This Is The Power Of Faith

Apr 29, 2024 | Faith, Harold Sala

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A physician from Antioch, in all probability not a Jew, whom we know as Dr. Luke, wrote more of the New Testament from the standpoint of volume than did the apostle Paul.  However, the thirteen letters that Paul wrote form the backbone of what the church has taught down through the centuries.

Paul was a character, as we would say today. He was born as a freeman, a Roman citizen, in the city of Tarsus, now part of Turkey. As a youth, he made the decision to become a rabbi and studied under Gamaliel in Jerusalem.

Converted on the road to Damascus through an encounter with the resurrected Christ, which can only be described as supernatural, Paul did an about-face and became the staunch defender of Christianity, basing his arguments not on emotions but on historical facts and air-tight logic.

While some hated him, vilified him, and sought to destroy him, no one has ever successfully refuted what he argued for. Of Paul’s 13 letters, the most powerful and influential one was the one he sent to Rome when a woman in Corinth was making the journey across the Mediterranean and agreed to carry his letter. This was his great achievement, and from the third century on, it was the treatise that most influenced Christian doctrine.

Drawing from his rich knowledge of the law as a rabbi and his understanding of human nature, Paul brings the issue of man’s failure into confrontation with what God demands in this book we call “the Book of Romans.”  While it takes the average person about one hour to read the sixteen chapters, I am amazed at how many people have never sat down and gone through the book, even casually.

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus…to all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.  Romans 1:1,7

Early in his letter, Paul establishes a theme that is the key to understanding the book. He writes, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written:The righteous will live by faith.’” (Romans 1:16,17).

In the 21st century, we seldom use the word righteous and think of it as a kind of religious term—something or someone different from ordinary people, but the clearest understanding of the word is uprightness—morally, ethically, and any other way you look at what counts in life. That’s what God is, Paul would tell you, and that is what we are not, as flawed human beings who sin both because we cannot help it and because we chose to do so.

Paul says humankind failed so miserably that God sent His Son to live on planet earth, and that as the result of His death, God puts to our account the righteousness of Christ so that the sin that separated us from God is removed and God accepts us—forgiven, cleansed, and transformed into men and women whose lives have been changed by this Good News which Paul calls the Gospel.

The bridge between our failures and God’s uprightness (righteousness, if you prefer) is faith, simply believing that God will do what He has promised. As Paul wrote in this book, “being fully persuaded that God has power to do what he had promised.”

An Augustinian monk who vowed to become a priest in a terrible lightning storm was climbing the 28 white marble steps known as the Scala Sancta in Rome when Paul’s truth pierced his soul—the just will live by faith. Martin Luther rose from his knees a changed and motivated man. When that truth sinks into your soul, you, too, will be changed.

Resource reading: Romans 1:1-17

Speaker, author, and Bible teacher Dr. Harold Sala founded Guidelines in 1963. Pioneering the five-minute commentary on Christian radio, Dr. Sala’s daily “ Guidelines-A Five Minute Commentary on Living ” is broadcast in 49 of the 50 states and is heard the world over in a variety of languages.

Sala, who holds a Ph.D. in biblical text, has authored over 60 books published in 19 languages. He speaks and teaches frequently at conferences, seminars, and churches worldwide. Residing in Mission Viejo, California, Harold and his wife, Darlene, have three adult children and eight well-loved grandchildren.

You can read more of Dr. Sala’s articles HERE!

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