Saturday, June 2, 2012

Faith is obedience

(Rom 14:23 NKJV)  But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

Paul wrote about the obedience of faith in Romans 1:5 and 16:26. In the NKJV and many of the new translations it is translated “obedience to the faith”… In the KJV it is translated as obedience to the faith in Romans 1:5 and the obedience of faith in 16:26. The Greek phrase definitely states “obedience of faith.” So why was it mistranslated? The obvious answer is it must have been for theological reasons. The thinking had to be that Paul could not have meant the “obedience of faith.” I say without equivocation… oh yes he did!

The writer of the book of Hebrews… (I see Hebrews as the Rosetta Stone of the New Covenant) made it a point to equate faith and obedience and unbelief and disobedience and unbelief and sin (Hebrews 3:7-19.) The Israelites in the days of Moses, Joshua and Caleb would not enter the rest of God because of sin/disobedience/unbelief. And, the Sabbath Rest back then was a metaphor for the Sabbath Rest of believing in Christ for those contemporary to the writing of the Book of Hebrews. Therefore, faith is obedience and sin is lack of faith. That is precisely why Paul wrote what he did in the above passage from Romans telling the saints that if they acted without faith it was sin, but if they acted with faith it was not.

Further, the Holy Spirit made it very plain in Hebrews 11:6. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Then again He announced in the gospels… “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” It becomes easy to see that Jesus perfect obedience was his perfect faith in the Father. Jesus faith was so perfect that he was willing to die a shameful death, (everyone saying that he was not who he said he was) knowing by faith, that the Father would raise him from the dead, and exonerate him. That is precisely why you do not find places in scripture where Jesus’ law obedience was touted. The fact was the Jesus obeyed the Shema perfectly. He loved his Father with all his soul, heart, and strength and, he loved his neighbor as himself… even more than himself. He was willing to die to save his neighbor and perfect faith made that possible.

So what can we glean from this? What if faith is our obedience? It is the difference between resting in Jesus and God’s mercy, love and grace and living in a continual state of fear. Knowing that faith is obedience and trusting in it completely frees us up by providing perfect peace with God. It generates love for God and ultimately brings about the fertile soil in us that will produce real transformation; A soil that richly produces the fruit of the Spirit. I keep writing this over and over, in many different ways. Hopefully, eventually, you will see a pattern that you can trust and rest in. You will be drawn ever closer to God in Christ. You will be willing to surrender more and more to the one you love and trust. May God richly bless us as we enter more deeply into the Sabbath Rest.


  1. This provokes some thoughts, Joe, thanks for sharing. One thought I have is that systematic theology is guiding the newest Bible translators. I see this clearly in the latest NIV, and I suspect there are hints of it in the NIV84. I am convinced the early translators were guided by the Spirit and focused on the plain meanings of the Greek and Hebrew. In 50 years I expect each body of systematic theology will have its own version of the Bible, which will of course support their theology.

    At the same time I'm not nearly qualified to claim the translators are wrong :) I am convinced that I could demonstrate the plain truth of grace with any translation.

    The other major thought I have is that you are right on: what obedience does God look for? Faith. I'm not yet sure what camp this puts me in, probably some form of dispensationalism mixed with Calvanism, and a touch of antinomiminalism (is that a word?).

    So I am convinced that there is one, and only one responsibilty of mankind now: to repent (change your mind) and accept God's free gift of grace. Those who do that will be transformed to be a better person, and yet will sin up until they day they daie. They will demonstrate good deeds, yet will fail many times. They will have assurance of glory in Heaven, yet will be doubting at times.

    In the end, for me, the gospel is nothing more than amazing grace by faith. We see evidence of such faith when we examine our deeds, but not one of those deeds affects grace. Adding even an iota of anything else to this "equation" taints the whole thing and falls short of God's glory.

    1. Hi BrianK,
      One of the main recurring themes of this blog is the fact that I believe that Orthodox, and thereby Evangelical doctrine is in many ways the strong delusion of 2Thess 2:11. Further, it is also a phenomenon that Jesus warned about known as the leaven of the Pharisees. I think that the purpose was to exercise control over people for the sake of money.

      Theologians use church dogma, passed on over the centuries to inform their view of the bible and it effects the translations. Versions definitely have theological bents. I learned a little Greek during my study and one of the interesting things that I have discovered is that it is the faith OF Jesus that saves. Jesus faith was the saving faith and we apprehend it with our faith.

      I think that we are headed into a shifting age. This seems to happen biblically about every two thousand years give or take. The bible records three two thousand year ages and each age had a major paradigm shift. Thanks for the input... I really appreciate it!


  2. "and one of the interesting things that I have discovered is that it is the faith OF Jesus that saves." Enough said!

  3. This reminds me of a study on Romans 3:22, which is translated "This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." which implies that it is our faith that saves us. But I think the Greek says "the faith OF Jesus Christ" meaning it is his faith that saves us (after all, his faith is immeasurably greater than mine) and we just respond to his faith.

    1. Thanks for the reminder. I will do a blog post on the righteousness of God and the faith of Christ in the near future. It is significant also that after announcing the righteousness of God...dikaisune theou, Paul goes on to link it with the faith of Christ... pisteos iesou. You are definitely correct "pisteos iesou" (that's an omega not an omocron) is the genitive case, and the correct translation is the faith OF Christ.

  4. Joe, Thanks brother!I am blessed again by your insight, but most of all by your heart!


Implications of Paul's Message: The teaching of a first century Jewish Rabbi and his revelation about Torah Part I

Understanding Paul requires one look at first century Judaism. The reason is, that Jesus, his immediate disciples, and the Apostle Paul were...