It is clear in Scripture that the only way for someone to come into relationship with God is belief.
John 3:16 makes this clear when it says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (emphasis mine)
Yet, we see belief and behavior tied closely throughout the Bible. Someone who trusts in God for salvation is also someone who obeys Him.
John 3:36 makes this clear when it says: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (emphasis mine)
Did you catch that? The one who believes has eternal life. The one who doesn’t obey does not. That doesn’t mean that our obedience to God’s Word saves us. It simply means that obedience shows that we’ve truly believed. Someone who claims to have trusted in Jesus for salvation and yet does not pursue a life of obedience to Him is simply not saved.
Perfect obedience in this life is impossible. Between the three S’s (sin, self & satan), we have forces inside of us and outside of us calling us away from the Lord. Yet, a true follower of Jesus will confess and repent of a sin when it is committed and get back on the road to holiness. In so doing, he shows that he is truly a child of God.
Obedience doesn’t save us. It simply shows that we are saved.