In a thread at the pseudo- fundamentalist blog Sharper Iron a Pastor asked for information about the relation between faith and obedience.
Following is an excerpt from The Gospel Controversy, an article which appeared in the official periodical of Preach The Word Ministries, October-December, 1999.
The Bible teaches that true saving faith is, in itself an act of obedience to Jesus Christ. This theme is like a thread running through the fabric of Paul’s letter to the Romans. Paul begins by stating that the reason God made him an apostle was “for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name” (Rom. 1:5). Further, he describes the sinfulness of mankind by speaking of “them who are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness” (Rom. 2:8). Sinners are disobedient to God while they obey lawlessness. He tells the Roman Christians (and us present day believers) “that ye were the servants of sin, but ye obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” (Rom. 6:17). In chapter ten, Paul reiterates six times that men receive justification by faith (Rom. 10:4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11). He then equates faith with calling on the Lord (Romans 10:12, 13). After the great challenge that some have never called on Christ because they have never heard of Him (Romans 10:14, 15), Paul turns to the nation of Israel. Israel’s lost condition is not because they had never heard of Christ but because “they have not all obeyed the gospel” (Rom. 10:16). No point could be more clear. When a disobedient sinner truly trusts Christ to save him, that act of faith is itself obedience to God! Paul’s benediction to Romans concludes the theme. Speaking of the Gospel, the Apostle tells us: “But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God made known to all nations for the obedience of faith” (Rom. 16:26).
Rather than make demands on the lost that Scripture does not make, let us preach the Gospel as it is, dealing squarely with the issues of sin, repentance, and faith. The lost who respond to Christ in true faith will obey Him at that point. Convicted and convinced by the Holy Spirit, they will understand that their obedience to sin places them under the judgment of God. They will trust Christ alone for salvation, calling on Him. That is obedience to the Gospel! Those who have so trusted Christ can be trained as disciples of the Lord Jesus. They will follow Him in baptism, the first step of obedience to Christ in the Christian life. They will surrender their wills fully to Christ and follow Him. They will be willing to take up a cross, enduring humiliation, suffering, and possible death for the One who literally bore a cross to save them from sin.
Reprinted by permission
The last paragraph is key. The first highlighted portion shows that Lordship’s call for upfront commitments to obey, follow, surrender and bears the cross to get saved, are demands which the Bible does not make on a lost man.
The second highlighted portion shows that obedience should be the natural result of saving faith. Some might state it this way,
"The lost who respond to Christ in true faith will obey Him from that point forward."This article contrasts the Lordship idea of commitments to obedience and discipleship for salvation with the Bible's plan of faith resulting in obedience and commitment to discipleship.