The righteous will live by faith

by Mike Ratliff

16 Οὐ γὰρ ἐπαισχύνομαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, δύναμις γὰρ θεοῦ ἐστιν εἰς σωτηρίαν παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι, Ἰουδαίῳ τε πρῶτον καὶ Ἕλληνι. 17 δικαιοσύνη γὰρ θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ ἀποκαλύπτεται ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πίστιν, καθὼς γέγραπται· ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται. Romans 1:16-17 (NA28)

16 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone believing, both to Jew first and to Greek. 17 For the righteousness of God is revealed in it from faith to faith as it has been written, “But the righteous man will live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

After Saul the Pharisee was knocked off his horse on his way to persecute Christians, blinded by the power of God, and saved becoming the Apostle Paul (Acts 9:1-9), a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ in Damascus named Ananias was sent to lay hands on a “man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying” (Acts 9:11). When Ananias expressed fear and doubt, knowing whom Saul was, our Lord said, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name” (Acts 9:15-16). 

Here is v16 from the NA27 Greek text:

ἐγὼ γὰρ ὑποδείξω αὐτῷ ὅσα δεῖ αὐτὸν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματός μου παθεῖν.

Here is my translation:

For I will show to him how much it is necessary for him to suffer on behalf of my name.”

The words “it is necessary” translates the verb δεῖ which is the present tense, indicative mood, active voice, 3rd person, singular form of δέω (deō), “A primary verb; to bind (in various applications, literally or figuratively): – bind, be in bonds, knit, tie, wind,” however, δεῖ carries the meaning of “it is (was, etc.) necessary (as binding): – behoved, be meet, must (needs), (be) need (-ful), ought, should. Must, necessary by the nature of things.” Therefore, our risen Saviour was telling Ananias that it would be revealed to Paul “how much it is necessary” for him to suffer on Jesus’ behalf. The words “to suffer” translates the verb παθεῖν, which is the aorist tense, infinitive mood, active voice form of πάσχω (paschō), “the opposite of free action, to bar oneself passively from some influence from without; hence, to experience something evil, to suffer. In the New Testament, it used mostly to refer to suffering on behalf of someone else as in this passage.” Now what about the verb tenses used in here. In the case of δεῖ, the present, indicative, active verb speaks of action occurring while the speaker is making the statement. On the other hand, what about the aorist, infinitive, active of παθεῖν, which speaks of Paul suffering of behalf of Christ? This is describing punctililiar, not continuous action and with it being in the active voice, it means that Paul is the doer of the action. What does it mean?

We know that Paul suffered much for the sake of Jesus name, even to the point of being martyred. We also know that Paul was perfectly aware of the fact that this was part of his ministry. When he preached the Gospel and planted a church, he would suffer for the sake of Jesus name. He knew it would happen. This did not stop the fear, but it did not stop him from obeying our Lord in being His chosen vessel to go the Gentiles either. Jesus told Ananias that He would show Paul, “how much it is necessary for him to suffer on behalf of my name.” What an incredible statement! I cannot wait to meet Paul in Heaven and ask about this very thing.

Now, with this firmly in the forefront of our minds which are ready to reason through God’s Word, look at the passage I placed at the top of this post, which is Romans 1:16-17. Remember, the same person who wrote that also knew how much it was necessary for him to suffer for the sake of Jesus name. Paul could put the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ first with a clear conscious before both God and man because He was not ashamed of it. He was bold when it came to the Gospel. The offense of the cross did not offend him. It was far more important to preach the truth of the Law and the Gospel and cause the sword to separate those who believed from those who did not. What a contrast from what we see and hear in this “post-modern” age of the non-gospel sermon and Christless Christianity. Paul would not have recognized either as being Christian and he would not have hesitated to speak the truth about that right to the face of those in offense because he knew that obedience to the sake of the name of Jesus Christ is always costly.

In Romans 1:16-17, Paul tells us plainly that genuine Christians live by faith. That means, the way they walk will be in obedience to their Lord no matter the cost. They are not ashamed of the Gospel. Why? It is the power of God unto salvation to everyone believing… The word “power” translates the noun δύναμις (dunamis), “power, especially inherent power. All related words have the basic meaning of being able, capable.” We get several English words from δύναμις such as dynamite, but my favorite is “dynamic.” In any case, what Paul is saying is that God has imbued the Gospel with all of the power necessary to accomplish His will in the salvation of His people.

As I worked on this post I reflected how my own circumstances and those of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are going in this dark age. When I was growing up it would have been unheard of for a news reporter to try to take over a news conference with the President of the United States in an attempt to humiliate him. Also, last night I tried to watch (not for long) a news editorial discussion on Fox News. There was a Conservative Governor, a Christian Leader, and a homosexual activist in three windows on the screen. The activist on the far right was rude. He blasphemed God. He made sure that both men understood that he and his group’s agenda was to do away with the Christian Worldview from every part of the United States. He was very angry that our President was calling for prayer for those in California who were suffering due to the wildfires and also the nightclub shooting. In his worldview there was no “god” and all who proclaimed God and served Him (like we do here) deserved to humiliated, driven from all power, and stripped of their livelihood. That is, unless they abandoned their worldview and became secular humanists like him and accepted the Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton/DNC/New World Order.  I sat there very angry for a few minutes and then just turned it off. That was an attack of fiery darts. Those are not things that should shake any Christian. Why?

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,
“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
WE were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:28-39 (NASB) 

Soli Deo Gloria!

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