At its core, this blog is about discipleship. It’s about living your life wholly devoted to Christ so you can live out the life He created you to live. What this looks like in practice will vary from person to person, but the one thing all disciples have in common is obedience to God. By definition, obedience to God implies you have to do something in order to be His disciple. This isn’t a works based salvation; it’s works because of salvation.
As A.W. Tozer once said, “Salvation without obedience is a self-contradicting impossibility!” Many people have bought into the teaching of salvation through grace alone to the exclusion of any responsibility for works of obedience. That’s a cheap and easy salvation never put forth by Jesus.
I’ve mentioned it before but will touch briefly here again on the verses most use to defend a grace only salvation. Ephesians 2:8 and 9 says, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast.” The problem is many stop there without continuing on to verse 10 which says, “For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” When taken in their full context, these verses state we are saved by grace in order to do the works He created us to do. Salvation is by the grace of God, and our works of obedience prove the sincerity of our commitment to live for Him.
My whole point in addressing this again is to stress the importance of obedience to God in our lives. You don’t get the salvation without the sincerity of commitment. Salvation always results in a change of heart which is quickly followed by a change in your actions. In other words, you can’t claim the grace offered by God and never change your heart, mind, and activity. That’s hypocrisy. That’s living at best a lukewarm life which Jesus said very graphically would cause Him to vomit you out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16). James, the brother of Jesus, says we are deceiving ourselves if we only profess Jesus with our lips and not our actions (James 1:21-25). Love is a two-way street. One-sided relationships always end. And no relationship is more important or bears such eternal consequences as our relationship with Jesus.
Obedience to God is the calling card of the disciple and must be the focus of our lives. Jesus gave everything for us. Is obedience too much to ask in return? Absolutely not. When you are tempted to go your own way instead of the one Christ has told you to go, think about what you are doing. You are telling Him what He did for you warrants no response from you. You are saying it was okay for Christ to be spit on, betrayed, brutally tortured, nailed to a cross, and suffocated, but it’s not okay for you to not get your way. While it may sound harsh, this is the reality of a grace only, obey when convenient, salvation. I would argue it’s no salvation at all. If you would be a disciple of Jesus, obedience to God will be no afterthought; it will be the driving force of your life. This is what it means to be a disciple of Christ.