Obedience to God can only happen “of faith”. If we are not in “the faith” we will not be able to obey God. But how do we know whether or not we are in “the faith”?
“…through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:5-6)
Let’s look at one of the most powerful explanations of the gospel and how it impacts those who receive it!
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)
These verses are a road map of understanding the importance of the gospel as it pertains to our ongoing experience of salvation. Understanding how the gospel, the power of God, salvation, righteousness and faith all interact with each other will help us experience all that God has for us! So let’s break down what Paul says..
The Gospel is the power of God!
This power is intended to save us! (Jew first, and also Gentile)
In the Gospel, righteousness is revealed to us! We cannot understand or experience righteousness APART from the gospel.
Our EXPERIENCE with God’s power, his righteousness DEPENDS on our ability to CONTINUE IN FAITH as we CONTINUE in the GOSPEL!
The Gospel reveals the righteousness of God. And when the revelation of God’s righteousness is mixed with faith…we experience the power of God and are saved from the fall of man.
So the ongoing ministry of the Gospel is imperative for us to understand and experience the righteousness of God. Because the revelation of righteousness happens from faith to faith. We cannot understand or experience righteousness in the flesh. By the law. By assessing ourselves or one another based on the knowledge of good and evil.
There are only two options. Walking by faith (or by the spirit) or walking by flesh (the law).
“For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”
There is no experience of righteousness apart from a living faith. We are not righteous and cannot walk righteously without faith. We cannot obey God without faith. Faith precedes our ability to obey. If we walk by the flesh, or by the law, we will not be “of faith” and it will be impossible for us to obey God. Ever since the fall of man, our temptation has been to walk according to the knowledge of good and evil. The gospel interrupts this narrative and shows us a new way of living. A life of faith and a life empowered by the Holy Spirit.
In order for us to live this way we must look to Christ, listen to the word of Christ and speak and declare this same Word! This is how we nurture our faith. This is how we partner with Jesus who is the Author and Perfecter of our faith!