A word perhaps should be interjected here regarding faith and obedience.  Some have such high (as they think of it) views of grace that they would utterly exclude the very concept of obedience from saving faith.  This is completely unbiblical.  Faith itself is an act of obedience, for is not “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” a command?  Surely it is.  I John 3:23 tells us, “This is His commandment, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ…”  Therefore, when we cast aside our own works of merit and obedience, and rely wholly upon the finished work of Christ for our acceptance with God, we are obeying God’s commandment.  The act of faith is not meritorious in and of itself, as some teach, for we know that the very faith which lays hold of Christ is a gift of God.  He must give us a new heart and a new way, else we will never fear Him and believe Him.  Nevertheless, scripture is quite plain that belief in Christ is an act of obedience.  To the unbelieving Jews our Lord Jesus declared, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent.”  Every other good work flows from this initial spiritual work.  Apart from faith in Christ, we can do nothing which is acceptable to God.

This living, obedient faith was a mark of the calling of the Roman believers.  Paul makes mention of this in verse 6, grouping the believers in Rome with those out of every nation who have submitted themselves to the command of the Gospel, cast aside their idolatry and their self-sufficiency to trust in Christ and depend upon the righteousness which is of faith for eternal life.  They did so because they were called of God.  No person, not the self-righteous Jew nor the heathen Gentile, should have ever forsaken the customs of their fathers to take up the cross and follow Christ, except they experienced a divine call upon the soul which they could not resist.  One day they were content with who and what they were, caring nothing at all for the prophet from Nazareth, and then the next day Jesus Christ was the most important person in the world to them, the only person who could grant them access into the presence of God the Judge of all.  This mighty transformation only occurs because the people of God are made willing in the day of His power.  It is He Who calls us and gives us faith, not the preacher, and certainly not we ourselves.

 

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