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Question and Answer

Does God require obedience from unbelievers?


Does God require obedience from unbelievers? If so, why would God expect obedience from reprobates, who are only disobeying due to their fallen nature?


Your question consists of two parts.

1. Does God require obedience from unbelievers? Answer: Yes.

2. If so, why would God expect obedience from reprobates, who are only disobeying due to their fallen nature? Answer: All that God has commanded requires the proper response of the rational creature to the Creator. God’s laws simply declare the recognition and submission appropriate.

Man does not disobey God due to his fallen nature only; he disobeys because he does not want to obey God. This is not a decision forced upon men against their own will. They freely and deliberately choose not to obey God.

Let me explain this answer a bit further.

1. All men know the true God exists (Rom. 1:18–21) They know that he is, and they know the essential obedience that is required.

2. All men know their sin and guilt. But they continue to desire and pursue things contrary to God’s law revealed to them in their own hearts and minds and in God’s word, the Bible (Rom. 1:24–32). Because man knows who God is and what he requires, God summons them all to repent and believe in Christ. To that end he has sent his people throughout the world to deliver his message to them.

This essential truth is reflected throughout Scripture, but let me point to a couple of other texts in Romans: Romans 3:1 and Romans 5:12–14.

Our lives are not meaningless, which they would be if God did not hold us accountable for how we use them. The joyous message of the Gospel is that God held his Son accountable on our behalf!

About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those people who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by e-mail. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two (2) weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references or from some source may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

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