Only one person’s obedience is involved in our right standing with God – Jesus! (Rom 5:19) Our standing with God is 100% based on what Christ did. God’s relationship with us is a covenant relationship between Him and His Son. If we except Jesus, our life becomes hidden with Christ and we live in the same perfect relationship to the Father that Jesus does.
For the believer, obedience FOR righteousness is antithetical to what the Bible teaches about grace.
Nevertheless, our obedience matters. First, our obedience is essential to our transformation (i.e., maturation) process in the Lord. Secondly, our obedience carries with it great gain / reward both here on earth and in heaven.
Everything we receive is by grace and grace and grace alone. So, how could it be that our obedience can carry a reward?
The Answer: See 1 Cor 3:11-15 “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s wok which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
Christ’s obedience is the foundation – on which we build with works not FOR righteousness, but FROM righteousness.
These are not works to put is in right standing with God – there is only ONE person who can accomplish that work – Jesus. That work is called the foundation and it has been laid and it is done! We are supposed to build on the foundation of Christ with gold, silver, and precious stones (works of the Spirit). On the other hand, wood, hay, and straw (works of the flesh) will burn up when our work is tested.
NOTE: our work will be tested by THE SORT of work it is, not THE SIZE of work it is.
If we do a work, on the other hand, because of our right standing with the Father (out of the overflow of the heart), that is a GOOD WORK! To summarize:
New Testament obedience . . . THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH.
Obedience proceeds from belief. It’s not so much a focus on obedience as it is a focus on right believing – and right belief produces right action. That is the core of obedience in the New Covenant – i.e., obedience under grace.