Obedience of Faith

Romans 1:1-7 ESV

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 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,

“To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

What is the gospel of Christ, of God?

If I had to summarize the message of the gospel in just one Bible verse it would probably be 1 Peter 2:24:

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”

But the gospel message expanded more than that is found here:

And he (Jesus Christ) said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:23-26 ESV).

The gospel message is not just that Jesus died on that cross to take away our sins or so that we can be forgiven our sins and have life with God in heaven. The gospel message is that Jesus died for us on that cross so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. And it is so that we will die with him to sin and to self, not just once, but daily, and so we will follow him in obedience to his commands (New Covenant). For if we don’t, we will not inherit eternal life in him, for he will be ashamed of us when he returns.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:23-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

The Obedience of Faith

If the gospel message you are receiving is that all you have to do is “believe” – usually subject to one’s own interpretation of what it means to believe in Jesus Christ – and now all your sins are forgiven (past, present, and future), and heaven is now guaranteed you as your eternal destiny, regardless of how you live, i.e. usually with no mentioning of turning away from your lives of sin to follow Jesus in obedience, then you are not being taught the full gospel message. Someone is selling it short.

For, when we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith in Christ, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self is crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we will no longer be enslaved to sin but to God and to his righteousness. So we are not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions. For if sin is what we obey, it leads to death, not to life everlasting, but if obedience is what we obey, it leads to life eternal with God (see Romans 6:1-23; Ephesians 4:17-24).

And God’s grace is another thing that is largely not being taught correctly. Many are seeing God’s grace as forgiveness of their sins while they continue in deliberate and habitual sin. But God’s grace, which is bringing us salvation, instructs us to renounce (to say “No” to) ungodliness and fleshly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. For Jesus Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14; cf. Ephesians 2:10).

And all throughout the New Testament we are warned that if we walk according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit, and if sin is what we practice, and if righteousness and holiness and walks of obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, that we will not inherit eternal life with God. Heaven will not be our eternal destiny. It won’t matter what we have confessed with our lips or we think we had believed in our hearts. If we obey sin, in practice, and not our Lord and his commands, his life is not in us.

And we are called to be saints, to be holy in all of our conduct. And to be holy is to be separate (unlike, different) from the world for we are being made into the likeness of Jesus Christ in heart, mind, character, and will. And our desire is now for him to do his will and not to live in sin.

Romans 1:16-17 ESV

“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.’”

And being ashamed of the gospel (the true gospel taught above) is not just about being shy and timid about sharing his gospel message with others. But shame is revealed in how we live, too. If we refuse to live the gospel taught by Jesus and by his New Testament apostles, and if we think we can still live for ourselves and in sin, that is also being ashamed of him, and it is the worst way we can be ashamed, too, for it is the one which will get us denied by Jesus in the end so that we do not have eternal life in him.

And “faith” in Jesus Christ is not something we can create in our own minds, either. For Jesus Christ is the author and the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2), and our faith comes from God and is gifted to us by God, and it is not of our own doing, lest we should boast (Ephesians 2:8-10). So we don’t get to determine what that faith looks like. And we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ (John 6:44), i.e. unless he first persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness, and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent and to obey our Lord.

So, faith in Jesus is defined by the Scriptures and not by us, and the Scriptures teach that disobedience = unbelief, and that belief in Jesus = obedience.

[Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Acts 5:32; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Eph 4:17-32; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Lu 9:23-26; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; Matt 7:21-23]

Come and See

An Original Work / May 20, 2013
Based off John 1:35-51

John, the Baptist, called of God to
Make straight the way for the Lord,
Told his disciples about Jesus,
So two of them followed Him.

One of them who followed Jesus
Told his brother, Simon Peter,
Who then he brought to the Savior,
Who had told them, “Come and see.”

Jesus Christ, our Lord, Messiah,
On his way to Galilee found a man, Philip,
So he told him, “I want you to follow Me.”

Philip then found his friend,
And he told him, “We have found the one
The prophets spoke of – He is Jesus!”
Philip then said, “Come and see.”

Jesus saw the man, Nathanael,
While he sat beneath a fig tree,
Even before Philip called him,
So Nathanael did believe.

Nonetheless the Lord said,
“You believe because of what I told you.
You will see much greater things than these
If you will Come and see.”

Jesus’ calling to each one of us.
He tells us to believe in Him
As our Lord and Messiah,
And to follow where He leads.

He says we must turn from our sins,
Die to sin and self each day,
And put on our new lives in Jesus;
Bow before Him; humbly pray.

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