Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Obedience of Faith

Twice in Romans Paul refers to something he calls the obedience of faith. The scriptures tell us that Christ became sin for us and died for us. Through His once and for all sacrifice we are justified, righteous, sanctified, holy, saints, pure, dead, resurrected and ascended. In Him we go from glory to glory. Briefly told, that is the content of our faith.

Faith to salvation is quite easy compared to all the other things we hold as true. Faith isn’t easy, that is why Paul talks about this obedience of faith. Daily we are faced by inconsistencies. We lose our temper, our thoughts are a different story and we struggle with a variety of temptations. It seems like we are rendered in the middle of a battle zone, where our faith is challenged from many angles.

In order to understand this more thoroughly we have to investigate our death and compare it with Jesus’ death. Jesus death was an all encompassing death. All three parts of Him saw death. When He was in the grave He completely had given up His life. Since He had emptied Himself of His rights before He entered this temporal realm He couldn’t raise Himself from death. Thus the Spirit raised Jesus from the grave and gave Him back His life (Rom 8:11).

We who are still alive have experienced a spiritual death. We died in Christ and were also raised by the Spirit. However, our soul and body haven’t yet tasted death like the death Jesus experienced. Jesus is thus both perfected and untemptable there He is sitting at the right hand of the Father. We, however, are perfected and temptable. That’s the difference! So we are pulled, pushed and tempted in this evil world. But, why?

Where do you go when you are sick? You go to the doctor. He is a specialist. He has been trained with the objective of dealing with people’s ailments. Well, this world needs spiritual specialists as well; people who are well trained in the obedience of faith. So, we are educated through those pulls, influences and temptations to become spiritual experts who can aid those who are struggling towards a settled obedience of faith.

We feel fear, we have reactions, there are doubts and there is unbelief. We experience rejection, hurt, anger and a variety of feelings. Through them we discover our humanity. Our job isn’t to purify all those things. What we do, however, is refusing to accept any condemnation on account of our humanity. Obedience of faith means that despite any appearances we stand grounded in the truth which often seems to contradict the actual realities. We are hence equipped to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of His name among all the nations (Rom 1:5).

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