Live By Faith

Romans 1:16-17

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Quo Warranto

Have you heard of the term “Quo Warranto”? Quo Warranto is Latin term for “by what warrant, authority, or sanction.”  It is for legal procedure to determine by what warrant, authority or right a person holds a public office or a corporation exercises a franchise. It’s used as legal action for the discontinuance of unlawful hold of public office or unauthorized exercise of franchise.

A Quo Warranto petition was filed in the Philippine Supreme Court against the ABS-CBN Corp for supposedly illegal operation. While others may view this legal action as political acrobat, others would like to know the truth surrounding it.

Legal or not legal, political or constitutional, the petition itself polarizes and generates opposing opinions. Most often, opinions of the majority can influence decisions when the law is not specific of what must be done and what must not.

Similarly, believers can be confused on how to interpret God’s commands. Some groups claim that since believers are saved by grace, God’s law does not apply to them. Truly, we’re saved by grace, but we don’t dictate which lifestyle is righteous to God. So, which lifestyle is sinful, and which lifestyle is acceptable to God? How do we know it when we sin? Apostle Paul testified in Romans 7:7:

I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law.

The Lord doesn’t require human opinion for His law. It’s not sensible that human sinful nature defines a righteous lifestyle acceptable for a righteous God. Our righteous God has exclusive authority to declare which lifestyle is righteous.

Apostle Paul was a former Pharisee. Based on Mosaic Law, he’s faultless. And, after he believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, he never rejected the commands of the Lord. He actually testified that God’s law is very essential to know which lifestyle is sinful, and which one is not sinful before God.

God knows, we can’t be righteous on own. So, He gave laws as guiding principle for righteous lifestyle acceptable to Him, and helps us determine if we’re living by faith in Christ. This is not to say that if we obey God’s law we can be righteous. Nobody can obey the law 100%. It says in James 2:10, 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

What obedience is acceptable? First of all, we’ve got to be empowered and filled by Christ’s Spirit. We obey God when prompted by the Holy Spirit. Obeying God is also a practical application of faith in Christ. The Holy Spirit, Christ’s Spirit empowers, helps, and inspires us, so that we have joy and peace obeying the Lord’s instructions. We are not forced to obey or resist obedience.

Pressure to obey God is a deception from the devil. We obey the Lord not to become righteous before God, but obedience to God must be prompted by faith in the Lord so that we are not pressured to obey but enjoy obeying God.

And, God’s law defines which lifestyle is unrighteous, and which lifestyle is righteous to Him. So, to have a righteous lifestyle in the eyes of God, we live by faith in Christ. To practically determine if we’re living by faith in Christ, we look at God’s law and make sure our lifestyle is aligned with the Lord’s commands.

We don’t compare if lifestyle is better than the lifestyle of others. God won’t say, “Hmn! You are better than your neighbor! Or, Hmn Your neighbor is doing better than you!” God will deal with us individually and separately, not as a group.

God has unique purpose for each believer. So, our lifestyle should be in coherence or in agreement with God’s purpose or His calling for each of us. God leads, we follow. And, we look at His commands to check we following Him right.

When Apostle Paul believed in Christ, the Lord gave him a purpose as an Apostle to the Gentiles. The Lord told him to preach the gospel to Gentiles. And, he told the church in Rome that he’s eager to preach to gospel of Christ. He’s not ashamed of his lifestyle as preacher of the gospel of Christ.

1. Ashamed

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 

Jewish people are God’s chosen nation. God loved all people He created, but Jewish people are the primary recipients of God’s gift of salvation. Everyone who is not Jewish is called Gentile. If you’re not a Jewish person, you’re called Gentile. The term “Gentile” means “nation, ethnic, tribe or cultural groups.”

Apostle Paul was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ because he was saved when he believed it. When he put his faith in Christ, he was eager to tell others about his personal experience because Christ’s Spirit empowered him.

a. Power

16…because it is the power of God…

The term “power” means “miraculous power, might, strength.” Similar term is used for physical power, force, might, ability, efficacy, energy, powerful deeds or marvelous works.  It is also properly interpreted as “ability to perform.” For believers, it’s the power to achieve by applying the Lord’s inherent abilities or power that comes from the Spirit of God after we put our trust in Christ.

Power through God’s ability is needed in every aspect of believers’ life to really grow in sanctification, set apart for God’s purpose, and prepare for eternity. Specifically, this is God’s power we use in performing miracles.

When Paul said that the gospel is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes, he implied that there’s no insistence and forcing listeners to accept Christ. Believers accept Christ because of God’s power. We believe Christ because the Holy Spirit has regenerated and consecrated us for Himself.

Therefore, the gospel is instrumental to bring salvation to all believers by God’s grace and power. We have to rely upon the Lord when sharing the gospel.

So, why was Apostle Paul not ashamed of the gospel of Christ? He knew it and experienced it personally that when he trusted Christ by faith, and changed into loving and caring person. As a former Pharisee, Paul cannot readily accept Gentiles and their lifestyle. But when he accepted the Lord’s call as Apostle to the Gentiles, he was eager to preach the gospel of Christ to Gentiles.

