Faithfulness: From Paul’s Teachings in Romans 1-11 and In My Own Life

 The Book of Romans, specifically chapters 1-11, demonstrates that Paul’s desire to share the gospel came from his heart.  Paul was devoted to the Lord and loved Him.  Paul believed that both Jews and Gentiles could live “faithful” lives.  The contrast Paul is making is that anyone can say they have faith, but that does not mean that they are faithful.  It is not about an outward show of faith, but rather “being circumcised at heart” and having love and fidelity.  Paul does not agree that the law is a bad thing or that circumcision is a bad thing, he is just saying that these things alone do not make you righteous and just.  You have to have faith, specifically faithfulness.  Paul emphasizes faith over the law in Romans, as opposed to previous texts.  His claim is that faith precedes circumcision, not the other way around.  To Paul, faith will grant people righteousness.  Faith is someone’s response to God and response to revelation.  “Pistis”, the Greek word for “faith” or “faithfulness”, is the idea of being faithful and living faithfully.  My high school was named Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child, and we lived by the motto, “actions not words.”  Sometimes faith is not always about a person saying they have faith, but an outward show of having love and fidelity.  Being devoted and honoring Christ is a key to being faithful to him.  Faith is, in some sense, a gift from God.

In Chapter 10 of the Book of Romans, the word faith is taught.  By confessing with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and by believing this in our hearts we are saved.  One can be justified and made righteous by faith in Jesus alone.  Faith comes by hearing this gospel message and responding to it.  Paul encourages us that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  The more one hears the Word of God, the more encouraged in faith one becomes.  “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).  We all have faith in something, but what our faith is depends on what or whom we are listening to.  Paul tells us that faith comes through hearing the Word of God.  Paul is talking about saving faith and this message of Christ is the only thing that can produce this type of faith.  One must hear it, receive it, believe it, and profess it.  This is “the word of faith we are proclaiming: if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:8, 10:9).

Most importantly, one needs the Word of God, planted in one’s heart, otherwise one will not grow in faith, because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).  Reading the Bible and hearing the Word is a wonderful adventure.  I pray that I take the seeds of life and start planting them.  I believe that Paul’s message of faithfulness illustrates that I have faith because of Jesus.  In Revelations 2:10, The Lord proclaims, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”  I think that the key to living “faithful until death” is to be faithful one day at a time.  I will faithfully do my best to please and serve the Lord from now until the day I die.  If I am faithful one day at a time, each day I will put forth my faithfulness in the best fashion I can.  I believe that I am faithful, and thus, I am full of faith.  I find strength in being faithful to God because God is faithful in dealing with me.  I show my faithfulness to God by obeying him.  Jesus Christ is the supreme example of faithfulness.  He always did God’s Will and spoke God’s Words.  As we grow more faithful in one area of our life, that faithfulness can carry over into other areas.  Faithfulness toward God begins with faithfulness toward family and friends, faithfulness in our job and school, and faithfulness in financial dealings.  We can’t wait to show our faithfulness until someone trusts us with something big.  We must be faithful now with whatever has already been entrusted to us.  Joyce Myer, one of the world’s leading Biblical teachers, once said, “Faithfulness is not doing something right once but doing something right over and over and over and over.”

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