Jesus:

The Gospel in The Book of Romans

The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Notes:

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Lesson Six..... Saving Faith .. Is Believing... (Click Here For Previous Lessons)

This lesson concerns the act of believing .. or faith to be saved

For a quick review, here are some topics we've covered:

1. God has revealed Himself to all mankind in these ways:

a. He made us with a "God consciousness" in our very being ... Rom 1:18

b. He revealed His wrath toward sin and ungodliness ... Rom 1:19

c. He revealed His power and deity in all things seen which He created .. all of nature ... Rom 1:20

d. Therefore, no one has an excuse for refusal of this knowledge in his heart, refusing God

2. Mankind "fell" .. corrupting themselves and turned from worship of God to self worship and worship of creation or thing ... Rom 1:22-25

3. The Gospel is the power of God for Salvation to everyone who believes ... Rom 1:16

4. The Jews, as well as the Gentiles are in need of Salvation. Those who do not believe the Gospel are lost.

5. We are justified freely by His Grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His Blood through faith.

6. When we believe the Gospel, righteousness is imputed to our account and we are reconciled to God.

7. Salvation places us "In Christ" as beloved children, in a new covenant with eternal life and freedom from sin and death.

8. Salvation includes these things:

Eternal Life
Forgiveness of sin and freedom from the bondage of sin
Justification .. made right with God .. in right standing
All the grace and blessings that God has for His own children

We concluded the last study with the subject of "what happens when we believe" and "what we now possess" as born again believers, and firmly established in the Scriptures that no amount of good works on our part could earn our salvation, and we are not justified by works, but by faith.

Did you know that the Greek word for the nouns faith and belief is the same? .. "pistis" (4102 in Strong's Concordance) The verb "to believe or have faith" is "pisteuo" (4100 in Strong's) The adjective, "pistos" is in the active sense as in "believing" and "trusting" and in the passive sense "faithful" "trustworthy" and translated "believer." (4103 in Strong's)

Faith is used for "firm belief, persuasion, trusting in, and leaning on with total surrender and confidence," and is always used in the New Testament as faith in God or Christ Jesus. So, true faith is a confident obedience to God and His word, in spite of ourselves or any circumstance in life.

Having established the meanings of faith and belief, and seeing that they are one and the same word, and can be used interchangeably, we'll go on to the theme of this study.

How is Faith Obtained?

The first thing we must know is that faith is not an illusive mystical state of mind or character trait that only certain individuals possess, nor can it be sought after or obtained by attempting to convince oneself or someone else of a truth, aside from the power of the Gospel of God. Remember, we established in the first few lessons that the Gospel itself is the power of God unto Salvation. So, no one can come to the Father unless he is called and God has chosen the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. I Cor 1:21

God speaks though His Word, His Spirit makes it alive, we hear, and believe, trusting it as Truth. So, faith comes from God and our response to His truth determines whether or not we will believe Him and receive His gift of eternal life, or harden our hearts and perish. .. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Rom 10:17 .. What makes one person believe God and another reject Him remains a mystery that has not been satisfied by any theologian or commentator to this day. Suffice it to say that God Himself is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. II Pet 3:9 .. There is much Biblical evidence that all of mankind have had or will have had the opportunity to know God and turn to Him before the final judgment comes. So, we must assume that the key words here are: "those who believe" or "those who believe not" and the choice is ours to make.

Remember Eph 2:8,9 .. For by grace are you saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.
And Rom 12:3 ..."according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith." The context of this passage deals with the gifts that God has given to the church, but we can see that whatever we have, has come from God, even our faith, which is "given to every man."

We do know that the truth of the Gospel is hidden to those who are perishing; the god of this world (Satan) has blinded their minds (the unbelieving) so that the "Light of the Glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God" ... would not shine unto them and they believe.

