faith-obedience09-03-2012 - Posted by Andre Piet
…through Whom we obtained grace and apostleship for faith-obedience among all the nations… Romans 1:5 … yet manifested now and through prophetic scriptures, according to the injunction of the eonian God being made known to all nations for faith-obedience… Romans 16:26
All of Paul’s work is focused on the meaning of “faith-obedience” to all the nations. He begins his letter with this expression and he closes the letter with the same expression. In the intervening chapters, he explains what this means. One thing, in advance, must be clear to us in this letter: faith is diametrically opposed to works (=earning God’s favor, Rom.4:5). The ageing, childless Abraham, under the nightly star-strewn-heavens, was given to hear: “so shall your descendants be.” And “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness” (Rom.4:3). Abraham said, “Amen!” to a Divine announcement, without anything being asked of him or expected. On the one hand, Paul shows how hopeless the situation is with the man who tries to keep the law (Rom.7:23; 8:7), while on the other hand, “the requirement of the law” is indeed fulfilled “in them that walk after the Spirit “(Rom.8:4). I.e., God, Himself realizes this accomplishment! In the ninth chapter of Romans, the apostle states that Israel has never attained to the law “because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law” (Rom.9:32). Israel understands the law as a set of commands which man should fulfill. No, says Paul, the law (the Torah) is to be believed. The “you shall” of it is not to be taken as a command, but as a promise!
You will become the father of a throng of nations (Gen.17:4, CLV) – that is a promise! Holy shall you become, for I am holy, Yahweh your Elohim. (Lev.19:2, CLV) – that is a promise! …you will love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart… (Deut.6:5, CLV) – that is a promise! You shall love your associate as yourself (Rom.13:9, CLV) – that is a promise!
The religious man hears these words as a very heavy assignment … and he fails. In contrast, the believer hears the same words only as a promise and gratefully says, “Amen!” Nothing is being asked or expected of man and so, by definition, there can be no question of failure on his part or of condemnation! Obedience of works says: I will TRY to love my neighbor. Frustration and failure are sure to follow. “Faith-obedience” on the other hand says: I SHALL love my neighbor, because God has promised this! And if it is GOD Who promises this, it also is up to Him to make these words come true. Then, to Him, also, will be all the glory, when He makes them come true! Even as is being said of the father of all believers (Rom.4:16) in Romans 4:20:
yet the promise of God was not doubted in unbelief, but he was invigorated by faith, giving glory to God, 21 being fully assured also, that, what He has promised, He is able to do also.