Summary: We gain a new life in Christ through faith
Community Bible Experience
March 16, 2014
During my time in Mexico, I saw multiple cultures that composed the Wesleyan Church there. We spent time at the Wesleyan Bible College in Puebla. We traveled to the southern mountain town of Teleposto. This area was extremely rural with farmers and Native American tribes that spoke different languages than Spanish. We held a second pastoral conference in the northern city of Monterey, which was the most modern city in Mexico.
One of the things that struck me while I was there is an explanation of faith. One of the translators told me that faith would be better translated ¡V taking seriously what God has committed to do. The reality is that faith is taking God¡¦s promises seriously and being willing to trust Him with your life. It is placing trust in everything that He has promised to do.
The essence of faith is taking God seriously. What God has promised to do, He will do. Faith means that we are certain of those things we do not yet see. Faith is having confidence that what we hope for is going to happen. Faith is following God even when life does not make sense.
Faith is illustrated through the lives of people throughout the New Testament.
* Peter walked on water through faith
* Saul the persecutor becomes Paul the Apostle through faith
* The woman with the issue of bleed is healed through faith
* Churches are planted through faith
* Blind receive their sight through faith
* Tens of thousands accept Christ through faith
Faith changes lives and draws people into a new life in Christ. Faith brings about a transformation of community and culture. Faith turns the world upside down. Faith brings about the needed connection with Christ. Faith allows people to come into the community of believers and gain access to the promises of heaven.
Paul writes about the vital nature of faith to the Roman Church. If you have your Bibles, please open them to Romans 5:1-11
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:1-11
I. Faith brings deliverance
Paul makes it clear that we are justified through faith. Justification is simply having a debt cancelled or paid in full. Our spiritual debt to God has been cancelled through the blood of Jesus shed on the cross. This means that all of those things that God had the right to hold against you have been paid in full. Those spiritual debts that we have are cancelled and our account with God is wiped clean. The only way to gain payment for our sin is to believe in Christ. It is placing our faith in the fact that Jesus died in our place and that God raised Him from the dead.
Deliverance brings us peace
The peace that we gain through faith is one that ends the hostility between us and God. There is no longer the power of sin blocking our relationship with God. The Romans would have understood the concept of peace through the Pax Romano (Peace of Rome), which was the source of security to every Roman citizen. Even in this peace, there were still instances that the Pax Romano could not fully protect the people. Paul describes the peace of God as something that we gain through faith that nothing can ever take away.
Deliverance flows through grace
Faith that delivers is only possible through the grace of God. Without God¡¦s grace, no amount of faith could save us. Paul says that we gain access to God¡¦s grace. The point that Paul makes here is simple. We access the needed grace through our faith. The word access means to be given permission or to be allowed to enter. The only way that we are given permission to enter heaven is through our faith in Jesus.