“Noah did according to all that the Lord had commanded him” (Genesis 7:5 NASB).

The power to save lives eternally rests in God alone. He is the sole Savior. But those of us who recognize His complete grace often fail to understand the power of our obedience in the salvation of others. As God goes about His work of delivering men and women, He “figures in” human choices.

Noah “did.” How a single additional word (“Noah did not”) would have changed history! But Noah did. And, he did fully (“according to all”). His obedience was complete. What if he had built half the ark? Not covered it properly? Believed God only fifty percent? Obeyed halfway?

But Noah’s obedience was as complete as God’s commands. God gave clear directives to His servant. He knew that Noah’s life, the life of his family, and the future of the entire human race depended on it. God gave everything needed for Noah and his family’s salvation, and Noah obeyed to the letter.

It is overwhelming to think of the possibilities had Noah resisted God. There are many illustrations of men and women in history whose disobedience directly and adversely affected others. Adam and Eve could start the list. I’m sure they thought their choices had no consequence, or that they alone would be affected. But they were naive and terribly wrong. Think of what Cain’s, Achan’s, and Saul’s disobedience did to those around them.

Sin may be done in private, but its ripples always extend. The God who has designed us and those around us knows this, which is why His demand for complete obedience is so urgent. We think His commands are intrusions and burdens, but they are always “good, acceptable, perfect,” and the pathway to deliverance and life and even the salvation of others.

Thank God for many who illustrate faith-driven obedience. Noah and Abraham, Moses and David, Esther and Ruth … and the list continues. Track any man or woman’s obedience, and you will find deliverance in its wake.

We do not understand the power of our obedience. It is obedience made possible by God’s grace—grace that directs, grace that empowers, grace that leads, grace that saves. But grace leads to the opportunity to make the choice to obey. And obedience opens the gate for more grace to flow.

We must not miss this. Our obedience—our full obedience—makes a difference in this world. What has God told you today? What does His Word direct?

The simple command to go and make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them is as clear as it gets (see Matt. 28:19-20). But every command of the Father is no less important. How He directs us to live, how to spend His money and resources, what to watch and listen to, how to occupy our daily lives—each directive is critical.

I’m sure none of Noah’s neighbors thought he would figure so prominently in the salvation of the whole world. I doubt even Noah understood the magnitude of picking up his hammer and doing exactly what God said. But his simple and full obedience each day made a disproportionate difference.

And so will yours.