Subject 9 : Romans (Commentaries on the Book of Romans)

[Chapter 1-4] The Just Live by Faith (Romans 1:17-18)

(Romans 1:17-18)
“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’ For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”
We must live by faith
It is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Do we live by faith or not? The only way by which the just live is through faith. Faith allows the just to live. We can live and carry on with all things when we believe in God. Only the just live by faith. The word ‘only’ means that nobody except the just can live by faith. Then, what about sinners? Sinners cannot live by faith. Do you live by faith now? We must live by faith.
It takes a long time to learn true faith. What we must realize is that we live when we believe in God and die when we don’t believe in God. We must realize that it is the fate of the just to live by faith.
Birds have wings, but if they don’t use them, they will be caught and killed by beasts that roam the earth. Therefore, the just are destined to live by faith. God has fated the just to live by faith. If they fail to live by faith, their spirits will die.
The life of a Christian and the true path begins with faith. How are the just able to readjust into society after being born again of water and the Spirit? We must know that the only way is for us to live by faith.
Do you understand? It’s life to the just. Without faith, we die and have no power to cope with hardships. If a person, who neither lives by faith nor uses faith, undergoes hardships, then he/she will die in the end. When one has faith in God and confesses, “Lord, I believe in You,” then one can live, even if he/she is incompetent and weak. He/she can live because of the faith in God. God helps the person and works as much as he/she believes in Him.
When we feel our limitations, we come to learn faith
I want you to think about whether you have lived by faith or not. A person does not live by faith right after he/she is born again. He/she lives by situation at first, so he/she doesn’t learn how to live by faith. Why? Because one can live on this earth making money with one’s own arms and legs, it is unnecessary to use the faith in God. But we come to feel our limitations when we wonder if we can live only with our physical strengths and efforts. We feel that we can’t live. Then how do we have to live? We must use faith. We can never truly live unless we use faith and believe in God.
We must live by faith even through small affairs, saying, “Lord! I believe in You, Please help me.” When we believe in God through trivial matters, saying, “Lord! I believe in you, I believe that you help me, I believe in You,” we prove that we can live by faith, even when it’s a small affair.
We can experience getting stronger and have expectations for things to get done only when we believe. However, when we don’t believe in God, we don’t realize that God allowed it be done, so we lose because we don’t experience by faith. We can’t solve the problem, though it can easily be solved by faith. To live by faith is good in all ways, so we must learn how to live by faith.
People in the Old Testament lived by faith and it is also proper for people in the New Testament to be saved by faith. How do we have confidence in our salvation? Have we become righteous by believing in what Jesus Christ did? Yes, we have. God helps us when we live by believing in Him. At first, just believe in God and ask whatever you seek, and then God helps us. God gives us other things, just as He gave us salvation. Faith is available in all parts of our lives. It’s life. Life to the righteous is faith. Faith is life. It’s the same as the blood of the flesh. When a person who is born again doesn’t have faith, his/her spirit dies just as a human dies when his/her flesh doesn’t have blood. We should believe in God and confess, “God, I believe in You. I believe that You help me and solve the problem.”
It is faith that seeks the Kingdom of God first, before we seek what we need and believe that God will certainly answer our prayers. We must live by faith. The just cannot but live by faith. What we have in the flesh will be exhausted someday while living on the earth. And we will encounter with danger or inevitable situation someday. At that time, the most important thing we need is the faith in God; the faith that God saved us, helps us, and that He is good.
Moreover, we also need the faith that God gives what we pray for and seek, if it is proper to God. Faith leads us to live in His grace when what we have in the flesh is exhausted. The faith in God becomes a motivational power for us to accomplish what we hope for before God.

We must use faith from small affairs

How do we have to live? We have to pray like this. “God, I believe in You. I lack this and that, so help me, Lord.” I’m not talking about our original weakness. Let us live by faith, saying, “I need this and that in my daily life. Please help me, Lord. I believe You will do it for me.” A person who lives by faith must seek God, starting from small affairs. For example, “Lord, I don’t have toothpaste. Please give me toothpaste. I believe in You.” Therefore, we come to experience that God answers when we believe in Him and seek Him.
By what do sinners live? Sinners live by their own strengths, but the just live by faith. We can use faith in our lives when we know that the just live by faith. We do not live by what we have, but by faith. Do you see it? “The just shall live by faith.” What the just need most is faith, but we come to use faith only when we are at the end of our resources.
We come to use faith when all our strength and resources have been used up. However, we must know that to live by faith is the truth and it is God’s commandment, based on His promise, which we certainly need in our lives. Live by faith. Believe in God and seek. Then we can receive and obtain what we need. We must learn how to live by faith from our small affairs, and then we can gradually have stronger faiths.
David killed Goliath with a sling and a stone by faith. He killed Goliath with the faith that God was with him, thinking, ‘God, I believe in You. To kill him is Your will.’ And he yelled at Goliath, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts” (1 Samuel 17:45). By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.
The just shall live by faith. There are many similar expressions like ‘live by faith’ in the four Gospels. However, how many people know that to live by faith is the life of the just, the life of Christians? I’m not saying that we should give up all our physical strengths and properties we’ve depended on. I just advise you to abandon your dependant mind on something on earth to live by faith. Then, believe what? God. God works when we believe in Him and seek what we need. Believe that He answers our prayers and believe the leader of the church. Join with church and serve the Lord. Do you believe? We have to live by faith because we are the just individually.
We must give up what we depend on with our hearts. We must believe in God, seek and obtain through faith, no matter how trivial the task may be. We must live by faith and experience it. Then, we can reign with the Lord and not be ridiculed by the people in the world. God says that He “prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Psalm 23:5). To have great recompense is to be blessed before God. It is not to live according to the development of the situation, but by faith.
Have you ever lived by faith? Countless people have never lived by faith, but there are people who have experienced God’s works when they prayed. We must continuously experience this, not just once. Again and again. It’s the way the just should live. We must not rely on the earthly things of the world, but believe in God. It’s the life of the just. We must live like that. Only by faith can we live and get all the blessings from God.

