Obedience of faith is mentioned twice in Paul’s epistle to the Romans. It is the penultimate goal of the gospel as explained by John Piper of Desiring God Foundation. What is obedience of faith and why is it so important?
Romans 1:5 Disciples’ Literal New Testament (DLNT)
5 through Whom we received grace and apostleship for the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of His name,
Romans 16:26 King James Version (KJV)
26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
The Gospel of
Often you hear a message that could be summarized as “The Gospel of . . . . ” Some examples include:
- the gospel of grace,
- the gospel of forgiveness,
- the gospel of abundance,
- the gospel of prosperity,
- the gospel of blessing,
- the gospel of mercy,
- the gospel of healing
- the gospel of love
Each of these is merely a facet of THE GOSPEL. Since gospel means ‘good news’ each one is an informative message that describes how faith in Jesus Christ justifies you and insures forgiveness for your sins and makes you righteous before God. Then you are a child of God and receive all the benefits of your salvation as a package . . . according to your faith. It is faith that justifies and sets your life on a different path. It is the gospel that strengthens you and produces fruit in your life.
Romans 16:25-27 Living Bible (TLB)
25-27 I commit you to God, who is able to make you strong and steady in the Lord, just as the Gospel says,
Fruit of the Gospel
Each child of God began as a baby Christian and had to grow and learn how to behave in this new life. God’s love and mercy is so great and our sins were so grave that we can’t help but love God and want to please him. Also, we are in a fight for our lives against Satan who would try to destroy us. Unless we grow, we are helpless to defend ourselves and our loved ones against attack.
As we grow and mature as Christians, we begin to exhibit qualities, behaviors, characteristics that demonstrate our faith. Obedience of faith is the fruit of the Gospel that demonstrates our saving faith to others. James said it eloquently,
James 2:18 New International Version (NIV)
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.
And faith without deeds (works) is dead.
James 2:20-26 New International Version (NIV)
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
John Piper said, “Our obedience is the fruit of that faith. Faith changes people. Dead faith cannot save or justify.”
What does obedience of faith look like?
Paul emphasizes the behaviors that demonstrate your maturity of faith in Romans 12.
Romans 12:9-21 New International Version (NIV)
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Here is a checklist for each of us to judge our own behavior and attitudes. The Holy Spirit will quicken our hearts and show us where we are still lacking. No one is too good or mature to not benefit from this advice.
When you tell others what wonderful things God did for you, you might list off the changes in your behaviors and circumstances that improved your life. Often it includes physical healing and health. You might tell of your joy and love and sense of hope you now have. You might tell of how with God’s help, you overcame some sin or destructive behavior that had been with you all your life.
For example, a young man was praying every day asking God, “What do you want me to do?” After several weeks like this, God spoke to him, “Put in an application at ORU.” His immediate response was, “ORU! I don’t even like Oral Roberts.” Nonetheless he applied, and went, forsaking his previous life and embarking on a new life. His experience at this ‘Promised Land’ gave him strength, power, understanding, and increased faith. His life was changed forever and years later his obedience of faith was still visible.
Not everyone gets a direct word from the Lord. But everyone can hear from God through the scriptures.
If you are not a believer and you would like to start over in your life and make life changes for the better with God’s help, spend some time learning about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If this message touches your heart, you can pray the sinner’s prayer and become born again.
Hebrews 4:7-10 New International Version (NIV)
7 God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.
God is a god of second chances.