When we hear some Christians talk about obeying their faith, we must realize that it’s not our obedience that makes us right with God, but rather Jesus’ obedience to the Father. We can never do all the work necessary to get into heaven on our own merits, but God already knows that. Jesus was the only One Who was able to obey every single commandment of the Law, and He tempered those commandments with grace. Our faith in His grace is what justifies us before God.
Some people believe that a performance-based Christian life is the key to salvation, but it is actually the faith we have in Jesus Christ, not our own actions, that matters. Faith is the acceptance of the things we can’t see with our physical eyes, but feel in our hearts. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). This is what really matters to God.
God has made available to us everything we’ll ever need through Jesus’ death and resurrection, and when we choose to accept those blessings by faith, we demonstrate our obedience. Faith has always been important to Him. “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8, NASB). God calls us to obey, even when our intellectual minds don’t understand what He’s doing at the moment. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7, NASB).
Our obedience can falter on a daily basis, but Jesus’ obedience is perfect. This is what we can base our spiritual walk on. We can rest assured that our salvation doesn’t depend on how well we can obey, but on the obedience He showed more than 2,000 years ago (Philippians 2:8). He has finished all the work, and now it’s up to us to decide whether to believe and have faith in the power of what He did.
When Jesus obeyed and submitted to being baptized in the Jordan River, God publicly declared His favor on Him (Matthew 3:17). When we accept Jesus by faith and obey His teachings, that favor will fall on us as well. That’s what empowers and transforms our lives. “It is through Him that we have received grace (God’s unmerited favor) and [our] apostleship to promote obedience to the faith and make disciples for His name’s sake among all the nations” (Romans 1:5, AMP).
Another area where we can stumble is when we get confused about what to have faith in. When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament, the people still lived under the Law requiring people to “do” something to get right with God. Back then, all the people had was their faith in the commandments to keep them from death.
When Jesus came, He replaced condemnation with love and forgiveness. He took away the threat of death, and brought instead the promise of life. Faith in the letter of the Law is now secondary to faith in Jesus, Who asks for our obedience. Like twin sisters, grace and faith go hand in hand. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9).