In this post I will quote biblical passages to prove that the sacred Scriptures define true faith as faithfulness to Christ. I will demonstrate that the God-breathed revelation defines belief in Christ as being faithful to the Lord Jesus by obeying his word.
In this first part I will simply quote the verses without offering much commentary, since the inspired texts speak for themselves. The readers should be able to see that faith and belief are equated with obedience and faithfulness to Christ’s commandments.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one WHO DOES the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Everyone then who hears these words of mine and DOES THEM will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and DOES NOT DO THEM will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:21-23
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever DOES what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that HIS WORKS have been carried out in God… Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey (apeithon) the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:14-21, 36
Here’s how the lexicon defines the term apeithon:
apeitheó: to disobey
Original Word: ἀπειθέω
Part of Speech: Verb
Phonetic Spelling: (ap-i-theh’-o)
Definition: to disobey
Usage: I disobey, rebel, am disloyal, refuse conformity.
NAS Exhaustive Concordance
disbelieved (1), disobedient (10), do not obey (1), obey (2).
Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 544: ἀπειθέω
ἀπειθέω, ἀπειθῶ; imperfect ἠπείθουν; 1 aorist ἠπείθησα; “to be ἀπειθής (which see); not to allow oneself to be persuaded; not to comply with;
a. to refuse or withhold belief (in Christ, in the gospel; opposed to πιστεύω): τῷ υἱῷ, John 3:36; τῷ λόγῳ, 1 Peter 2:8; 1 Peter 3:1; absolutely of those who reject the gospel, (R. V. to be disobedient; cf. b.): Acts 14:2; Acts 17:5 (Rec.); ; Romans 15:31; 1 Peter 2:7 (T Tr WH ἀπιστοῦσιν).
b. to refuse belief and obedience: with the dative of thing or of person, Romans 2:8 (τῇ ἀλήθεια); f (τῷ θεῷ); 1 Peter 4:17; absolutely, Romans 10:21 (Isaiah 65:2); Hebrews 3:18; Hebrews 11:31; 1 Peter 3:20. (In the Sept. a common equivalent to מָרָה, סָרַר; in Greek writings often from Aeschylus Ag. 1049 down; in Homer et al. ἀπίθειν.)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life… Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have DONE GOOD to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.” John 5:24, 28-29
“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.’ Then they said to him, ‘What must we DO, to be DOING THE WORKS of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’” John 6:27-29
“As he was saying these things, many believed in him. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” John 8:30-32
“‘If you love me, you will KEEP my commandments… In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.’ Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, ‘Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?’ Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.’” John 14:15, 20-24
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that DOES NOT BEAR FRUIT he takes away, and every branch that DOES BEAR FRUIT he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone DOES NOT ABIDE IN ME he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 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. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends IF YOU DO WHAT I COMMAND YOU. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” John 15:1-11
“A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.” 1 Peter 2:8
“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives… because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.” 1 Peter 3:1, 20
“but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, “They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.” As I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.”’ Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’ For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:6-19
“For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened… Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience… for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” Read full chapter Hebrews 4:2, 6, 10
“And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,” Hebrews 5:9
This next example is rather interesting:
“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. BY FAITH Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.” Hebrews 11:30-31
James employs this very example of Rahab to prove that a person is not justified by faith alone!
“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified BY WORKS when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” James 2:24-26
Hebrews defines as faith what James calls a work! I.e., true faith is an action which seeks to obey and do what God commands.
This shows that the Holy Bible describes true faith as being faithful to do what God requires since, just as the body cannot live apart from the spirit, faith is not faith if it isn’t a working faith.
In other words, the faith that saves isn’t merely a faith that results in works. Rather, true faith is itself faithfulness, being faithful to obey God’s commands.
Lord willing, I shall have a lot more to say in subsequent posts in this series.