The Series - To All Who are in Rome; The Article - I am not Ashamed (Part 4); Text - Romans 1.16,17
Did you ever play a little game where someone gives you three guesses to try to find out a bit of information? It may be fun when it comes to matters of little consequence, or just for the fun of the game. However, if failing to guess correctly is going to jeopardize anything of importance, a person would do well to refuse to play. Well, when it comes to matters of eternal importance, it might be surprising to find out how many people needlessly play three guesses. Let’s consider the only alternative that actually exists.
Paul wrote, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” (Romans 1.16,17).Note the phrase, “In it [the gospel of Christ] the righteousness of God is revealed…” Knowledge of “the righteousness of God” is essential if one is to be forgiven of sins and inherit eternal life. In this case, the essential information (i.e. the righteousness of God) is revealed, not guessed. In fact, those who guess cannot win! Even if one guesses correctly, he loses! The awesome fact which must never be forgotten is this – this is not a game of chance, it is a matter of life or death.
The righteousness of God is a matter of faith; in fact, it begins with faith and it culminates in faith. It comes by revelation and it finds realization in faith. God manifest His essential information in such a way that man can know it, and man makes a choice as to whether or not to exercise his faith in that revealed knowledge. Contrary to so much that is taught today, faith is not a gamble; it is not a guess; it does not live on hunches; it cannot survive apart from knowledge; and without it no one can please God (see Hebrews 11.6)! That’s why even those who guess correctly, lose in the matter of faith! That’s why John declared that we can know, and that we can know that we know. “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” (1 John 2.3).
Jesus did not come to this earth so that we could enjoy almost Blessed Assurance. He did not die so that believers could experience his favor in Grace that is almost Amazing. Faith is not an almost affair; it is a matter of revelation from God. Paul would write later in the book of Romans, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10.17). This is God’s process! Man can no more change it that he can change God. The written and/or spoken word from God or through one of His agents/prophets was and is the only means by which any human being ever learned the will of God. Saul /Paul was told words by which forgiveness could be obtained. Cornelius was told words whereby he could be saved. Peter exhorted the men on Pentecost with words so they could understand what to do to be saved. Faith comes by hearing – that is God’s unalterable plan. It does not come by guessing, tossing a coin, drawing straws, or any similar technique; it is a matter of revelation!
When it comes to eternity, three guesses is not an option! Only by hearing God’s word can we know what He wills for us to do and know that we have done it! It is “from faith to faith.”
1. What does the word revealed mean in Romans 1.17?
2. According to the focus text, where or how is the righteousness of God revealed?
3. Why is it true when it comes to faith that even if a man guesses correctly, he loses?
4. How does faith come to man? Who decreed it to be this way? Who can change it?
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