On Pentecost, those who accepted Peter’s preaching were commanded to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus, the Christ, unto remission of their sins, and about 3,000 rendered prompt obedience. And so in other cases. In reports of the cases of conversion under the preaching of these inspired men, there is not a hint that sinners were saved the moment they believed. “And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number that believed turned unto the Lord” (Acts 11:21). If they were saved the moment they believed, they were saved before they turned unto the Lord; but healing, or salvation, follows the turning to the Lord (Isa. 55:7; Matt. 13:15; Acts 28:27).
No arguments of the faith-only advocates can do away with the plain statements of our Lord and His inspired preachers on the necessity of obedience. The fact is that in their arguments they array Scripture against Scripture. Our Lord makes this plain statement: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). To say, “Lord, Lord,” shows some degree of faith; but it is a dead faith, for there is no obedience to God’s will. Such faith profits nothing—puts no one into the kingdom of heaven.
The writer of Hebrews says of Jesus, the Christ: “Though he were a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:8-9). No one can misunderstand that plain statement, nor twist its meaning into something that it does not say. Some are so set on evading its force that they seek to array some other passage against it, and that is not fair dealing with the word of God. If a man does not obey the Lord Jesus Christ, He is not the author of salvation to such a man.