The Gospel

Friday, October 04, 2013, 7:22 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “Who Believes?” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Ezekiel 36:25-38 and Romans 1:1-17 (ESV).

Obedience of Faith

“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…” ~ Rom. 1:1-5

This gospel of salvation that is ours through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was prophesied by the prophets of old, including by King David (in the Psalms). Jesus Christ was fully man but also he was fully God (see John 1). He left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on the form of a servant, took on human flesh, and “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2). When he died, he took upon himself all of our sins, crucifying them with him, and burying them with him, but then conquering them through death and through his resurrection so that we could be free. He died not only so we would be free of the ultimate penalty of sin (eternal damnation), but he died so we would be free of slavery to sin day-to-day. He also died so we would be free to walk in fellowship, harmony, obedience, and surrender with and to him, and so we could walk and live in his holiness and his righteousness, and have eternal life with him forever.

Paul stated his task, as a minister of this gospel, was to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of the name of Jesus among the nations. The NIV renders this, “to the obedience that comes from faith.” The apostles were to call the people to the obedience that comes from faith, and all for the glory of God. Some may say that the obedience is the faith, but what is faith without obedience? It is null and void. Jesus said that if we love him, we will obey him. His Father will love us, and they will make their home with us. He said if we do not obey him, we do not love him (See John 14). We read in Acts 5 that the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey Christ/God, and in Hebrews 5 we learn that Jesus Christ became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. And, in 1 John 2 we read that if we say we know God, but we do not do what he says, then we are liars, and the truth is not in us. As well, Jesus said that if we want to come after him, we must deny our flesh, die daily to sin and self, and follow him in obedience and surrender to his will (Lu. 9:23-25).

Live By Faith

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.” ~ Rom. 1:16-17

Paul said that the righteous shall live by faith. We are made righteous through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord. In other words, his righteousness is credited to our account, thus we take upon ourselves his righteousness by faith. We are not saved by our own good deeds. Our good deeds can never outweigh our bad. Only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins are we made righteous by faith in his death and resurrection.

So, what does it mean to have faith? How do we live by faith? We live by faith when we live what we say we believe. In other words, if we truly believe that Jesus Christ died a horrible death on a cross to save us from our sins, then our lifestyles should reflect this, i.e. we should live as though we are free from slavery to sin, and no longer enslaved by the passions of our evil desires which wage war against our souls (See 1 Pet. 2:11). For in the gospel of Jesus Christ the righteousness of God is revealed so that we can live by faith. In other words, we cannot do this in our own willpower or strength. This is a working of the Spirit of God from beginning to end, and only in his grace and in his righteousness are we able to walk in such faith and obedience as we yield control of our lives over to our Lord, allowing him to work his will in and through us for his glory and for the praise of his name.

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules… and I will be your God. And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses… Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. ~ Ez. 36:25-31

This is an awesome picture of what it means to receive God’s grace by faith and to have Jesus’ righteousness accredited to our accounts, and then lived out through our lives by his grace and in his holiness and righteousness within us. The grace of God not only gives us this great salvation, but he gives us the faith (repentance and obedience) to believe in him and to follow him wherever he leads us. He changes our hearts. He gives us new hearts. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. Yet, there must be evidence by our lifestyles that true heart change has taken place and that we are no longer following the desires of our flesh, but rather we loathe them, and in place of hard, immovable hearts and stubborn wills, we have pliable and teachable hearts, sensitive to the voice of the Spirit within us, desirous to do his will; to do what pleases our Lord (cf. Eph. 4:17-24; Rom. 6; 1 John; Gal. 2:20).

Who Believes? / An Original Work / October 3, 2013

Based off Isaiah 53

Gospel message, who believes?
Jesus Christ died on a tree,
Saving us from all our sin,
So we might be cleansed within.

Had no beauty found in Him,
That we should desire Him.
Man of sorrows, suffering;
Crushed for our iniquities.

Surely He has borne our griefs;
From our sadness, brings relief.
Bore the stripes; forsaken, He,
So forgiven, we might be.

We, like sheep, have gone astray,
Each of us turned his own way.
Jesus calls, “Repent today;
My commandments, now obey.”

Jesus said, to come to him,
We must die to all our sin.
Crucified with Him, we live,
Walking in His righteousness.

Suff’ring servants, we will be,
Taking His identity on us,
When confessing Him
As our Savior, Lord and King.

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Hi there Ms Sue.

I hadn't heard this hymn before, but the words look good.

It's good when hymns we sign are Scripturally based. Sometimes they are kind of vague, but with the one you quoted it's not hard to figure where the thoughts have come from.