Scripture speaks of the Gospel as the revelation of Jesus Christ and Him crucified (Romans 1:1-5, 16-17; 1 Cor. 1:17-31; 2:2; 15:1-4). It is “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8). Christ is the One revealed in the Gospel. He is the Truth (John 1:17-18; 14:6). The Gospel is the truth of Christ and our salvation in and by Him (Eph. 1:13; Isa. 12:2; Matt. 1:21, 23). And “the faith” is another name for the Gospel, the truth of our salvation (Acts 13:8; Rom. 3:3; Gal. 1:23; Eph. 4:13). Our faith holds Christ, the Son of God, the crucified, risen and reigning Lamb of God as all of our confidence (Php. 3:3; Matt. 16:16) and hope (1 Tim. 1:1). Our faith in Christ is called “obedience.”
In 1 Peter 3:1, wives are instructed to submit to their husbands that if any husband “obey not the word”, he may without the word be won (converted) by the conversation (manner of life) of his wife. The unbelieving husband is disobedient to the word. Therefore, faith is obedience to the word, that is, the Gospel.
In Romans 10:16, the Apostle Paul cited Isaiah 53:1. He equated what Isaiah called disobedience to unbelief of the Gospel. “But they have not all obeyed the Gospel,” for Isaiah said, “Lord, who hath believed our report?” (Rom. 10:16). Here again, we see the equivalence between Gospel obedience and faith in Christ. Faith in Christ is Gospel obedience.
We find Gospel obedience defined in several scriptures. In Romans 10:8, Paul quotes and explains God’s words by Moses from Deuteronomy 30:12-14. Paul says, “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach” (Rom. 10:8). But in Deuteronomy. 30:12-14, Moses told Israel not to think in their hearts or ask, “Who shall go into heaven to bring this commandment to us that we may do it? Or, who shall go beyond the sea (into the deep) and bring it to us that we may do it?" Moses went on to say, “But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it” (Deut. 30:12-14). Thus, the Spirit of God by Paul explains Moses’ words to us. “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach” (Rom. 10:8). The obedience of which Moses spoke and which Paul explained is faith in Christ and Him crucified. That obedience is faith in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ our Mediator, who descended from heaven to Calvary's cross and ascended back to heaven to heaven's throne (compare John 3:13-15 and Eph. 4:10-11 to Romans 10:6-9). Thus, the Gospel is sent by God and preached by His servants and “made known to all nations for the obedience of faith” (Romans 16:25-26).
Peter spoke of the obedience of faith by inspiration of the Holy Spirit when he said, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:2). The Holy Spirit gives us faith in Christ, and in believing, He sprinkles our conscience with the blood of Christ. This is God's application to us of our salvation that Christ finished at Calvary. In believing Christ and Him crucified, Christ becomes our only and all-sufficient confidence and hope before God, now in our conscience and in the day of Judgment. And as God has given us to believe Christ according to the truth of His word, so it is that we already possess the salvation that was accomplished by Christ and finished in heaven. Faith brings near to us what is true in heaven (Matt. 6:10; Heb. 11:1).
Peter also spoke of the obedience of faith in 1 Peter 4:17. “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God?” And Peter said again, “Who by him [Christ] do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (1 Pet. 1:21-22). Thus, we believe Christ through the work of the Spirit of God. In so doing, we receive application in our own experience of Christ’s blood and His justifying righteousness. Believing Christ is the obedience of faith.
The Apostle Paul spoke in numerous places of the obedience of faith: at the outset of his epistle to the Romans (Rom. 1:5), in the middle of that epistle (Rom. 10:16-17) and at the close of it (Rom. 16:25-26). Paul referred to this obedience of faith as being freed from enslavement to sin. "God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you" (Rom. 6:17).
Gospel obedience is faith in Christ. Faith is God’s gift (Eph. 2:8-9). It is the gift of His grace (Acts 18:27). All who believe Christ were ordained to eternal life and are therefore drawn to come to Christ by faith in Him (Acts 13:48; John 6:29, 35, 65).
Saving faith has but one object of confidence and hope: it is Christ who finished the work of our salvation and who — as Son of Man and Son of God — is crowned with glory and honor (John 3:13; Eph. 4:9-10), the same glory He had with His Father before the world was (John 17:4-5). Faith looks to Christ as our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30). Faith looks to Him who was lifted up upon the cross as our sin-bearing, curse-bearing Substitute. Faith is the realization and persuasion that He was successful, and that proof of His success is that God raised Him from the dead (Rom. 10:9-10). Faith sees Christ exalted in glory, reigning with universal dominion for our eternal salvation to bring about the eternal will of God (Rev. 21:1-6), that we might know God in Christ, and see His glory in Christ’s person and work (John 1:14-18, 29; 2 Cor. 4:6).
Faith is the transformation of our thinking from all that is false to the truth. Faith is seeing and thinking rightly of Christ. Repentance is being brought to faith in Christ (Luke 15:1-6). It is that change of mind to see and think about ourselves and Christ and God and salvation and life as God teaches in His word. We view all of these things through the light of the Gospel of Christ.
Jude calls this faith our “most holy faith” (Jude 1:20). It is only in believing Christ as all of our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption that we are holy. We are made holy before God by the blood of Jesus Christ (Heb. 10:10; 13:12). To be holy in our life is to fashioned, conformed and transformed by the renewing of our mind. This is only possible by God-given, holy faith that sees Christ with new eyes, believes Him and lives upon Him by His life in us (Gal. 2:20).
Faith touches all of our lives. The new man lives by faith, looks to Christ for all, trusts Him in all, and hopes to the end for the glory that shall be revealed at His appearing (1 Pet. 1:13). We must be alert. We must see clearly by this obedience of faith. Peter says, “Gird up the loins of your mind” (1 Pet. 1:13).
May God give us grace to hear and obey Christ’s voice, to look to Christ as our all in all, to expectantly look for the revelation of Him in His word, by His work, in His providence and at His appearing.