Paul tells of God opening a "door of faith" to the Gentiles ... Acts 14:27 .. As Matthew Henry (that esteemed commentator) quoted: It is God Who opens the door of faith, opens to us the truth we are to believe, opens our hearts to receive them, and makes the door open wide for us to believe the Gospel and enter into the Church of Christ.

So, we know how faith comes to us and that it is a prerequisite to Salvation. Let's look at some Scriptures that emphasize justification and Salvation by faith .. belief versus law and works.

By the way, as you read through these verses, keep in mind that Jesus came into the world to fulfill the plan of God to redeem fallen mankind, and as we know, in the fullness of time He accomplished this on the cross. And from the beginning of His ministry after He was anointed to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, He went about healing, delivering, performing miracles, and making disciples. And as you'll notice if you read the Gospels through, His main theme in everything He did and all He taught was WHO He was, WHO sent Him, and WHAT He was there to do. The signs and wonders certainly pointed to Who He was! You'll see that He constantly referred to Himself in such a way as to identify Himself as:

The Only Begotten Son of God
The True Light of the World
The Image of God

The Christ .. The Messiah
The Lamb of God
The Son of Man
The Bread of Life
The Good Shepherd
The Lord of the Sabbath
The True Vine
The Lord
The King
The Resurrection and the Life
The I AM

The whole plan of God and the details of the Gospel were not fully understood as He was teaching and preaching the truth, not even to those closest to Him, but it would be understood later, after His death and resurrection, that He had proclaimed Liberty to the captive, and had been the One who, being anointed by the Holy Spirit, first preached the Gospel on this earth, in its fullness, as the Word of God made flesh, and dwelt with us... "...how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? after it was first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will."... Heb 2:3 ... Then, after His time on earth was completed, He fulfilled all that had been spoken of by the prophets of old!

This list of scriptures is by no means complete; there would not be enough space or time to list everything concerning the subject of believing or having faith.

John 1:12 ... But as many as received Him (Jesus) to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His Name.

John 3:16 ... For God so love the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 6:29 ... Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."

John 8:24 ... "I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM He, you shall die in your sins."

John 14:1 ... Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

John 20:31 ... But these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His Name.

Acts 13:39 ... and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.

Acts 15:7-9 ... And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the Gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.

Rom 1:16 ... 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.

Rom 3:21 ... But now, apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God., being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.

Rom 3:27,28 . Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

Rom 5:1 ... Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand ...

Rom 10:4 ... For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Rom 10:8-10 ... "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" - that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved, for with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

Gal 2:16 ... nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law; since by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Gal 3:22-26 ... But the Scripture has concluded all men under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore, the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Eph 1:13 ... In whom you also trusted after you heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.

Col 2:12 ... having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the operation of God, who raised Him from the dead.

I Thess 2:13 ... For this cause also we thank God without ceasing because, when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually works also in you that believe.

II Tim 3:15 ... and that from childhood you have know the holy scriptures which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

I John 5:1 ... Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God ...

I John 5:13 ... These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so you may know you have eternal life.

Some examples of conversions by believing, receiving, and having faith in the Gospel:

In Acts 8:35-37 ... And Phillip opened his mouth and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. And as they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?" And Phillip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." And he went down to the water and was baptized.

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In Acts 16:25-34, Paul and Silas had been arrested, beaten, and thrown into prison with their feet bound in stocks and chained, for having commanded the evil spirit of divination and fortune telling, to come out of the woman who had been following them through the streets of Philippi, annoying them with her loud proclamations. Around midnight, as Paul and Silas were praying and singing praises to God, a great earthquake shook the foundations of the prison house, opening all the doors and unfastening the chains. The jailer awoke and he was so terrified that he drew his sword and was about to kill himself. (Apparently, his superiors were NOT tolerant of escaped prisoners under a guard's watch!) Just then Paul cried out to him, telling him they were all there. The jailer, trembling, ran to Paul and Silas and threw himself at their feet, asking them what he must do to be saved. Obviously the jailer had heard just enough by listening to Paul and Silas as they spoke to each other about the Lord and prayed and sang praises. And considering what had just happened, the jailer was in a highly emotional state of fear and awe, and must have realized as the soldier at the foot of the cross, who cried out that Jesus surely was the Son of God, that this was not just a natural occurrence, seeing that all the chains had fallen off the prisoners. He must have known that this was the work of Paul and Silas's God, and he wanted to know how he could be saved like his prisoners!

