It’s not often that I have the title of something I’m writing about before I have even started the composition. Usually it’s the other way around. But this past week this word and a handful of scriptures were resonating with me. And I don’t want it to simply be this far-off idea. My heart’s desire is that the Holy Spirit grows this into a lifestyle for my family and the family of believers around me.
Pastor Dean spoke on this idea of a remnant in his message Sunday February 26. Are we still receiving the message of Jesus that He gave to the large crowds, the milk? Or are we asking and seeking to receive the message of Jesus that He gave to His small group of disciples, the solid food (Hebrews 5:12)? The design of what He spoke on and how He spoke it to these two different groups of people is purposeful. He had a message geared to the masses for milk and easy drinking. And He had a message of solid food or meat, meant to challenge His remnant to stay true to our first love and obey Him, the One that deserves our love and obedience.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
The first question I have is what is from faith for faith? Can we remain in a faith the rest of our lives that stays in front of the cross, simply for salvation? Or is Paul saying that the power of salvation is from faith to lead us to faith lifestyle? “The righteous shall live by faith” leads me to believe that this isn’t a faith that is meant to stay stagnant. But we start there with His free gift of salvation.
The gospel is the power of God for salvation. How powerful? Paul describes it intensely in Romans 8:11 “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” The power of the gospel isn’t to just get us to heaven. It is to empower us to grow, mature in Christ and allow Him to produce fruit in us.
If Paul is calling believers righteous, then we are told that we shall live by faith. Faith in what? What are we hoping for? What unseen things are we convicted about? Paul writes that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us (Romans 8:18). What is this future glory?
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
1 John 3:1-3
Did we catch that? “What we will be has not yet appeared!” The future glory we have is that we will be like Him when He appears. But John makes it clear that this is connected to a walk of purification, or sanctification. And it is clear that this idea is actually the will of God for you life (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
Let’s go back to our present sufferings in Romans 8:18. God’s design of suffering in our lives is to show us that the path of suffering is to lead us into sanctification, not necessarily to lead us out of the suffering or to change our circumstances, which He may very well do. The power of the gospel is to give Christ the reward of His suffering. He suffered by emptying Himself of His deity while He completely submitted to the Father, unto death, the ultimate suffering. His reward for that is to grow us more Christ-like day by day, minute by minute, second by second. To become one with Him. How prideful and dismissive is it of us to say to Him, “I love You, but I still love the sin in me too.” That’s destructive and according to Barnhouse, it’s not the gospel.
…You have no gospel at all if you do not see that God is love at the same time that God is hate of sin…[Those that] teach that God is love without teaching that God is hate of sin, have, in reality, another god who is Satan with a mask on (Romans Volume I Man’s Ruin, p. 25).
God is asking of us to live as the remnant now. To decrease so He can increase (John 3:30). To live life by walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and to crucify our flesh (Galatians 5:24) and live as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). He desires a pure and spotless church (Ephesians 5:27), His bride. The desire of God is oneness (John 17) and always will be.
So, our faith is still in Christ but it’s not the faith we start with when we encountered Him initially. It’s a faith that believes that He was the One that perfected and authored our faith and is doing so now. The first human to completely submit and succeed in saying and doing only what the Father desired. This power is now in us as His Holy Spirit! When we live out the Romans 12 living sacrifice and ask Him to live through us this is the faith we need to live by when we, as Paul says, “the righteous shall live by faith.”
Very good, Mark. Looking forward to more of your writings.
Great job! Looking forward to more of your writings.
Way to go! Looking forward to reading more!