It may be that this explanation can help simplify certain things for some folks. May God bless His truth to our hearts and minds:
"By obedience, I intend no kind of obedience to man, or submission to authority claimed by man or community of men. I mean obedience to the will of the Father, however revealed in our conscience.
God forbid I should seem to despise understanding. The New Testament is full of urgings to understand. Our whole life, to be life at all, must be a growth in understanding. What I cry out upon is the misunderstanding that comes of man's endeavour to understand while not obeying. Upon obedience our energy must be spent; understanding will follow. Not anxious to know our duty, or knowing it and not doing it, how shall we understand that which only a true heart and a clean soul can ever understand? The power in us that would understand were it free, lies in the bonds of imperfection and impurity, and is therefore incapable of judging the divine. It cannot see the truth. If it could see it, it would not know it, and would not have it. Until a man begins to obey, the light that is in him is darkness.
Any honest soul may understand this much, however-for it is a thing we may of ourselves judge to be right-that the Lord cannot save a man from his sins while he holds to his sins. An omnipotence that could do and not do the same thing at the same moment, were an idea too absurd for mockery; an omnipotence that could at once make a man a free man, and leave him a self-degraded slave-make him the very likeness of God, and good only because he could not help being good, would be an idea of the same character-equally absurd, equally self-contradictory.
But the Lord is not unreasonable; he requires no high motives where such could not yet exist. He does not say, 'You must be sorry for your sins, or you need not come to me:' to be sorry for his sins a man must love God and man, and love is the very thing that has to be developed in him. It is but common sense that a man, longing to be freed from suffering, or made able to bear it, should betake himself to the Power by whom he is. Equally is it common sense that, if a man would be delivered from the evil in him, he must himself begin to cast it out, himself begin to disobey it, and work righteousness. As much as either is it common sense that a man should look for and expect the help of his Father in the endeavour. Alone, he might labour to all eternity and not succeed. He who has not made himself, cannot set himself right without him who made him. But his maker is in him, and is his strength. The man, however, who, instead of doing what he is told, broods speculating on the metaphysics of him who calls him to his work, stands leaning his back against the door by which the Lord would enter to help him. The moment he sets about putting straight the thing that is crooked-I mean doing right where he has been doing wrong, he withdraws from the entrance, gives way for the Master to come in. He cannot make himself pure, but he can leave that which is impure; he can spread out the 'discoloured web' of his life before the bleaching sun of righteousness; he cannot save himself, but he can let the Lord save him. The struggle of his weakness is as essential to the coming victory as the strength of Him who resisted unto death, striving against sin.
The sum of the whole matter is this:-The Son has come from the Father to set the children free from their sins; the children must hear and obey him, that he may send forth judgment unto victory.
Son of our Father, help us to do what thou sayest, and so with thee die unto sin, that we may rise to the sonship for which we were created. Help us to repent even to the sending away of our sins." - from "Hope of the Gospel" by George Macdonald