What’s the point of obedience? Since a person is saved by grace alone through faith in Christ alone, then why does obedience matter? Why not believe in Jesus and then live however one wants?
The answer to this is that it is a matter of consistency. It is wholly inconsistent for a person to be saved and to not live accordingly.
Paul, in the process of laying out the gospel, writes,
Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. – Romans 6:13
You see, because of Paul’s prior explanation that peace with God is a free gift, that all one must do is have faith in Jesus, he anticipated the objection,
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? – Romans 6:1
His answer was an emphatic “No!” That’s not how it works. When sinners are saved, not only are they saved from hell, but they are also saved from sin. They were slaves to sin, but they have been freed from that bondage, and now they are slaves to Christ and to His righteousness.
What stands out from Romans 6:13 is that Paul tells his audience to present themselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life. This is what we mean by consistency.
When someone buys you lunch, you may have the desire to treat them next time. When someone does you a favor, you may be inclined to thank them with a gift. When someone saves your life, there is a deeper, lasting indebtedness that naturally floods your heart.
What, then, should result from being brought from death to life? What should be evoked in us when we realize that we were wretched sinners, deserving of God’s wrath, but He gave His only Son, and that if we believe in Him, we will not perish, but have life eternal? Well, certainly not nothing. Certainly not apathy. When someone realizes what he deserves and what he’s been given instead, and what it cost to give it to him, the consistent response is eternal worship (which includes obedience).
Now, because we are still being made more like Jesus each day, we don’t yet do this perfectly. But we who are saved are dispositioned to worship as such. We desire it, and are grieved when we sin.
But this is why we obey. We obey because we are those who have been brought from death to life. Praise God!
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