Paul's answer to the jailer's question, "What must I do to be saved?" was:

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house." (meaning his household)

And they spoke the Word of the Lord to him, together with all who were in his house. The jailer and all his household were immediately baptized. He had a meal prepared for them and the Bible says that he "greatly rejoiced that he and his household had believed in God."

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Just prior to that event (the jailer's conversion) in the same city, Paul and Silas had been speaking to a group of women who had assembled for prayer. A woman named Lydia, a worshipper of God, was listening. Since she's called a "worshipper" of God, she was either an Israelite or a Gentile believer. There were many instances of conversion to belief in the God of Israel among Gentiles, even though they did not enjoy the same status as the Jew. Nevertheless, she had come to worship God with the other women. The scripture states that as she was listening to Paul speak, the Lord "opened her heart to attend to the things spoken" by Paul. One version says, The Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. No matter how it's worded, she believed. Immediately following, she was baptized. ... Acts 16:14,15

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Now that we've covered the concepts of Belief and Faith in Salvation we might ask:

WHAT must we believe?

We must believe in God ... Rom 1:20 - Heb 11:6

We must believe we are lost and in need of salvation ... Rom 6:23 - John 3:18

We must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah - Savior ... John 3:36 - John 6:40

We must believe that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and raised from the dead on the third day ...
.... Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas (Peter) then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time ...

We must believe that there is no other way to be saved ...
John 14:16 ... "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me."
Acts 4:12 ... "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name {Jesus} under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved."

WHAT then must we DO?

We must repent and turn from our own way ... turn to God, with our heart, by faith, believe the Gospel, confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and God raised Him from the dead .. for it is with our heart that we believe and with our mouth that we confess!

And as believers, understanding the whole Gospel is important because now we must preach that same Gospel to the lost so that they can believe and be saved!

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The plans for this lesson were a bit altered. I had planned to really dig in to the subject of Faith versus Works, but that is a complex subject, and I ended up taking up quite a bit here about Believing and Faith. So, I will address that subject in the next study ... #7 two weeks from now. I know that most of you studying with us are aware of the things covered in this lesson, but it's worth repeating and meditating on as we move deeper into Romans and our Salvation with all its doctrinal importance. And I believe we can always learn new truths from any part of the Word on any topic. The Word is living and always fresh and new to our spirits. So, hang in there with me as we approach the much debated subject of Faith and Works in the next lesson.

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Don't forget that we pray for you all and always ask God to bless you in your studies, and keep you safe, sound, and at peace with Him. You're so precious to our Lord and precious to us as well. We have hopes that you'll be soul winners and we're hopeful that something that you learn with us here will help you to be effectual in your ministry .. for we all have a ministry .. a work to do in His Kingdom .. a service to others and to the Lord. Please keep us in your prayers too. We all need to hold each other up as brothers and sisters, especially as the days grow closer to His returning! It's been so rewarding to hear from many of you who are using these lessons in your study of the Word. I love hearing from all of you! So don't forget to keep in touch when you have time and would like to share part of your lives with us.

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Just a note* .. Very soon we plan to have a "Testimony Page" which will be a place for you all to share your own testimonies of the things God has done for you and your loved ones. We hope that by sharing things like stories of your salvation experience, healings, deliverances, miracles, and just any thing our wonderful Lord has done in your lives that would bring Glory to HIM .. that it will encourage, strengthen, uplift, and lead others to Christ. So, be thinking about what you might want to contribute. I hope that many of you will want to be involved in this!

God bless you all ... Be sure to come back for Lesson 7.

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Love In Christ,

Genelle

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