Faith = Obedience to His Word + Consistency in Our Walk

by Rex Rouis

The Bible says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, but hearing (from God) requires obedience. So, one could say that faith comes when we exhibit obedience to the Word of God. And since the kind of obedience that pleases God exhibits itself in a consistent walk, obedience must be maintained for a period of time. The parable of the sower – Matthew chapter 13, Mark chapter 4, and Luke chapter 8 – is one of the more important parables in the Bible, and makes reference to this time requirement in each soil description.

Soil One – No period of obedience – The word ‘immediate’ is used. This describes an individual not achieving any level of obedience. They don’t understand the command because they are not fully interested in hearing it. They have ears to hear but they don’t fully hear. The good seed does not have time to enter the soil before outside forces steal it away. They simple do not care enough to give the seed the time it deserves.

Soil Two – Insufficient period of obedience – The phrases ‘after a while’ and ‘only temporary’ are used. This obedience lasts until it is tested, and they fail this ‘time of temptation’. This failure is sufficient to interrupt the obedience and the seed does not ripen. No fruit (from the promise) is brought to ‘maturity’.

Soil Three – Inconsistent obedience – In this description a span of time is implied in that the thorns were apparently given time to grow and ‘choke’ the good seed. This describes an up-down inconsistent type of obedience. Yes, the good seed is allowed in, but so are the thorn seeds. Disobedience in the form of irresponsibility allows the thorns to grow, and this in turn causes the good seed to become unfruitful. This individual lacks Godly hunger.

There are two possible scenarios portrayed here. One is where the individual simply wanders off from the things of God, and the effects of the world take over. The other is an ongoing cycle of planting and seed death. The individual starts out well but never quite reaches that necessary level of consistent obedience. This cycle is an accurate picture of the rut that many Christians live in. They are working hard but they are not really going anywhere. Or to say it another way, they are working hard but not really growing anything. The plants are there, but very few if any make it to maturity. The blessings of God are always just out of reach.

Soil Four – Obedience period is reached and accepted – The phrases ‘hold it fast’, ‘with perseverance’, and ‘brings forth’ are used. This is a picture of one who is fully involved with the growing of their seed. These individuals are active and attentive to the seed. Temptations are overcome and thorns are vigorously rooted out in a timely manner. Obedience, responsibility, and perseverance are all necessary, each powered with the determination to continue on as long as it takes.

Once the required level of obedience has been maintained for the appropriate amount of time, God’s acceptance comes. This is the concept of ‘witness’ that Hebrews 11 talks about. It is at this moment that faith occurs in the heart, and if that faith is then acted upon – in continued obedience – the continued obedience is now called believing. Believing is simply acting consistent with a knowing from God – a knowing of what you have and of what you know to do. This knowing is based on the Word of God, and is the result of the fully ripened seed of the promise having come alive in the heart.

Believing is simply acting consistent with a knowing from God

Let me add that perfect obedience in this world is unattainable, except for and by Jesus Himself. Therefore, God doesn’t require perfect obedience, but rather a certain level of obedience, and this level is decided by Him and Him alone. Grace and mercy become big factors here, and remember, the measure you give out to others is the measure God will give to you. Big grace to others means big grace back to you. Now, go out and plant a good future with the Word of God.


  1. Your statement shown below copied from the beginning-
    “So, one could say that faith comes when we exhibit obedience to the Word of God.”

    I don’t mean to be picky but I believe your statement needs to be restructured as follows: “So, one could say that, true faith, produces obedience to God’s word”.

    What are your thought’s

  2. Sometimes, the action of obedience can be as simple as a speech-act. (Romans 10:10) Often the obedience takes the form of a chain of actions of obedience each building on the last, with correspondingly increasing faith.

  3. The problem arises when people think it must ALL be one thing, lest it be tainted by something else. Whereas this works for theoretical positions in logic, it doesn’t necessarily apply in the Way of the Living God, which is a Living Way, who is Jesus. We don’t have to fearfully jump in heavily into SOLA FIDE as if it were tremendously dangerous to think of adding anything to faith – this was Luther’s extreme position, which he found necessary in the context of his argument with Romanism. But we aren’t Luther, and we aren’t in his position. We have the luxury to tread more lightly in these matters, and come to a reasonable and healthy balance, whereby we take Paul AND James and we look at the matter from both their points of view, and we formulate (if we must formulate) accordingly in a nuanced and careful way, keeping hold of the one and not letting go of the other. We are not in a fight to the death, like Luther was, so we don’t have to argue his extreme position in fear and trembling lest we admit one particle of error. We are living in peaceful times (at the moment). So let us teach with that divine wisdom that brings peace, rather than with the earthly wisdom of people fighting each other.

  4. See the Book of James for an illumination on this faith comes by obedience thing. Be not hearers only, but doers of the Word. And again in 1 John, if anyone says he belongs to Christ, let him walk as Jesus walked. The whole Bible agrees with the idea that faith is love in action, indeed, doesn’t the Scripture itself say this in Galatians 5:6? I think “sola fide” is as much an exaggeration as the idea of justification by works. “It is good to hold on to the one, without letting go of the other” (Ecclesiastes 7:18). “Faith without action is dead; what counts is faith working through love.” (James 2:26; Galatians 5:6)

  5. I learned quite alot from reading this,I do understand now and it makes sense to me,realising what i have been doing.Thank you

  6. I’ve been doing a study on “Being Born Again” and seeing it as something attained as we walk in obedience to Christ. I have also been waiting on the Lord for a deeper understanding of Hebrew 11:1 and last night while in bed I was dreaming (I believe) and this scripture came to me (Heb. 11:1) and I was seeing it as the substance being a person and seeing the scripture almost as it was the same experience as “Being Born Again”. The substance (Spirit)and the evidence (experience) of things not seen. Also the scripture in Galatians came to me “We’re kept under the law until Faith comes”. It all seemed to tie together for me at the time. What do you think.

  7. I like your logic in this. But I don’t read this as God accepts my faith as true faith when I am consistently obedient to his words. Jesus us easy Bro, you don’t have to jump no pews, run down no isles, just believe He is who he says he is, a rewarder of those who walk by faith, who diligently seek him. He already accepts me now that I trust him and seek him. Right?

  8. I have always believed that I almost fully understand the concept of faith, and was able to conceptualize it fully so. However, much is still to be learned – thank you very much, may the good Lord continue to richly bless this evangelism.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.