Is Obedience Required?
There is a doctrinal position that states that we do not have to “do anything” in order to walk with the Messiah, God will do it all through us, so if we’d just get out of the way, then God would do what needs to be done. There’s also the view that we are “under grace” and not “under the law” and therefore there are no requirements for us in how we live. If this is true then why does the Bible repeatedly tell us that we DO have a part to do? Yes, we are saved by grace; it is a gift we cannot earn. But once saved, Scripture indicates that God does expect us to walk obediently to His Word; we have choices to make and have a conscious part to walk out. Some of the Scriptures telling us this are listed below.
Please read carefully and keep in mind that the position above cannot be true if these Scriptures really mean what they say. If they do, then it becomes our choice as to whether or not we will believe the Bible and act upon what it says, or whether we’ll just give a passing nod, acknowledging that it says it, but do nothing about implementing it in our lives.
1. Matthew 7:21-23:
21 " Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
22 " Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.' (For more information on what this means, see What Does Lawlessness Mean in the New Testament?)
It is your choice to do the will of the Father or not.
2. Hebrews 10:26-27:
26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.
3. John 14:15, 21, 23:
15 " If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
21 He who possesses My commands (1785) and guards them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I shall love him and manifest Myself to him.
23 Y’shua answered him, “If anyone loves Me, he shall guard My Word. And My Father shall love him, and we shall come to him and make Our stay with Him.
So, if we keep Y’shua’s commands (an action we choose to do), then He and the Father will love us and make their stay with us.
4. Galatians 5:19-20:
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the
5. Revelation 21:8:
8 "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
From these Scriptures it seems clear that some deeds keep us from inheriting “the kingdom of heaven.” So we have to choose what type of life we will live.
6. Matthew 6:14-15:
14 "For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 "But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
Yes, God gives you the ability to do so, but He will not do so unless you CHOOSE to forgive. Then He enables you to do it.
7. Rev. 3:3-5:
3 'So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.
4 'But you have a few people in
5 'He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
6 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'
8. John 15:5-7, 10:
5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
10 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
(For more information on what commandments for New Testament believers to keep means, see What Does Lawlessness Mean in the New Testament?)
9. 1 John 2:3-6
3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.
4 The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;
5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:
6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
10. John 8:29:
29 "And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him."
Since we are to walk as He did, we are also to do what is pleasing to Him.
11. 2 Peter 2:20-22:
20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.
21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.
22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT," and, "A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire."
It is the person’s CHOICE whether or not to turn away.
12. John 8:1-11:
1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them.
3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court,
4 they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.
5 "Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?"
6 They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground.
7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, " He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
8 Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court.
10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?"
11 She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more."
If nothing is required after Y’shua saves her, and God’s going to do it all through her, why did Y’shua tell her to “go and sin no more”? Either the will and choices of man play into how we live our lives, or they don’t. Here we can see the Y’shua’s statement to this woman supports that we DO have choices to make in how we will live our lives as a believer.
13. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6:
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,
4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.
We can choose to do the things listed in verse 5, or we can read it, mentally acknowledge it, but never “do the work” and never gain the benefits from the effort to obey what is written.
14. Romans 8:12-14:
12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh —
13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
This makes it pretty clear that you have to participate.
15. Philippians 2:12:
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;
13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Yes, YHWH will work in you to will, but also to DO; to work for His good pleasure.
16. 2 Timothy 2:15:
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
We have to study, we have to know how to handle the word of truth, so something is required of us, study and obedience to what is written to be a “workman that needeht not to be ashamed.”
17. 2 Timothy 2:19:
Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and “Let every one who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness.”
It is up to you to choose to abstain.
In the life of someone we know, YHWH spoke in 1995 about abstaining from unclean meats. He began to talk to this person about this long before they'd ever heard anyone else say that the Torah commands were still in effect and that the New Testament did not contradict this information. It was up to this person to CHOOSE whether or not to obey what YHWH told them. The consequences of disobedience would have been deadly. They were having bizarre symptoms at that time, but the doctors did not know what was wrong. Had they not chosen to obey what YHWH told them on this issue, it is now easy to see in hindsight that their body could not have endured with the added burden of the toxins from unclean meats. Because they chose to obey what God said as opposed to the traditions taught in church (that the food “laws” had passed away) they lived. Had they not done so, the doctors say they would not be alive today.
18. 1 John 3:21-24
21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;
22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.
24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
The Spirit is a “tangible” confirmation that we are keeping His commandments and doing the things that are pleasing in His sight. WE are to keep and do.
19. John (John the Baptist is speaking)
He who believes¹ in the Son possess everlasting life, but he who does not obey (KJV does not believe)² the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
I looked up the two “believes” and found something very interesting. They are not the same word!!
