PART 4: LEARNING HOW TO OBEY
Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations.
This is the fourth part of a four-part series, the first three parts have shown us:
The Bible tells us that without God intervening in our lives, in our falleness, we cannot understand God or the world He has created (Romans 3).
God speaks through His word to bring understanding to those who believe in Him (1 Corinthians 2:14 and 2 Corinthians 4:6).
Because scripture is God-breathed, it is the authority, not my own understanding (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Now we see that…
God is not just concerned with what we think or believe, real saving faith results in obedience
Romans is one of the longest and most complex books of the Bible. There is so much weight to everything that is said within. There is beautiful gospel truth in every chapter, and yet many are intimidated because of the complexity.
Being intimidated by the complexity may cause us to miss one of the clearest statements of personal purpose given by Paul. In Romans 1:5 Paul gives us a personal mission statement.
You may have missed it, I have for years, but it’s there.
In our age of obsession over simple guiding statements of mission, vision, purpose we should be thrilled to see that one of the most influential early followers of Christ has left us such a clear statement.
But what is it?
“to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations”
There it is, plain and simple. Paul is specifically defining his role as an apostle here, and in so doing gives us a glimpse of his biggest priorities. What are they?
Notice Paul is not merely concerned with belief. Isn’t that what the church in our age has emphasized most? Isn’t the goal of the church to get people to “just believe”? But Paul doesn’t speak of just belief here. He actually seems to believe that saving “faith” (a stronger word than belief) results in obedience.
What he is referring here is to an obedience that comes from faith.
Not faith that results from obedience.
The order here is essential. If obedience precedes faith, salvation is not by grace. But since obedience flows out of faith, we know that we are saved by Christ and Christ alone.
In addition, obedience has another purpose for Paul too, “his name.” Whose name? God’s name. Paul seems most concerned with the name of God being praised among all nations. In fact, that would be the biggest goal of his ministry, the name of God being praised. The work to bring people into the saving faith that leads to obedience is all for the sake of his name.
Evangelism is worship.
We tell others who Jesus is because we so esteem his name that we want others to know it and praise it also. That was what Paul saw and understood. He understood that people created in the image of this God would never be fully whole without a knowledge of his name and his work. So he labored to tell them. He labored so that they would respond to the message in faith. He labored so that their faith would result in obedience. He labored so that in their obedience they would lift a sweet aroma of praise to their creator.
This is what the life of a Christian looks like. Faith > Obedience > Worship > Mission
This is where I learn how to live.
God’s word has transformed my thinking. I couldn’t understand Him without Him. He gave His word so that He could give a miracle every time I read it. Those words have become my authority. And now those words are giving me purpose.
Faith > Obedience > Worship > Mission
This is what He has called me to. This is what He has called us to.
Now the question is who?
For Paul, his sights were set on bringing this message to every-one, all nations.
What if you just started with one? One person, one coworker, one family member, one family, one household.
Start somewhere. Start your mission for the sake of His name.