In an article called, “Obedience Unlocks God’s Power,” a popular evangelical writer states:
While effort has nothing to do with your salvation, it has much to do with your spiritual growth.
This is the standard evangelical disclaimer about obedience. If you read anything by evangelicals, you’ll see similar statements all over the place. Now this:
And having been made perfect, He [Jesus] became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, …
Heb 5.9 NASB
You can even choose the one and same verse in a different Bible version, if you like the looser one over the literal:
In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.
Heb 5.9 NLT
Which do you prefer, Mr Warren’s statement or the Hebrew writer’s? You can’t take both statements. You must choose between the two. These are eternal life and death affirmations. One contradicts the other. Which will you follow?
In the first quote, Mr. Warren called obedience “effort.” Poor thing is quite confused, for the second statement, inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, ties “effort” — obedience— directly to eternal salvation. Mr. Warren’s title, “Obedience Unlocks God’s Power,” needs no qualification, for it applies equally to salvation as well. Obedience unlocks God’s power to save eternally, also.
According to Heb 5.9, Jesus is the single source of eternal salvation. That source is available to everyone, but there are conditions. The condition given here (there are others mentioned elsewhere) is obedience. Jesus freely gives his saving grace to those who obey his commands.
So either Mr. Warren—with his host of evangelical friends—is wrong or the Hebrew writer is wrong. Who is it? Choose now. Your eternal life is at stake.