Faith According To Paul.
Romans 4; Galatians 3; Genesis 15.
Faith’s nebulous other-worldly trajectory in any believer’s life, together with its enigmatic expressions, is a compelling issue in the differentiation of our identity in Christ to that of the world. Unquestionably, faith’s genesis is in Yahweh Himself, and its presence in our life is a gift from Him (Eph 2:8), without which we will never be justified by Christ and will still be vulnerable to the wrath of God against sin (Rom 5:1-2). John Calvin was convinced that true religion begins with faith. Faith obviously encompasses a belief in the essential Biblical truths (c.f., The Apostle’s Creed), but it is much more than believing correctly. The Apostle Paul addressed the issue of faith by taking Abraham as his example (Rom 4:16).
Regardless of Sarah’s inability to conceive, God promised Abraham that she would give birth to a son, and he trusted the Almighty, “who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist” (Rom 4:17). Trust is never cultivated in a void nor does it spring up suddenly. Trustworthiness In any relationship remains unsustainable without a long-term bond in place, often requiring constancy and timelessness in one’s presence. Because its essence is divine, the exercise of faith inevitably removes us outside of our constricted human mindset and comfort zones, stretching us in the direction of limitless divine possibilities – a perspective that is not necessarily comprehended, but can only be grasped in proximity to God (c.f., Heb 11:1-2). Ultimately, it is a selfless ‘seeing’ in trusting God in hindsight for what He had accomplished in Christ, and for a way forward.
Faith’s consequence predictably gives rise to works (James 2:14, 17 22), and a person of faith is not unlike God, whose actions and behaviour are always characterised by love (Gal 5:6; 1 John 4:7-8). Likewise, Abraham’s faith was never for his own edification, but always other-centred, resulting in others being blessed, as he served them (Gal 3:8-9). Often, the human predilection is to focus on the spiritual stature and influential ministration of a human vessel’s faith, but the pedestal truly belongs to no one except God, for faith is given only on the basis of grace.
For Abraham “with respect to the promise of God, did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God” (Rom 4:20; c.f., Heb 11:6); viz., he worshipped God. When the full consequence of our salvation dawns on us (from our deliverance from darkness to our being transferred into the kingdom of light), it would predictably awaken within us a profound thankfulness in worship to our Saviour and God. When deep calls to deep, a gifted faith enables us to commune with a holy God, being the lingua franca of heaven and the pathway to divine presence. Faith leads us into certain worship of the Almighty.
Since all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, none possess a predisposition to obey God, nor the capability to do so from within our own resources (Rom 3:10-12; Rom 3:23; c.f., John 3:16; John 6:44-45). It is God who initiated a fundamental change in our lives, in order to facilitate obedience through justifying us by faith, viz., placing us in Christ on the basis of His finished work on the Cross (Rom 3:22). Hence, faith is the instrument through which the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, enabling us to unreservedly obey Him. Henceforth, only in Christ and through the power of His Holy Spirit are we empowered to represent Him as we progressively trust, worship, and serve in obedience to the King of kings and Lord of lords.