15 So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:15–17)
Why preach the gospel? Because it is God’s power to save the lost. Why does the gospel possess such power? Because it reveals “the righteousness of God”. That is, the gospel reveals the means by which God counts sinners righteous; it is “by faith” (Rom. 5:1). Plus, the gospel produces personal faith in Jesus (Rom. 10:17). This is the thesis statement of Romans. The gospel teaches us how God saves sinners. The gospel teaches us about the personal faith we must have in Jesus in order to be saved. That is why the gospel must be preached.
1 Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. 2 And the LORD said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. 3 You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. 4 And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5 It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.” (Joshua 6:1-5)
A clearer picture of salvation “by grace…through faith” could not be given. Israel took Jericho by grace: “God has given you the city” (verse 2, 16). Yet, their faith in God had to be obedient for seven days (verses 3-5). Then, the walls would “fall down flat” (verse 5). Similarly, sinners are saved by God’s grace when, by faith, they obey Him (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38-41; Titus 3:5). Obedience does not earn salvation any more than it earned Jericho. Yet without obedient faith, the gift is not received (the walls would not have fallen until Israel obeyed God). Saving faith is obedient as it relies on God’s grace for salvation.
1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1-3)
The cherished hope of the Christian is built upon unwavering faith in Jesus Christ. His redemptive sacrifice and present exaltation in heaven gives us unyielding resolve to trust His every word and reverently obey Him. Jesus Christ will come again and take us to our eternal, heavenly home. Be at peace in your heart.
42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. (John 12:42-43)
If sinners are saved by faith only, then we must safely conclude that these believers who loved “the praise of men more than the praise of God” will be saved without confessing Him. Who can believe such a thing? A doctrine that allows one to sin with impunity is false; it is error. Being ashamed of Jesus and His words now will certainly forfeit His acceptance of you when He returns – even if, like these rulers, you believe in Him: “Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38). Saving faith is obedient, otherwise, it is not acceptable faith (Luke 6:46; Matthew 7:21). Be sure your faith pleases Jesus.
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age…” (Titus 2:11-12)
This passage teaches us several things about God’s marvelous grace. First, it “brings salvation”. Without God’s love, mercy and grace we would not be saved from our sins (Eph. 2:4-5). Second, it “has appeared to all men”. God’s grace is available to all who will access it “by faith” (Rom. 1:16-17; 5:1-2). Third, God’s grace teaches us to live differently than before He saved us by His grace. We must deny sin and pursue holiness. God’s grace is greater than sin, but it does not allow us to “continue in sin that grace may abound” (Rom. 6:1-2). God’s grace is not our license to sin, it is our incentive to love God and be faithful to Him.
8 Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?” 9 Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.” 10 Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.” (John 9:8-11)
What if you had been this blind man? Would you have gone to the pool of Siloam and washed as Jesus instructed? Or, would you have said, “any water will wash the mud off my eyes – why should I go to that pool?” It would take faith to do what Jesus said. If you did wash your eyes like this man, would you have earned the right to have your sight restored? No, and neither did this man. God was gracious to him when he put his faith in Jesus and followed His instructions. Yet today, when the same Jesus says “He who believes and is baptized will be saved…”, many sinners object (Mk. 16:16). Why not have the faith to go to the water and be baptized to be saved (to have your spiritual sight restored)? You will not earn anything when you do. You will be saved “by grace, through faith”. We cannot expect to be saved if we do not have the faith to do what Jesus said.
By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. (Hebrews 11:7)
Noah was a great man of faith. He was not sinless, but he was a “just man” of integrity who “found grace in the eyes of the Lord” and “walked with God” (Gen. 6:8-9). God saved this man and his family through the water of the flood (1 Pet. 3:20). Why? Because in faith, Noah was “moved with godly fear” and obeyed the Lord’s command to build an ark. Noah had faith to build the ark, that saved his family. His obedient faith was counted to him for righteousness; Noah became “heir of the righteousness which is according to faith”. By grace, God saves those who have faith to obey His command to be baptized (the antitype of the flood, “which now saves us”, 1 Pet. 3:21). Do you have to kind of faith through which Noah was saved? You can, by obeying Christ’s commands to believe and be baptized to be saved (Mark 16:16). When you do, God will save you “by grace, through faith” (Eph. 2:8).
45 “But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” (John 8:45–47)
Isn’t it ironic that many who say they have faith in God refuse the very words that come from God? Jesus said, “But because I tell you the truth, you do not believe Me” (Jno. 8:45). He told them the truth, but they wanted to do the desires of their father, the devil (Jno. 8:44). There is no truth in the devil. Sin always hinders us from believing the truth of Jesus. If you want to do the desires of God, your Father, then you will hear and believe the truth that Jesus taught. He spoke to the world the things that come from God (Jno. 8:26-27). God is speaking to you by the words of Christ. Are you listening? That will depend on whose desires you want to do; the devil’s or God’s.
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.” (Acts 2:22–24)
The apostle Peter had important words to say to the people of Jerusalem that day. Like them, we must listen to the words that were spoken by the apostles of Christ. Here is why: Because “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Faith does not come from having an experience. Faith is not inherited from your parents. Faith does not come from your emotions. Faith does not come by a direct, miraculous event in your life. If we accept the Bible as God’s word, then we must accept that faith comes by hearing that word! The apostles of Christ spoke and wrote the very word of God (1 Ths. 2:13; 1 Cor. 14:37). So, listen carefully to their words. Let them sink deep into your heart. Then you be equipped to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).
24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14:24–27)
As the apostles’ boat was tossed about in the Sea of Galilee storm, so our lives are often tossed about by the trials and uncertainties of life. Jesus is never far away. He is ever-present to comfort and to save. Like the apostles, we may be frightened at times, Jesus speaks words of comforting assurance to all who put their faith in Him. Take courage (“be of good cheer”), says Jesus. “It is I (lit., “I am”), do not be afraid”. He is the ever-existing One, the great I AM, who never falters and who never fails those who put their trust Him. Whatever life brings your way, courageous trust the Lord and follow His words. When you do, the peaceful calm of salvation will surely be yours (Matt. 14:28-33).