Summary: This is on the relationship of justification and obedience focused on Romans 5 to Romans 6 (Outline adapted from John Piper at: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/command-of-god-the-obedience-of-faith and material from Jack Cottrell)
On 11 May 2000 a lady found a new e-mail message on her computer, which simply said, "I love you". Like many would, she clicked to open the message, and the so-called "Love Bug" was born. With lightning speed it raced around the world, bringing politics and business to a halt. It was a deadly computer virus that caused millions of computer software programs to crash. One virus, but so much contamination. But it’s not the first time that a single virus has caused so much grief to mankind. In fact, it’s a kind of replay of a deadlier virus that hit Planet Earth more than six thousand years ago polluting the first human couple, Adam and Eve. Despite God’s warning not to click on to Satan’s message, they did so with appalling consequences for them, and through them to all mankind. That virus is called "Sin".
Talking about Paul’s closing doxology to the book of Romans for holiday season
A point of discussion is vs. 26 where Paul says: that all nations might believe and obey him. Paul also said this at the beginning of this book. “Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.” Romans 1:5, NIV.
Some in our day talk about how belief in the gospel is the only thing that is required in order to be saved. Nothing else is required like repentance, confession or baptism, just belief. Because of this prevailing idea, many want their ticket punched to get to heaven and nothing more. As long as they are “saved” that is all that matters. Doing what Paul talks about in Romans 12:1-2 is so foreign to them: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1, 2, NIV. After this opening verse Paul goes on and gives more information on what that looks like in chapters 12 to 15. They believe that this is something for good Christians to do but it is not required. Nothing is required like serving Christ or even going to church only belief. One can live same way as before “saved,”.
Saving faith in Jesus Christ produces obedience to Jesus Christ. He is our Savior but He is also our Lord. Cannot have one without other. Those who have Jesus Christ as Lord and live obedient lives to Him make God look glorious. “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Look carefully how the obedience that comes from faith fits in these verses. Paul begins this doxology by saying that one of the reasons glory belongs to God is that God is able to strength us through the gospel. In these other phrases Paul unpacks the gospel for us.
The aim of the gospel is not just belief but obedience. One of the things that Paul is against is a works salvation and we see this all over Romans. So how do obedience and faith come together without having a works salvation? Two things to keep in mind:
1. Some translate the phrase in Romans 1:5 as the obedience to the faith. The concept of “obedience to the faith” is in the Bible. “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” 2 Thessalonians 1:8, NIV. “Obeying the faith” and “Obeying the gospel” would seem to be the same. Now this is not talking about our response to God’s law which is required of all humans and all of us fall short of. This is talking about the sinner’s response to the gospel, meeting the conditions for receiving the saving grace offered in the gospel like faith, repentance, confession, and baptism. Talking about the gospel commands. However, this is not what Romans is talking about here.
2. Might translate it as “obedience resulting from faith.” Here “faith” equals the act or attitude of believing and “obedience” equals a Christian’s good works. The NIV translation of “obedience that comes from faith” seems to be the best translation of this phrase (Dr. Jack Cottrell). Must understand that the emphasis here is on the word “faith.” God is interested in the obedience that comes from faith in Jesus Christ. The outcome of the gospel is obedience- an obedience that springs from faith and not from legalistic requirements. God wants obedience, but he wants the obedience of faith. The goal or intended result of the gospel is sanctification. The gospel certainly includes the good news that we are justified by faith in the Cross of Christ, but it also includes the good news that we are by God’s grace freed from the grip of sin and equipped with what it takes to live a life of obedience. This is the second part of the double cure. First part is justification, second part is sanctification. First part is pardon from sin, second part is freedom from sin and ability to live our lives on God’s Word.