Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Faith to Faith

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith:
(Romans 1:17)

Paul is not ashamed of the gospel because the righteousness of God is revealed in it. This righteousness, as shown by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is placed over and opposed to the depravity of man we see illustrated in the verses following this one. Here Paul is not talking primarily about the justice of God that rightly damns sinners, he is talking about the righteousness of God that grants sinners eternal life for those who put their trust in Jesus Christ. He is not ashamed because it is not a man-centered gospel; it reveals the righteousness of God, not the power of man. The gospel is that power which renders the righteousness of God operative. The gospel isn't a storehouse of religious information; it is how men and women are made right with God. He is talking about the gift of grace that is received by faith.

When God justifies a sinner, it does not mean that the man was actually good. It does not even mean, at that point, that He makes him good. It means that God treats the sinner as if he had not been a sinner at all. It is also the righteousness of Jesus Christ accredited to our account. It’s more than just the forgiveness of our sins. That would merely leave us with a blank slate. Innocence is not perfection, and so we need more than His death, we need His life. Just as our sin was imputed to Christ so that He could pay the full price of it for us; in exactly that same way, His perfect life counts as ours by imputation – 2 Corinthians 5:21 / Romans 3:21-22, 4:5-6 / Philippians 3:9 / Galatians 3:24-29 / Colossians 3:3 / Jeremiah 23:6. We are not justified by the righteousness Christ works in us, but by the righteousness Christ is for us.

The phrase “from faith to faith” means “by sheer faith” or “faith alone”, that is all it takes and all it can take. We see the necessity of a complete trust in Christ and the folly of placing any trust in our own good works – religious or otherwise – for salvation. It is not from faith to works (Galatians 3:3). The gospel is an outreach to others and it has an in-reach for us. The process and the progress of the gospel in our lives change us (2 Corinthians 3:18). We mustn’t treat the gospel as a common thing (Hebrews 10:29, 2:3), as if we need something else because it isn’t just for the future, the gospel is for your whole life. We need to be living in the faith, living for the faith, and living by the faith (Habakkuk 2:4 / Galatians 3:11 / Hebrews 10:38).


C. H. Green said...

Found you thru Timeless Text Messages. Love how you incorporate all that great scripture.

Even So... said...

Thanks for the visit, I'll check out your site too...