: Of course, sin is NOT ok. But their answer isn’t in working harder on their behavior (if we could do that, we could’ve stayed in the Old Covenant). The only reason people live in sin is because they lack knowledge of Jesus. So, the answer is for them to renew their mind!

2 Peter 1:7-9 (KJV) And to godliness brotherly kindness… [8] For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. [9] But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

Q: How can you say faith is the only thing that is necessary? Faith is dead without works!

A: Right. So, if there are no good works, what is dead? The faith is dead. Fix the faith and there will be good works. It’s the faith that’s the issue.

Q: If faith is our only obedience to God and unbelief is the only disobedience in this New Covenant, are you saying that sin is not disobedience?

A: If you’re talking about sinful actions (aside from unbelief), then that is correct. Sinful actions are NOT disobedience. Sin is wrong, but it’s not disobedience. Sin is unprofitable, but it’s not against God’s law. It’s just a sign that you need to renew your mind. Paul says that here:

1 Corinthians 10:23 (NKJV) All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.

Q: Why do some places in the Bible say to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength (as in Mark 12:30, Deuteronomy 6:4-5)? 

A: The strength that God is speaking of in Deuteronomy (and then quoted by Jesus) is strength of your heart. It means to do it with vehemence, with all the force of your heart! And you know this is speaking about strength of your heart, because after God gives this new commandment, He clarifies:

Deuteronomy 6:4-6 (NKJV) (4)  “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! (5)  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. (6)  “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.

God commands “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” but right after He says the word “strength” He clarifies and tells us that this command is performed completely in your heart (And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.)

For further proof that this word strength is just talking about keeping this law of faith with all strength of your heart, compare Deuteronomy 5:32, 6:5 with Joshua 1:7.