【Bible Study】Romans 03: Faith Apart From Works
Bible Study: The Book of Romans
The inclusion of both the letter of James, written by James and the letter to the Galatians, written by Paul, in the Bible presents a challenge to our understanding of faith. Paul focuses solely on faith, whereas James preaches both faith and actions. So who is right? Paul or James?
If our faith is based on actions, we have something to boast about. I saw many people who serve in the church, tithe and pray often, but they seem to be lacking any blessings. I finally understood what the problem was. We do the same things, but our purpose is different. If your basis is in actions, then you will not receive any blessings, but if your basis is in faith, you will be blessed. Why is this so?
A person without faith is sinful, and a sinful person will not be blessed. If you do not have faith, you do things with your strength, and a sinful person who relies on actions leads to disaster.
When doing the same thing, why do some people rely on faith, and others rely on actions? They have different belief systems. Some people assume that as long as they have done something, like tithing, they should receive blessings. But the Bible tells us that only people who have faith are blessed. People with faith should not boast about their actions.
There has always been a disagreement over faith and actions because they bring two different consequences. People with faith will display God's power and blessings, while people who rely on actions will not display either God's powers or blessings. This is how you can destroy a gospel by preaching actions.
When Paul wrote Romans, the purpose of his letter was to address the influences the church in Jerusalem had on faith. From the time of Adam and Eve until now, the discussion between faith and actions has never ceased. Paul was constantly addressing the issue of whether to listen to the law of Moses, word by word. The purpose of Galatians addressed the concern of circumcision.
Abraham opened a door to the idea of faith leading to victory. Paul addressed a lot of the concerns that the Roman church had. What is the point of circumcision/ What advantage do the Jews have? What was PauL's response? He says that all of those things were beneficial.
Chapter 1: The gospel is the power of God that can solve all our problems. It has nothing to do with your actions.
Chapter 2: God judges people according to their hearts. If you don't believe, it is because you are in the flesh. Circumcision is only a symbol of a covenant.
A symbol is a symbol, and a covenant is a covenant. Many people think that doing actions is enough, but if you don't do these things by faith, it is useless.
The Israelites held the law closely, but they still faced disaster. Why? Because they did not believe. We have to be careful to know what we believe in. If you boast about your actions, you are already living under the curse of God. Simply obeying one commandment is not enough, you have to obey all of it. However, no one can uphold all of it, it is impossible.
It sounds like Paul was allowing them to sin, and just have faith and they will be okay. However, his message was that faith is the foundation, and actions are built on it. But if you put even a little bit of action into your foundations, it will be a disaster. It cannot be a part of your foundation.
The Israelites cannot uphold the law because they don't believe it. God, by giving them the law, has determined that the Israelites cannot uphold commandments. And it is not as if the Gentiles were any better, they were just as terrible.
God's purpose was to shut them up, so that nobody can boast because of their actions. Therefore, they can only become righteous by their faith in Jesus. No human can boast that they were righteous by what they have done.
So the argument is to do or not to do. In our generation, it would do us some good to read history. I read about Stalin. How did he die? That evening, he went with some friends to hang out. Later that night, he had a cerebral hemorrhage. He had a rule that no one could dare to enter his room unless he allowed them to. So even when he had a hemorrhage stroke, no one dared to enter. His face showed the expression of someone wanting help. What is ironic is that he created this rule to prevent anyone from coming in to kill him, and in the end, no one could come in to save him.
When people live in the flesh, they are sinful people. You cannot stop bad things from happening to you.
What I am saying is that both Jews and Gentiles are under the flesh, cannot boast about their actions, and are both sinful before God.
People easily are self-righteous. It is a very crucial thing because once you are self-righteous, you cannot go down the path of faith. If you always think you are right, you will rely on your own will. God is separating sinful people from righteous ones. Whether you are Jewish or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, God is the God of everyone.
We need to understand the plan of God to save us all. We need to know that we are unable to help God. It doesn't matter what you have done, or what you haven't, God's plan will always be done. Don't treat God as an idol or ATM. We cannot ask God to do things just because we have done something for him.
God doesn't even need you to do anything, he just needs you to believe. If you believe, you will see the power of God. We cannot bring our actions before God, expecting that he will reward us. We have to know that we can't, but God can. Faith with actions and faith without actions don't have any difference at all.
Once you have faith, you will receive the power of God. But if you think you have to compensate somehow with actions, you will be in trouble. There cannot be any actions in the foundation of flesh. Faith is spiritual, actions are physical.
There is a path of faith and a path of action. If you go the path of actions, you will be boastful in your actions. But if you go the path of faith, you will have nothing to boast about before God. Although the Israelites tried to uphold the law, they figured out that they were unable to do it. So it doesn't matter if you are Gentile or Jewish. The most important thing is having God with you.
The book of Romans seeks to address a lot of the misbeliefs in the church. The people wanted to boast in their actions, and they wanted to prove to people how well they were able to believe, and how strong their faith is. The strength of your faith does not depend on actions, but on how much of God's power you have with you.
The meaning of justified freely is that you haven't done anything special, but that God has already justified you by your faith. If you look at the Bible, the people may not seem like anything special, but they have been justified by God. If you have faith in God, you are justified before God.
Being justified means you have received the forgiveness of sins through the death of Jesus Christ. Being justified means that you have God's power in you and that what you do is through him. In our church, lots of people are being healed, but they are far from being righteous or justified. Once you are righteous before God, the devil and evil spirits living in you become unlawful and are kicked out by God.
Religious people, if they don't have actions, their belief is nothing. This is called religion. If you don't have actions, and if you don't do them properly, then your faith is useless. I want to tell everyone: If you say: "I have actions and you have faith", that is cursing.
Faith is faith. Before you were justified by your actions, you were justified by your faith. How can we, as carnal people, uphold the law of God? Even if you can uphold the law through your works, you still cannot boast about your actions because you have done them through God. God gave you strength to do work, how can you boast about that?
Once you have the power of God, you can uphold the law through God. This power only comes from God, don't boast about it. By walking this path of faith, God's power becomes our power, and we can display God's glory through our lives.
If you are unsuccessful in your life, family, or finances, consider carefully how you rely on God. Do you rely on your actions? Even if you can obey the word of God, it is because God gave you the ability to uphold it.
We shouldn't believe someone by what they say, we believe them by their actions. Even more, we have to understand the consequences of their actions.
On the topic of faith, consider carefully what you accept. Paul's gospel is the same as Jesus' gospel. He never preached that faith had to be based on actions. Jesus said that you have to have faith. Don't put any other requirements on salvation. If someone desired healing and you told them they have to have action to recieve it, how discouraged would they be?
Walk the path of faith. This righteousness is by faith from first to last. The gospel is the righteousness and power of God. Once you have faith, God's power is in you and you will understand that what you have is a treasure.
Many people like to counter your argument by saying that if all you need is faith, then you can live as a very sinful person and still be saved. These people are under the curse. Galatians preaches faith apart from works. But James preaches faith with actions.
May God open our eyes on this path of faith. May God bless you all.