Today you should read: Romans 4:1-25
FAITH… what God is all about…
What a passage! I know it can be tough to read a passage like this and understand all of Paul’s (God’s) implications. I will attempt to do justice to the text and be true to what God is saying in this passage. This chapter in Romans has one over-arching theme. It is not broken into segments of topics, but has one main idea. So instead of breaking this up verse by verse, let’s talk about it as a whole.
What God is saying here is that from the beginning of time and during the time in which we live, God has justified by faith. He has made us right in His sight through faith, NOT by observing the law (doing good works). It may seem, as you read the Old Testament, that God once (a long time ago) justified the people by their works. But I propose that the law served two main purposes: 1. To show people their sin. Verses 14-15 say that the without the law, people would have never known what sin was and because of that, they would have never known that they fall short!! The same goes for us. Without the law, we could never believe what Romans 3:23 says. By the way, the LAW is referring to the 10 commandments and God’s other “rules” of how to live. And because He has given them to us, we know that we can never keep them! This shows us our need for a Savior! 2. Obedience shows our faith.
You see, in the Old Testament, God did not intend to justify the people by their obedience to the law, because He knew that they could never keep the law perfectly!! If you have ever read it, I know it seems like their obedience is what made them right in God’s sight. The whole Old Testament is filled with the idea of obedience. But, let me ask you this: who in the world would try to live by all these rules IF they didn’t believe (have faith) that there was a God?!? No one! Who would have sacrificed thousands and thousands of dollars worth of animals for a sacrifice if they didn’t believe that God was real? No one! You see, their obedience in following the law SHOWED their faith that God was real and that He kept His word. That’s the second major reason for the law. By obeying it, they would show their faith in God. Now stay with me, with all that said, we can see that God has always operated on terms of faith. After the sin of Adam and Eve, He knew that we couldn’t obey perfectly. God has and always will operate on terms of faith!
In this passage, God uses Abraham as the chief example. Turn to Galatians 3:7-9 for a second. This shows that God had promised Abraham that He would “bless” the world through His seed, and I think Abraham knew a little more than we give Him credit for, because Abraham knew about what happened with Adam and Eve and He knew that the world needed a Savior for sin. So Abraham BELIEVED that God was going to do something MAJOR like atone for the whole world’s sin through His seed, and BECAUSE he believed that, he followed God and did exactly what God said to do. Don’t you see? Abraham’s obedience SHOWED his faith.
Now, all this information can be simply head knowledge if we are not careful. Romans is a theologically packed book! So how does this apply to us? How can we take this knowledge and make it real in our lives today?
Well, to do that, I want to land on the second major reason for the law. That OUR OBEDIENCE SHOWS OUR FAITH. That is the whole reason why we obey! We already read from this text, that our works don’t make us in any better standing with God. And the purpose of our life as Christians is not to just “get better.” That is self-motivated obedience! Does God fix our life in the process? YES! But that’s not the heart behind it! Our obedience to God shows that we believe that He is God and we are not. It shows that we believe that He is true to His word. It shows that we believe that Jesus is Lord. It shows that we have faith and that He knows what is best. You are not going to live a life of dying to your own “wants” unless you believe with your whole heart that God is true.
So, let me ask you this: do you have an obedience problem? Well, I think that maybe it’s a belief problem. If you really believe God and take Him at His word, you will obey. Maybe you need to get at the root of your obedience problem and ask yourself, “Do I really believe in God?” “Do I really believe His words?” “Do I really believe His way is best?” “Do I really believe that Jesus is Lord?” Because your obedience will show your faith. Let the whole world see your faith, by your works and obedience to the Father.
Two ways to help you fix this problem in your life:
1. Read the Bible (“faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the Word of God”).
2. Beg God. Don’t stop begging Him to give you a kind of faith that shows itself through obedience.
Posted by: Sam Cirrincione