Salvation has always been by trusting and obeying God. The Greek noun pistis and verb pisteuo appear some 250 times each in the New Testament but have been mistranslated as “faith” and “believe” respectively rather than “faithfulness” and “trust.” We’re not saved by believing some facts are true but by trusting and obeying the one true God—Him being the God of our lives.
Many times God’s people were told to keep His commandments: “And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exo 20:6; Deu 5:10); “Therefore shall ye keep my commandments” (Lev 22:31); “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them” (Lev 26:3); “That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God” (Num 15:40); “Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God” (Deu 6:17); “Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments” (Deu 7:11); “Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God” (Deu 8:6).
It’s taught today, however, that God’s people couldn’t keep His commandments and neither can we because we all were born with a sin nature inherited from Adam. But that’s simply false doctrine that keeps us from obeying and being saved. Jesus Christ Himself taught that we must live according to the righteous standard He taught or we won’t be saved: “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:20), “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (7:23); “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them … And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (7:24,26).
The gospel isn’t only to be believed but also obeyed: “But they have not all obeyed the gospel” (Rom 10:16); “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb 5:9); “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy” (Jas 4:12); “And this is his commandment, That we should believe [trust] on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment” (1Jo 3:23).
It’s taught today that Abraham is our example of faith but Paul taught his trust in God and faithfulness to Him, “Even as Abraham believed [trusted] God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness … So then they which be of faith [faithfulness] are blessed with faithful Abraham” (Gal 3:6,9). And God Himself commended his obedience, “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice” (Gen 22:18), “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Gen 26:5).
Paul taught that to be counted righteous as Abraham, “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed [trusted] God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Rom 4:3), we must trust God as he did, “Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe [trust] on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Rom 4:23-24). This is what he meant later in his letter, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe [trust] in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom 10:9). It isn’t just believing the resurrection happened but trusting in God who made it happen, “Who by him do believe [trust] in God, that raised him up from the dead” (1Pe 1:21).
It was for lack of trust that God’s people were destroyed, “And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed [trusted] not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief [distrust].” (Heb 3:18-19), “the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed [trusted] not” (Jde 1:5).
Salvation is ultimately about the one true God being the God of our lives: “I will be their God” (Gen 17:8; Jer 24:7,32:38; Eze 11:20,37:23; Zec 8:8); “will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer 31:33); “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Jer 32:38); “ye shall be my people, and I will be your God” (Eze 36:28); “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Eze 37:27); “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2Co 6:16); “I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people” (Heb 8:10); “God is not ashamed to be called their God” (Heb 11:16); “they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev 21:3); “I will be his God, and he shall be my son” (Rev 21:7). And being the God of our lives means that we trust Him to provide for us, protect us, and defend us, and that we obey the commandments of His Son Jesus Christ.