Romans 2:13 Hearing the law does not make people right with God. It is those who obey the law who will be right with him. 14 (Those who are not Jews do not have the law, but when they freely do what the law commands, they are the law for themselves. This is true even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that in their hearts they know what is right and wrong, just as the law commands. And they show this by their consciences. Sometimes their thoughts tell them they did wrong, and sometimes their thoughts tell them they did right.)
It was only when I pasted these three verses into my digital journal that I noticed the close parenthesis at the end and realized the enclosed explanation was twice as long as the sentence it was clarifying. That simple fact seemed like a Biblical object lesson for me to think about.
Being right with God is more complicated than just knowing what the law is. Obeying the law isn’t a matter of separating the have’s from the have not’s at all. Instead, God makes a connection to what he’s written in the heart. “They [those who do not have the law] show that in their hearts they know what is right and wrong, just as the law commands.”
The object lesson: “Right with God” is the complicated relationship between being obedient to what the brain knows about the law and the obedience of the heart desiring to freely respond to it.
Romans 1:17 The Good News shows how God makes people right with himself—that it begins and ends with faith. As the Scripture says, “But those who are right with God will live by faith.” NCV (New Century Version)
“But those who are right with God will live by faith.” That’s the bottom line of belief, beginning to end. Of course we should live by faith. Of course we want to be right with God. Of course, it’s all about faith but what does that mean in day-to-day life? We try so hard to make a right life with God be about what we’ve learned, what we do, how skilled we are and even who we know. Did you notice all the “we’s?” That’s the struggle. It’s hard to avoid inserting yourself into the description of what living a life of faith and being “right with God” looks like.
If you had to come up with a definition of what it means to live by faith, could you? Could you define what faith is in your own words without cliche’s, without inserting what you do or don’t do and even without quoting scriptures? That’s what I’m asking myself as I try to write my definition.
““But those who are right with God will live by faith.”
• With the awareness life will be good, whatever happens
• Knowing having no control isn’t the same as helplessness
• Not needing to know everything about it to be confident in it
• Depending on yet undiscovered reserves of strength
If you try writing your definition of living by faith, please think about adding your results in a comment to me. I’d love to post them.