If you were to base your views on what you see in a typical church, you might conclude that obedience was optional. But if you base your views on what Scripture says (accepting all that it says), you will reach a completely different perspective. Which view would you prefer to live by?
It makes me sad to realize that many "faithful church-goers" will disregard what Scripture says about obedience, simply because they don't like the implications of it... "Those 'obedience' verses can't mean what they say; because if they did, it would mean that most of us are unsaved!"
This is the ultimate evidence, because anyone who is willing to live in day-to-day obedience to God will be willing to do all the other things that are an evidence of salvation. Since obedience is but a reflection of what is in our hearts, we must do everything we can to "guard our hearts" (Proverbs 4:23).
This is an unpopular concept, since so many church-goers are not living in obedience. But it's in the Bible - and it's stated many times - so it must be acknowledged... or else we are guilty of lying. This obedience is not a matter of subjective opinion, but is objective and visible to all who are willing to open their eyes. A person who is willing to pay attention to Scripture can see and know whether or not a person is living in obedience to God. (Part of this "paying attention to Scripture" includes a willingness to learn the nature of obedience - the focus of the next two articles.)
The first two characteristics of genuine obedience are: 1) it involves all that God commands (rather than selecting only the parts we want to obey), and 2) it is habitual (i.e., it characterizes a person's day-to-day life). However, this doesn't mean that the person is 100% sinlessly perfect (though he will strive for perfection... and will reach it when Jesus returns).
The third characteristic of this obedience is that it is ongoing. It isn't something that "happened" in the past, but is a continuing characteristic of a person's life. A person who receives life from God doesn't stop living!
This is it! (Final Comments to This Series)
A review of the characteristics that 1) prove a person IS NOT SAVED, 2) prove NOTHING, and 3) prove a person IS SAVED. Also a brief look at two issues: 1) "Can unsaved people feel 'assured' that they are saved?" and 2) "Can saved people ever have doubts about their salvation?"
This is the conclusion of the matter: If the evidence is there, it will be visible. When we examine our lives, the issue is whether or not we are going to be honest about what is there. To complete this series, we take one final look at our responsibility to others - to encourage or to warn, as applicable to the situation. Yes, people will respond - with appreciation or with anger (depending on what is in their hearts); but our accountability is ultimately to the God who will judge all people based on truth.
[A summary of characteristics that prove or don't prove one's salvation can be found: HERE.]