Obedience is intimately linked to repentance. Real Christians aren't obeying God because they think they are holier than everyone else and saving themselves through good works. They are obeying because they recognize that they are sinners and are repenting of their sins and seeking to follow God and separate themselves from their old ways. Obedience is an active expression of repentance and of accepting the gift of grace offered by Jesus Christ, "the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Hebrews 5:9).
If there is one thing that is consistent and clear in every volume of scripture, it is the universal call for men to repent of our sins and come unto God. This is only possible because of the Redeemer, but we must repent. I hope there can be consensus on this point. Witnesses include John the Baptist in Mathew 3:
1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judæa,And Jesus Christ in Matthew 4:
2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (See also Mark 1:15)Christ also warned that "except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:5). And in Luke 24, the Resurrected Lord continues this theme:
45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,Witnesses also include the Apostles in Mark 6:
46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
7 And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; . . .And as one of many more examples, consider Peter in Acts 2:
12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.Repentance involves several steps, but surely one of them is a change in behavior, not only ceasing from sin, but becoming "fruitful" in the Gospel - advancing the cause of the Lord. Thus the scriptures speak of bringing forth "fruit meet for repentance." John the Baptist used this phrase in Matt 3 (just a few verses after the call for repentance cited above):
5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judæa, and all the region round about Jordan,Paul echoes this theme in testifying to King Agrippa in Acts 26:
6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. . . .
10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. (See also Luke 3)
19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:Similar language is found in the Book of Mormon. In Alma 5:54 and Alma 9:10, Alma refers to bringing forth "works which are meet for repentance," and in Alma 12, he refers to the fruits of repentance in speaking of the day of judgment:
20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judæa, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
[W]e must come forth and stand before him in his glory, and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our everlasting shame that all his judgments are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance.And as Paul explained in Acts 17, the call to repent is universal:
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent. . . .Repentance is essential for salvation. To be forgiven of our sins, we must repent of them, turning to the Atonement of Jesus Christ to gain forgiveness and becoming a new, cleansed person that does not simply continue sinning as before. We are changed, and there are fruits that reflect our repentance, fruits that are suitable for one who has repented. It is not all automatic contrary to our own will, but involves "obedience" - a yielding of our will to God's.
We do not earn out way to heaven by obedience and good works. We are all burdened by our bad works - our sins, whether it be sins of omission or commission. Our only hope is to repent and follow Christ, and repentance involves fruits to match, changes in behavior, obedience to the will of God, good works instead of bad.