“Then the angel of the LORD called again to Abraham from heaven. “This is what the LORD says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies.” Gen. 22:15-17 NLT
The word obedience is often used rather loosely. The fact is, a person is either obedient in God's eyes or he is disobedient. You see, God does not measure obedience like we do. We look on the outward appearance; God looks on the heart.
Obedience is, first and foremost, something that comes from the heart. Obedience is an attitude. It is possible that because a person can appear to be obedient on the outside and actually be hating every minute of it.
True obedience is nondiscriminatory. It is an ongoing attitude that operates all the time. A person who knowingly obeys part of God's commandments and not others is not 50% obedient or almost obedient--that person is simply disobedient.
When God talks about disobedience, He is talking about voluntary sin.
The obedient Christian is always sensitive to his failures and mistakes, and by prayer and the engrafting of the Word of God by the Holy Spirit, he is ever pressing on toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Faith and true obedience simply always go together. You can't have one without the other, because obedience in the final analysis is what salvation is all about. A person who is not converted cannot obey God, because the carnal heart is not subject to the law of God.
This is the reason a person who has not accepted Christ cannot be obedient in the true sense of the word. Obey is what people who have received salvation by faith in Jesus do. What I am saying is that it is impossible to truly obey God without faith in Jesus.
In a sense, we can say that the first step in salvation is that the lost are called to come to Christ, and then, having come to Christ, they are called to a life of obedience in Him.
Obedience is the objective test as to whether a person has really received salvation. Jesus said, putting it in plain English, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." He also, says that "a tree is known by its fruits."
The moment we trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, He sends the Holy Spirit to dwell inside us. The inner reality of the Holy Spirit takes obedience to a new level. Not only does the Holy Spirit empower us to obey God (Romans 8:13), but He also enables us to rest in the security of our salvation in Jesus Christ.
Through the reality of the Holy Spirit obedience is transformed from a heartless routine to an expression of love for God. The inner reality of the Holy Spirit transforms our relationship with God from an impersonal, distant relationship to a personal, intimate relationship where everything we do in life involves our relationship with Him – where we see God involved in everything we do through the eyes of faith.
Obedience is not optional.
“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.” Romans 8:12-13 NLT