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.
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