Many Gentiles, like you and me–we are also Gentiles, have been saved when they heard the gospel of Christ. What does it means to be saved. God has forgiven our sins when we confess them; He pardoned our eternal punishment.

b. Pardon

16 … brings salvation to everyone who believes…

All humans are destined to be punished eternally. Except by God’s grace through faith in Christ, nobody can save us from eternal punishment of sin. To be saved, we’ve got to believe and accept the gospel or good news of Christ. The gospel of Christ pertains to His personhood and the message of His crucifixion.

Who is Jesus Christ? He is the only Son of God; He is 100% God; He has the very nature of God; He was born of Virgin Mary; He is also 100% human; He has the very nature of human, but He did not commit sin.

Pertaining to Christ, it says in Hebrews 4:15, For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

Christ had no sin. He is the perfect sacrificial ransom to redeem us from eternal death. Our iniquities or violations to God’s law had been crucified with Christ, and His blood that was shed on the cross washed all our sins away.

It says in Hebrews 9:22, The law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

By faith, we believe Christ blood cleansed our sins. By faith, we can now live righteously, not because we are able to obey God’s law, but because by faith, God sent His Spirit to empower and inspires us to live by faith righteously.

Therefore, we can never live righteously on our own human sinful effort.

Sincere Service

Practically speaking, how should we live by faith, in our ordinary activities?

It says is Ephesians 6:5-8, Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

In our context or situation, employees are better than slaves because they receive salaries. It’s very sensible that just as we would obey Christ, we obey employers with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart much better than obedience and respect required of slaves, who did not receive salaries?

Wherever we are situated, whatever circumstance we have, our lifestyle reveals if the gospel of Christ made a powerful effect in our life. With lifestyle of righteousness, we acknowledge that the gospel of Christ influenced our life.

2. Acknowledged

17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

To live by faith is not some sort of self-imposed deprivation of material thing, or trying to live a life of poverty to avoid being called materialistic.

When Joseph son of Jacob was sold as slave, he certainly felt bad that he was forced to be separated from his father and family. By faith, he trusted God’s plan for him to become greater than his brothers. He entrusted his life to God. He was promoted to the highest position in Egypt where he was sold as slave.

To live by faith, is to live righteously. To live righteously is subsequent result of God’s grace after we receive and accepted Christ as Lord and Savior.

a. Receive

17 —a righteousness that is by faith…

God never pressure us to live by faith. Faith is gift of God. Did you receive faith to believe in Christ? Don’t try to pretend. Don’t deceive yourself. Don’t try to live righteously by human effort. You’ll be frustrated because nobody can. To live by faith is to have joy, peace, patience or self-control… from the Holy Spirit.

Can you control your lifestyle in obedience to God’s law? Again, do not force the issue. Don’t’ try to obey God’s laws by your human sinful effort. Instead, keep on asking for increase of faith and empowerment of the Holy Spirit until the fruit of the Spirit is produced abundantly and make an impact in your life.

Jesus declared in John 14:23, Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.

The Lord Jesus never said that we love Him by our human effort, why?

By human initiatives, we can never reach the godly standard of loving God. Our response should be, “Lord, help me love and obey you!” To love and obey the Lord is righteous lifestyle as practical manifestation of faith in Christ.

b. Respond

17.. “The righteous will live by faith.”

To live by faith is also a practical manifestation of the power of the gospel of Christ. Why? Since the righteous lives by faith, righteous life is practical proof that we receive the gift of faith. How could that be since we should not force the issue of living righteously by our human effort? How does live by faith operate?


Before I share how to live by faith, let me share with you how not to live by faith. It says in Jonah:1-3, 1The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.

The term “Tarshish” means precious gem that may denotes that Tarshish was a desirable destination for travelers. Jonah disobeyed the Lord. Instead of going east to Nineveh, he completely opposed the Lord’s instruction and tried to escape to a desirable destination to the west. No one can escape from the Lord.

The story teaches us the Lord sent storm. This time, Jonah knew that whatever the Lord plans, it will happen. The storm was violent and terrified the sailors. This time, Jonah decided to live righteously before God.

When he was asked, he testified in Jonah 1:9-12, He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.) 11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” 12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”

Friends: When you sense a storm in your life, ask: “Am I disobeying the Lord?” If you tried to be the best employee you can be, but storm of life disturb your working relationship, “Don’t resign!” Instead, ask the Lord that if it is His will, He would cause your employer to lay you off.

Jonah did not jump off during storm. The sailors threw him off into the sea.

Jonah did not try to swim to the shore after he was thrown into the sea. God sent a large fish that served as his vehicle to the land God wanted him to be. Similarly, don’t drastic move to change your situation. Wait upon the Lord, respond righteously. The Lord says in Psalm 60:10, 10Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

As we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we are reminded of the Lord’s instruction to proclaim His death and resurrection until He returns. By faith, we can live righteously in the eyes of God, how? We don’t want to escape like Jonah or God might send storm of life. We eagerly proclaim the gospel of Christ. So, pray and wait for God’s empowerment and He will be exalted in our life forever!

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