Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all that obey Him.
Hebrews 5:8-9 KJV
You may be surprised to read that obedience is an essential part of salvation, even a requirement. This does not sound like the gospel so many people are taught today, but yet it is found in the scripture, which is the standard given us by God. We would do well to heed these words, as our very salvation depends on this.
Sin is what has caused our spiritual ruin. At its core, sin is rebellion, or disobedience to God. A sinner, is one who walks contrary to the commands of God; one who does what he or she wishes, who will not submit to the will of God (Romans 8:7). This is the mind set on the flesh that leads to death.
Many people stop here, and look no further than the need for forgiveness. Their main concept of grace is little more than our sin being forgiven by God. We sin over and over, so we need grace over and over. It is a truth, that without God's forgiveness, we would remain eternally lost. There is no question about that. However, salvation is much more than forgiveness, it is about a changed life.
We read in Peter's epistle that in God's foreknowledge, He chose a people who would obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood (1 Peter 1:1-2). We often think of foreknowledge and predestination as God choosing some people for heaven, and the others for hell. Paul tells us that those He foreknew, He predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). Look at what God desires! He wants obedience! His desire is to have a people who are yielded to Him, who are submissive and obedient, rather than stubborn and rebellious.
Remember, it is our stubborn, rebellious hearts that keep us from God. His desire is to bring us to repentance and surrender, so that we will obey Him, and be sprinkled with His blood. Without repentance there can be no true submission, and true repentance and surrender will always lead to obedience. It can work no other way.