...the churches of Christ salute you! Rom 16:16

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Enough Faith

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In Romans 1:5, the apostle Paul asserts that through Jesus Christ, the apostles received grace and apostleship for a purpose. That purpose was "for obedience to the faith among all nations...." Through God's grace they were to deliver God's plan of salvation. They were to teach all na­tions to obey the faith. The faith here is the gospel, the doctrine, or the Word of God through Christ. Jesus instructed His apostles likewise in Matthew 28:20 when He said, "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you...." Paul, being an apostle "born out of due time," under­stood Jesus' commission.
Paul insisted that grace and apostleship were given to him with a specific focus. The focus was "to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed" (Romans 15:18). Further in his letter, he wrote that the gospel of Christ, which Paul preached, was "made known to all nations for the obedience of faith..." (Romans 16:25-26). Since Paul wrote of obedience to the faith and obedience by word and deed, this article's title suggests a question. Do we have enough faith to inspire obedi­ence? Many people profess faith in Christ and the gospel. Do they have sufficient faith in Christ to produce obedience to the gospel and Christ's commandments as delivered by the apostles?
Obedience is a necessary conse­quence of genuine faith. The Word consistently teaches that fact. There is no true, complete faith that does not produce obedience. Obedience springs from our faith. It is not a faith that is spoken or professed only, but a faith that produces real obedience to the gospel of Christ. As Paul said, he taught the gospel "to make the Gen­tiles obedient by word and deed" (Romans 15:18).
We understand that through the preaching of the apostles "all nations," that is all people, would be taught the gospel. Those who truly believe will have faith and be moved to obey the gospel because of their faith.
This gives us an understanding of Paul's statement in Ephesians 2:8, "For by grace are ye saved through faith." By the grace of God the salva­tion of the gospel of Christ was preached to all mankind by the apos­tles. Through the obedience of faith (Romans 16:26), by obedience to the faith (Romans 1:5), salvation comes to mankind by the grace of God.
Additionally, Colossians 2:12 speaks to us concerning "the faith of the oper­ation of God." The gospel manifests (reveals) to mankind how God delivers salvation. God, in His wisdom, has chosen His way for mankind to be saved. The operation of God is His way, not yours nor mine.
Paul teaches we must be obedient to the faith (Romans 1:5). He teaches obedience is an integral part of faith (Romans 16:26). In Colossians 2:12, he specifically shows we obey the ordi­nance of baptism "through faith of the operation of God" i.e. faith in God's way of bringing salvation to man.
The writer James was inspired to reinforce the clear connection between faith and obedience to the works of God. He wrote, "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone" (James2:17). He continued by writing, "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" (verse 24).
James does not, nor do we, deny the power and necessity of faith. How­ever, it is clear from God's Word that faith only is "dead." In verse 26, James writes, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." We must always remember
that the works here are not our works of merit. They are the works prescribed by the operation of God. They are God's works that we obey through faith in His way.
The great chapter of faith, Hebrews 11, gives us direct application of faith in and obedience to God's way. We see that by faith Noah prepared an ark. By faith, Abraham obeyed and went out. By faith, Abraham offered up Isaac. These are all actions per­formed by faith. These people of faith obeyed.
After recording many other acts of obedience through faith, Paul identifies these godly people as examples of faith-inspired obedience to God's com­mands. The apostle calls these great heroes "our witnesses." All these fol­lowers had faith in God's way, and all obeyed His commands as a part of their faith. Paul's point is that we are to do the same. We are to obey God's words by faith, and through faith we know we will receive a better country, a city prepared for us by God (He­brews 11:16).
Most people who would criticize us for following the Bible as written will eventually come to the accusation that we are trying to earn salvation by the things we do. They say we are looking to salvation by merit not by faith. I suggest that we do what we do by faith not for a lack of it. Let us look at the great example of faith, Abraham, men­tioned above.
In Genesis 12:4 we are told "So Abraham departed as the Lord had spoken unto him." If someone had asked Abraham why he was going, what would his answer be? "God told me to go. That is what God said to
. So, "Into the land of Canaan they came/' Hebrews 11:8-10 tells us that this action was a work of faith. Abraham was called to go out. He obeyed "not knowing whither he went." He did not know where the call was going to lead him. He just went out by faith. By faith, he obeyed.
Our point is that Abraham had faith. How much faith did he have? He had enough faith to go. He had enough faith to obey. Even though he had to leave his country, his kindred, his fa­ther's house, he went. Paul tells us Abraham did so by faith. Do we have the faith of Abraham? So many people claim they have faith. They base their soul's salvation on it. But do they have enough faith?
The question is posed, "Do we have enough faith?" This has specific appli­cation. The great examples cited by Paul had enough faith to obey. Do we have enough faith in God's operation, His way, to be obedient to Him in all things? Do we have enough faith to do whatever He commands?
Do we have enough faith to be baptized for the remission of sins; to use one loaf and one cup in the com­munion; to submit to marriage as a lifetime union; to not forsake the as­sembly; to sing and make melody in our hearts instead of play and listen; to accept Christ as the Head of the Church, the Lord and King without conventions and creeds; to teach our children at home and in the assembly instead of giving them to someone else; to refuse to have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness?
Do we have enough faith in the operation of God to do all things His way?
 ~PO Box 841, Princeton, TX 75407


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