Believeth¹ 4100, pisteuo (pist-yoo’o) to have faith (in, upon or with respect to a person or thing), i.e. credit, by implication to entrust (esp. one’s spiritual well-being to Christ); believe(r), commit (trust), put in trust with
Believeth² 544, apeitheo (ap-i-theh’o) to disbelieve (willfully and perversely) not believe, disobedient, obey not, unbelieving; [from 545 (apithes, ap-i-thace’) from 1 as a negative particle and 3982, unpersuadable, i.e. disobedient]
544 is a derivation of 545, meaning that the root of the word carries the meaning of the derivation. Therefore, both of these words (544 & 545) convey a strong meaning of disobedience, not simply unbelief as the KJV has it translated.
If disobedience is not an issue for the believer, then why is this very strong passage in the Bible warning us of the cost of disobedience?
20. Luke 6:46:
46 "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?
47 " Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like:
48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.
49 "But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great."
21. James 1:22-25:
22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;
24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, (Torah) and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
It takes a choice to do and to abide by the Word. God enables us to do it, but not without our decision to wish to do so.
22. 1 John 5:2-3:
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
It is possible to obey the commandments (Torah) of God without it being burdensome; John said so.
23. 2 Peter 3:14:
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him
To make an effort requires us to DO something.
24. 1 Corinthians 7:19:
The circumcision is naught, and the uncircumcision is naught, but the guarding of the commands of God does matter!
Guarding requires action on our part.
25. Revelation 14:12:
Here is the endurance of the set-apart ones (remnant), here are those guarding the commands of God and the belief in Y’shua.
Guarding is an action we choose or don’t choose to do.
26. Revelation 22:14:
Blessed are those doing His commands so that the authority shall be theirs unto the tree of life, and to enter through the gates into the city.
I don’t want to be one of those not keeping the commands (the Torah) of God!! I want access to the tree of life and into the gates of God’s city!
27. Romans 6:19:
I speak as a man, because of the weakness of your flesh. For even as you did present your members as servants of uncleanness and of lawlessness (Torahless ness) resulting in lawlessness, so now present your members as servants of righteousness resulting in set-apartness. (holiness)
YOU have to choose to present your “members” as servants of righteousness.
28. Exodus 19:5-6:
5) And now if you diligently obey My voice and shall guard My covenant, then you shall be My treasured possession above all the peoples – for all the earth is Mine
6) and you shall be to Me a reign of priests and a set-apart nation.
This was something
1 Peter 2:9:
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that you may show forth the praises of Him who has brought you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
He’s talking about those brought into renewed covenant through the death, burial and resurrection of Messiah!
29. Deuteronomy 10:12-16:
12) And now, Yisrael, what is Yahweh your God asking of you, but to fear Yahweh your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, and to serve Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your being
13) to guard the commands of Yahweh and His laws which I command you today for your good?
Meanings found in v. 13:
guard (keep, KJV) 8104, shamar, guard, protect, attend, heed (to self), keep observe, preserve, regard, watch.
commands (commandments, KJV) 4687 mitzvah, command, law, ordinance, precept.
laws (statutes, KJV) 2708 chuqqah appointed custom, manner, ordinance, site, statute
30. Deuteronomy 30:6-8
6) And הּוּהּיּ (Yahweh) your God shall circumcise your heart* and the heart of your seed, to love הּוּהּיּ your God with all your heart and with all your being, so that you might live,
7) and הּוּהּיּ your God shall put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.
8) And you shall turn back and obey the voice of הּוּהּיּ and do all His commands which I command you today.
Here we can see that God does part, but we also have a part to do.
If our salvation is assured and nothing is required of us and God’s going to do it all through us, if the first covenant making Abraham beneficiary made all succeeding generations “qualified” then why was Moses not allowed into the promised land? Why was Korah and his entire family swallowed up in the earth? Why were thousands destroyed with the golden calf, the quail, and other episodes in the Tanach? Why were those who kindled “strange fire” destroyed if they are immediately “saved” by the first covenant? Why was
It is true that I cannot change my heart or even will a change of heart; only God can do that. But, I DO have a choice about my actions and whether I will choose to participate in sin or not.
We are saved by the forgiveness of our sins*. But once forgiven are we then at liberty to continue to sin? No! Receiving salvation is not a license to continue to sin (Romans 6:1). Although we cannot earn our way into heaven by our deeds, we must still behave in a godly (Torah observant) fashion.
For a complete study on what this means, see What Does Lawlessness Mean in the New Testament?)
We must walk out our faith; we must show and prove our faith. How? By keeping the Torah.
'But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by what I do. James 2:18
Remember, we are told that faith without works is dead.
You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar/ You see that his faith and his actions were working together and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to Abraham as righteousness and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. James 2:20-24
The Scriptures clearly say we are not justified by faith alone. The choices we make matter. This is our part: choosing to walk obediently or not.