I believe strongly and teach that one must have faith and be obedient to God's will to be saved. Does faith save us? Absolutely! But Paul also says in Romans 6:17, "But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered." And in Hebrews 5:9, speaking of Jesus, the author says, "And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him." These are just a few of the many verses that require faith and works.
When other religious folks hear me stressing obedience, they will sometimes respond by saying that I'm preaching a "works-based salvation," as if we can all earn our way to heaven by our obedience...thus nullifying the grace of God.
But who really teaches a "works-based salvation?" It is often the very ones who accuse me of doing so.
You see, when we believe and teach that Christians must totally submit themselves to the will of God to be saved, we're not encouraging a system of meritorious works; we're encouraging humility and dependance upon God. In Hebrews 5 - the verse I cited above - the author uses the example of Christ to teach not only the need for obedience, but the nature of obedience. Consider verses 8-9 together: "Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him." True obedience is rooted in a heart of humility, not in arrogance or pride.
Along these same lines, Jesus says regarding servants, "So likewise you, when you have done all those things which are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do'" (Luke 17:10). No amount of obedience makes us worthy of salvation.
Meanwhile, those who teach that we don't have to obey to be saved - and that we simply have to believe in God and trust His grace - often view friends and family as heaven-bound on the basis that they're "such good people." When someone like myself points out their lack of obedience to God's expressed will, someone responds by listing the person's good qualities...as if those good qualities and religious habits merit them salvation. A person may not have been all that spiritually-minded, but because they prayed the "sinner's prayer" so many years ago and had some positive attribute (i.e. honesty, a benevolent heart, a good parent, etc.) it is assumed that they must be in heaven.
So who is really teaching a "works-based salvation" where eternal life is earned through certain works? It's not those of us who teach obedience, humility and dependance on God! Rather, it's those who, despite all pretenses and claims to the contrary, believe and teach that God owes any good, decent person eternal life.