“The obedience that comes from faith.”
Paul is quite clear in this great letter that justification before God is by faith alone. However, he is also quite clear that faith is an active and not a passive state. If we have faith in Jesus as Saviour we must also have faith in Jesus as Lord – the two titles cannot be separated.
The sin of disobedience brought about our fallen state and separated us from God. It cannot be expected for a moment that we should continue in that state, but now with a cloak marked ‘justified’ over us. The Scriptures reveal that a radical change is expected to take place:
- “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Rom 12:2)
- “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph 4:22-24)
- “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”(1 Pet 1:15-16)
Having been justified by grace through faith our proper response now is to put our complete faith and trust in God by turning away from the ways of the fallen world. We choose instead to live according to the ways of God – not as if they were imposed laws, but because our belief is that His ways, and His ways alone, are the ways of life – not only in the life to come but in this life as well. We are called to a new life and a new way of living. Jesus is Saviour and Jesus is Lord. “Follow Me” is a call both to direction as well as to method. They go together.
Now having found it impossible to live out the old Godly way of life there is no reason to expect that in our own strength we can live out the new. So God has taken that in hand for us. He has given us the gift of His Holy Spirit to both guide us and strengthen us. Therefore in His New Covenant commitment He promises that,
- “I will put My laws into their minds and write them on their hearts” (Hebrews 8:10)
- “I will be their God” (Hebrews 8:10)
- “I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12)
- “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you”” (Ezekiel 36:26)
- “I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 36:27)
It’s all about God and what He does. Our work is to believe, receive and let Him live it out through us. And although God does gives us both the desire and the strength to do His will it still remains our choice.
- “It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13)
- “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
We are saved by faith – now we live by faith and not by our own efforts and strength,
Lord Jesus, please help me to perceive the truth and to live by it. Help me to look at Your teachings, recognise them and accept them into my everyday life – to Your honour and glory. Amen.