What we most need before God is faith

Having faith seems to be very hard, but in fact, it’s easy. Nothing is needed except the belief in God. We only have to believe in God. People think that it is difficult to believe in God, but it actually isn’t that hard. I call my father “Father” and believe he is my father because he is a real father to me. His being my father doesn’t depend on my own belief. The faith in God starts from this point. I believe in God. Why? Because God always stands by the just, loves them and becomes their Father and Savior. Secondly, if we believe in Him, we ask Him what we need, just as a child asks his/her father what he/she needs. Lastly, God the Father hears and answers what we seek. Believing in God is based on and starts from such a simple confidence.
We have to live by faith because God is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last. All our lives are related to faith. We have been saved by faith and have been taken care of by Him through faith. It is faith that allows us to say, “Lord, I believe in You. Keep me and please take care of me.” What shall we do when we are weak and scared due to Satan’s threats? We have to believe in God, saying, “Lord, I believe in you.” We may think incorrectly and as a result, may be caught and defeated by Satan. In that case, because we pray and believe in God, saying, “Lord, please keep me. I believe You surely keep me,” and because God is our Father, He keeps us. God takes care of us somehow, even if we offer improper prayers, because He knows us well. The most important thing is to believe. It’s very simple. Just use your God given faith, and then He will lead you from faith to faith. It is useless if we don’t believe, even if God exists. We come to live by faith if we believe in God.
From faith to faith
Romans 1:17 states, “For in it is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” When we use our faith again and again, we become people of faith. I want you to understand this. God doesn’t exist to us if we don’t believe in God, even if He really does exist. You reach faith by faith when you believe consistently that God is alive and saved us.
When you become a person of faith, all things of God become yours by faith. What the Bible says in Romans 1:17 is that the beginning and the conclusion of faith is faith “For in it is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” Therefore, we can be saved and can be people of faith also if we believe God saved us. We cannot be children of faith if we don’t believe. God answers when we earnestly seek what we need in our lives while believing in Him.
What the Apostle Paul talks about in Romans 1:17 is a very significant, though the passage is short. Do you now understand how the just live? “The just shall live by faith.” Faith is certainly essential to the just, not to sinners.
The first thing needed for sinners is the belief that Jesus is their Savior. However, we, the born again Christians, can have faith in our lives. Do we need just one or two things when we live? No. There are many things to be done whether they are serious or trivial. The just shall live by faith in all affairs. Do you understand this? We must live by faith. We are saved by faith and taken care from risk by faith. When we pray by faith, God answers. We have to live by faith and pray even if we are weak. In all things, from marrying to preaching the gospel, we need faith. When we preach the gospel to someone, faith makes us pray like this. “God, I believe You saved that soul.” We do everything by faith.
We cannot preach the gospel without faith. We can preach the gospel only by faith. People become saved when we preach the gospel by faith. Have you ever lived by faith? People live without faith, not knowing that they must live by faith, so they hit rock bottom when they meet with hardships. They seek only when they use up their power, so in the end, they always lack something. They don’t have confidence in faith and unwillingly live, as they say, “I unwillingly live because I cannot die.”
But the just live their lives of faith spontaneously and positively; they believe, seek and get answers. Useless thoughts and unbelief become present if we don’t have faith. Then, we cannot walk with the church. How can we walk with the Lord without faith? Is there anything to believe in the flesh? Nothing. How can we believe? We cannot have faith if we don’t believe in God. We can follow the church when we live by faith and to live by faith is due to faith. Do you see it? Do you believe in God? Then seek what you need. Believe in God, and then all will go well. The only problem is to not realize that we must live by faith.
I give thanks to God who has led us to live the remainders of our lives by faith.
This sermon is also available in ebook format. Click on the book cover below.
The Righteousness of God that is Revealed in Romans - Our LORD Who Becomes the Righteousness of God (I)