We continue our study of the Letter to the Romans. We noted that the society in Rome 2000 years ago was like America today. The letter is quite applicable to us today. We also noted that the main message of the letter is the Gospel of Jesus Christ & how Christianity is to be lived out.
Please open your Bibles to the Letter to the Romans.
Take a look at Romans 1:16-17 with me. These 2 verses summarize this main message of the letter………
We can note three major truths from this passage:
1. believing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ saves people from the eternal judgment of God
2. personal faith in the Gospel makes one righteous in God’s sight
3. Believers of Christ are to live by faith
Faith in Jesus Christ is the key to being righteous before God and faith is to lead Christians in their living. Knowing, understanding, and having faith is very important!
What is this faith? The word is used 40 times in this Letter to the Romans and so in context we can get an idea of what faith is. Actually, all we have to do is look at the first 3 chapters of Romans (take a look with me at):
1:5…….. there is obedience associated with faith
1:8……… faith can be observed
1:16-17….. faith brings God’s righteousness and it is to be
3:3…….. God always has faith but people may not
3:22…… righteous faith is focused on Christ
3:22…… belief is associated with faith
3:28…… faith justifies people apart from God’s Law
By the way, justification is a legal term!
To justify means to be made just, made right,
cleared of all penalties!
3:30…… starts from within the heart, not by works
Let us now learn more about faith through a man named Abraham; who is not only the Father of the Jews but because of his faith, Abraham is also the “father” of the Gentiles! Please open your Bibles to Romans 4.
Remember in Romans 3, God through the Apostle Paul just finished talking about Jews and Gentiles being made right by the same faith in Jesus Christ. Read along with me now Romans 4:1-12…….
Next week, we will look again at Romans 4, but we will answer the question, “How are the Jews of the Old Testament saved from God’s eternal judgment?” Today, we will look at faith and father Abraham.
What more can we learn about faith from Abraham?
Let’s first of all look at the 2nd half of v9…….
It is by faith that Abraham was deemed righteous before God. Now, what did Abraham do to be credited with this faith which made him righteous before God?
Was it something that he did externally or internally??
It was an internal decision wasn’t it?
Let’s go back to v2-3…….
How was Abraham credited with righteousness? It was Abraham’s belief in God which made him righteous not by external works. We note a confirmation of this in v5. And look again at v9-11…..
Faith is not about works on the outside but trusting in God!
And so what is faith? We noted from Scriptures that there is obedience with faith; faith can be observed because it is to be lived out. People have to decide in having faith. Belief is associated with faith and it starts from within the heart.
Righteous faith is trusting in God, it is focused on Jesus Christ, and it makes people just before a Holy God.
And so, in general, faith is a decision to believe and trust in something so complete, that actions result from it. Hebrews 11:1 states, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” And if you read the rest of Hebrews 11, you will note the resulting actions because of faith!
Note that faith has a focus. You can’t just have faith for faith’s sake; you can’t have faith for Pete’s sake either! When someone tells you they have faith, you need to ask them, what do you have faith in? And the follow up question is “are your actions really matching with your stated faith?” Because, faith is meaningless when it is not focused on something or no associated actions result! James 2:26 tells us that “faith without deeds is dead!”
The Bible says “live by faith!” Do you have faith?
Your answer maybe yes, but what do you have faith in?
For a Christian, what is the answer to the question, “what do you have faith in??” Christians are Christians because they are in Christ! People become Christians when they have faith in Jesus Christ!
Now, look again at our general definition of faith…….
Faith is a decision to believe and trust in something so complete, that actions result from it. And so, we can define Christian faith as a complete decision to believe and trust in Jesus Christ, that actions result from it. Christian faith is a decision to believe and trust in Jesus Christ so complete, that actions result from it.
Based on this definition, do you truly see yourself as a Christian? If you had made a decision to believe and trust in Jesus Christ, are you experiencing the results?
Do you remember the illustration of having faith in a chair?
One may say, “I have faith on this chair!” But when you ask them to sit on the chair they refuse, do they really have faith in the chair? And so in the same way, if someone says they are a Christian but they are not willing to live like one, do they really have faith in Christ?
And so, Christianity starts with believing and trusting in Jesus Christ and it should result in living out that faith!
The Letter to the Romans will give us much instructions in how to live out this Christian faith; and so, stay tuned! If you can’t wait, and if you are a Christian you shouldn’t wait, make sure you have a copy of this little postcard. Evaluate yourself with the truths from Scripture. Have you truly accepted the Scriptures listed in this postcard?
Are you committed to the results of being a Christian?
• The Holy Spirit lives in you and for you!
• Jesus Christ is your Lord and Master.
• You daily hunger for God’s Word.
• You pray often.
• You are committed to a local church.
• You yield to God daily for spiritual change.
Remind yourself daily of who you are in Christ.
Let’s summarize this message with 2 simple applications.
For all of us, 2 simple questions:
1. Have I truly believed and trusted Jesus Christ as Savior and God?
2. Am I pursuing to live out my faith in Christ?
For us dads:
Abraham became the “father” of faith. Abraham was leader and an example for all. Dads, let us commit to being leaders and examples of Christian faith! This is the greatest honor and privilege we have! Lead and be examples of the Christian faith! And for those of you who are not dads, please realize the great responsibility fathers have; pray for them often!