The questions I want to answer in this study are:
1) How do we live?
2) What shall we do?
3) How do we do it?
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). We want to find our answers in the Bible.
The Bible says, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). By what faith does one live? I have a great deal of faith in love, that through love is every good work possible. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This is everlasting love.
Good works are a natural result of repentance, and conversion which is caused by beholding God’s love. The Bible says, “…the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4). Jesus Christ is the manifestation of the goodness of God, of His grace, mercy and love. Through Him we have strength and everything we need. Because God loves us, He leads us to Christ so we can be saved. Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).
The works of God are revealed in Jesus. The words that Jesus spoke are the words His Father commanded Him to speak. He said, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak” (John 12:49). The obedience of Jesus to His Father gives us an example of how we are to live. Jesus said, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
“For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Romans 2:13). There is only one way to be a doer of the law and it is by Jesus Christ. “That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:10, 11).
The Bible talks about “the law of sin and death” and “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:2). When we walk by the faith of Jesus Christ, we walk in the Spirit and thus we “shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). When we walk in the Spirit, our actions are prompted by God’s love. When someone does everything in love, they fulfill “the whole law,” for “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10).
The Ten Commandments are a reflection of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the measure of what man cannot achieve on his own. But in Christ we are made whole and can do all things (Philippians 4:13).
I live by the Spirit and not by the letter of the Law. I look not for the praise of man, but of God. The truth is further explained by Paul when he prayed that he would, “be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:9). The Bible says, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6). The just shall live by faith, and can only be justified through the blood of Jesus.
Prayer, Prayer, Prayer! The Bible says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Pray always for spiritual guidance in the name of Jesus Christ, Who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
The judgment of God is according to truth. God is a just God and He is “no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). No man, regardless of his position, is to be the judge of our motives. That job belongs to God. We should beware, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:2).
God gave us His goodness so we can know the path to repentance. For God “…will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life” (Romans 2:6, 7).
God wants us all to be saved. “For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)” (Romans 2:11-15).
Jesus is able “…to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
The Son of God
Look at what Jesus said through Solomon, “When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth” (Proverbs 8:24-27). Literally, before there was dust, the thing that man was made of, Jesus was born of God. Before God put a compass upon the ocean, Jesus was there.
The Bible continues, “Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors” (Proverbs 8:33-34). Each day there is a door, each day there is a window of opportunity. Usually when I am looking for an answer to something, it is important for me to know who is giving me that answer. I tend to have more faith in the person who is giving me such answers when that person is older than me; someone who has a few years of wisdom. I will keep my faith in God, to Whom my only door is through Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. He is my Saviour from a world of evil destruction.
Just as there is a law of gravity, so there is “the law of faith” (Romans 3:27). The more I read and understand in chapter three of Romans, it is not about being a Jew that I can gain any advantage. It is not about where I am from, or how closely I follow the letter of the law. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
If I am to have any confidence in anything as I am looking for justification, I have to have the Justifier, the Son of God, who is my salvation. “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (Romans 3:24, 25).
The NKJV says, “whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:25, 26 NKJV).
I have faith in Jesus. He is my Lord. He is my joy, the salvation of what was left of me after forty-four years of hell. My life is now more abundant in ways that are soberly full of drunkenness, drunk with Jesus on my mind, in my heart as a joyful song.
The just shall live by faith is for me a meaning of bounty because it represents a strength that is given that I could never achieve on my own. And that is the strength to be righteous in the eyes of God. In my eyes I see a man who has been changed. I see where I have been, and some of the places I have been are not very pretty, but by the blood of Jesus I am cleansed.
Justified, justified, I love that word, but it should never be misinterpreted. Let’s consider a justifiable action and what it means. Is it when someone hurts another by putting them in harm’s way? Absolutely not! Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Then there are those who plot out and scheme against others knowing full-well what they are doing. We do not find it justifiable to pay evil for evil, yet, rather pray for their very lives to be found in true repentance and turning towards the Lord who is able to set a wretched man on the path of righteousness.
The Work of God
What is the work of God? The answer is, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:29). When you believe in a person it is normal to lean towards the advice they give. It is common to have a long-standing relationship with them. I know that when one of my friends invites me over for dinner, I always get a little bit excited and, of course, that excitement level can get pretty high in just the course of wanting to know what we are going to eat.
In the same way, I get joyful about inviting someone over, or even just out for a tasty meal, because I enjoy the complements of relationships. My heart has seen a great deal in its ever so short forty-four years. I love to love more than I do anything else in the world. Jesus said, “If any man serve me, let him follow me;…” (John 12:26). Then He goes on to explain something that is in store for those who follow Him. He continued, “…and where I am, there shall also my servant be:…” (John 12:26). Sounds like an invitation to me, and I love invitations.
I also like it when someone says, “Hey, would you do me a favor?” because I like to be called upon. Banquets. I love banquets because they are exciting and the atmosphere always gives me a boost: people called out by name to be honorably noticed for things of integrity, special achievements, and that is why the last part of this verse really hits me. “…if any man serve me, him will my Father honour” (John 12:26).
Abraham believed in God and showed himself approved by God when he held back nothing from God. Whatever God said, Abraham did. It is important to recognize the promises God gave to Abraham. This gives us building blocks to know how to live by faith. The Bible says that reading Scripture builds our faith. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Our faith is built when we hear the words and then become a doer of the word by faith. James said, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22). This leads to fulfilled promises as one watches the glorious works of God unfold in their life.
Romans chapter five starts out very nicely. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1, 2). The glory of God is, to me, the power of His love, which is life, yet not only life today, but life everlasting equaling everlasting love.
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:3-5).
For me, I can see faith by this verse’s main course, which is, “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.” How can I see it? By the difference of what my life produces. Faith in God produces love in my heart, produced by Jesus Christ living in my heart, which gives great hope to me. Learning to glory in tribulations makes for a certain type of patience. What do I mean? The only kind of patience worth having is Christ-centered living. This is the same as God-centered, for to know God is to know Jesus. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:8, 9).
Living Christ-centered is laying aside all fears and overcoming circumstances in a humble yet contrite, heartfelt manner.
In the book of Luke it talks about John the Baptist going about speaking of Jesus, which is the same thing Jesus said for us to do with others. “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). “The just shall live by faith.” I believe that through Him my sins are cleared from the books; all my sins are gone away. It is by the blood that He shed on the cross that I am covered. This justifies me. “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:21). “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:11).
To serve something is to be a slave to it. We are either a slave to sin or a slave to God. For me, I choose God. I choose the one Who has in His arm all power over every difficulty that could come my way. Jehovah is the Alpha and the Omega of every detail in my life.
Chapter six of Romans speaks of a newness to take place by those who are made alive in Christ. “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:6-14).
In order to be made alive, first I must be dead. I cannot be alive in Christ if I am still living the life of Jason. To live in Christ Jesus is a destination. I pray that you reach that destination by faith.