Lesson 3 – The Word of Faith

The Word of Faith

Lesson Aim:        To show the relationship between the word preached and the faith it can produce.

Scripture:            Romans 10:1-13.


Please review the introduction of Part IV, in the columns marked chapters nine and ten.  All three of the chapters in Paul’s second part of his letter to the Roman Christians are concerned with Israel.  We want to keep in mind the chapters and verses were added by man for convenience sake.  They are not inspired by the Holy Spirit.  The breaks chosen for chapters should not distract us from the writer’s intent of carrying forth his subject. 

These three chapters should be read as Paul’s ongoing concern about the salvation of his family by natural birth; however, at the same time he will clearly establish the identity of those who are saved.  This long discourse will also clarify God’s covenant with Abraham for both Jew and Gentile.  The result of Paul’s work in this total document will set forth the Christian theology; some of which has its roots in God’s covenant with Abraham.  This theology also served to help establish and maintain a loving fellowship in the church at the time of the writing.  The ethic for a healthy fellowship will be presented in Romans, chapter twelve.      

Paul begins chapter ten by speaking of his concern for the salvation of Israel by natural birth.  The points we will want to keep in mind from chapter nine are:    

  1. Israel can mean Israel by natural birth and also Israel, the children of promise (9:8).  The latter are the objects of God’s mercy prepared in advance for glory.
  2. God is sovereign.  His work with, and for, mankind “does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”  Rom. 9:16.
  3. God has ordained beforehand that all mature people are either objects of His wrath or objects of His mercy (9:22, 23).  All mature people have chosen the scenario they are in at this time.  They can make a change before they die physically if they choose.  Mankind has been granted choice by our Creator.
  4. Israel, who identified only with their natural birth, did not receive a gift of God’s righteousness before Christ came into the world and they did not receive it after He came.  They stumbled over the “stumbling stone.”  Rom. 9:33.  Without the gift of righteousness there is no possibility of salvation.


“Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”  Romans 10:4.  We may want to recall grace reigns “through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Rom. 5:21.  In other words, Paul has made the point here he also made to the Galatians.  “Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God?  Absolutely not!  For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.”  Gal. 3:21.  What we understand is a person’s path to salvation begins by obtaining by grace a gift of God’s righteousness. 

Presently, this gift comes through a person’s faith in Jesus as the promised Christ.  It does not assure us of a final home with God.  It does give us peace with God.  We then become a slave to God’s righteousness and this puts us on the path of sanctification.   Our sanctification is the way to eternal life (Rom. 6:19-23).  Many Jews have stumbled over Christ by holding to the law for salvation.  In general, those who identify as Jews in our time are still in a stumbling mode.  

The Christ taught us about the kingdom of God and man’s place in it.  He also taught us about the quality of life in His and His Father’s kingdom (Eph. 5:1-14).  The Christ, who was Jesus of Nazareth, died for the sins of all people.  He is the source of God’s gift of righteousness apart from Law for all who have faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus’ death.  We can understand why Paul’s concern about Israel’s salvation was justified. 

They stumbled over Jesus, the One who was the end of the Law so there could be righteousness for everyone who believes.  Indeed, they, and anyone else, who does not believe in Jesus cannot have faith in the Christ; therefore, they have no gift of righteousness; consequently, no peace with God.  All of this meant, at the time Paul wrote this letter, all of his fellow Jews who had not believed in Jesus were “objects of God’s wrath – prepared for destruction.”

In the verses five through ten Paul enlightens his readers about the effect on the present life of a Christian who has faith in Jesus Christ.  We must keep in mind what has been pointed out already in this lesson.  God’s gift of righteousness based on faith in Jesus Christ as our atoning sacrifice is the beginning of our salvation. 

Point one.  Paul reveals the great difference in righteousness based on law and righteousness based on faith.  Righteousness based on law is, like Moses said, “The man who does these things will live by them.” Rom. 10:5.  People who live by law without faith live a life controlled by the cognitive and behavioral learning processes.  In other words, they hear and understand a command and they do it.  Their faith should have been in the requirements of the law.  In this case their behavior would have been classified as good habits or practices. 

There was nothing wrong with the law, or the law’s requirements.  In order to fulfill the requirements a person had to have faith in the result of the practice.  The requirement processes encompassed all three of the learning processes of a person.  It was a total person thing (Rom. 2:28, 29).  Some Gentiles, as well as some Jews, did indeed fulfill the requirements of the law (Rom. 2:12-16, 26).  Jesus was very interested in the requirements of the law being achieved by God’s people (Matt. 5:17).  This achievement could not be fully attained while one lived under the Law (Rom. 8:3, 4).  Consequently, God freed His people from the Law so Christians can fulfill its requirements. 

What are the requirements of the Law of Moses?  It is the practice of the righteousness of God by His children (Rom. 1:17).  It happens when a Christian with the gift of God’s righteousness continues to live by faith.  To live by faith means he or she are slaves to God’s righteousness (Rom. 6:19).  A Christian’s practice is God’s righteousness (I John 3:7).     

The Jews who pursued righteousness by works were not concerned with the requirements of the law.  Theirs was a cognitive and behavioral function without their affective learning process being involved.  They did not put their hearts into it.  It was not a personality thing with them.  Their pursuit of God’s righteousness only involved their learning and doing processes.  Because they skipped over their feeling (affective) process, their behavior did not fulfill the command.  For instance, the Law of Moses’ commands people to honor their father and mother.  Jesus acknowledged the Pharisees and teachers of the law had knowledge of this commandment.  However, because they lived without faith in the benefit of keeping this command their practice missed the mark (Matt. 15:1-6).

Point two.  Righteousness by faith has it own voice.  “What does it say?   ‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart.’”  Romans 10:8.  In order to understand the difference in righteousness based on law and righteousness based on faith, we just need to understand faith resides in our hearts.  The big difference is whether or not God’s word has made its way into our hearts.  Did it get out of its written form?  Did it pass out of our mind and into our hearts?  This is the question each Christian needs to answer for ourselves.  God has created within us the capacity to examine ourselves (II Cor. 13:5).  Every word and every command of God must be accepted by faith.  Most religions promote rituals – “command and do” kind of things.  God never espoused rituals even under the Mosaic period.  Moses walked by faith after he received the Law and taught Israel to do so (Heb. 11:39)      

Now we are talking about how we feel about what God said.  This is a process of mankind’s learning.  We don’t just turn faith off and on, it is an ever learning process.  Of course, the affective process of learning must follow the cognitive, or mind, learning process.  Faith comes by hearing a certain message from the word of God (Rom. 10:17).  A message is heard.  We process it.  We ask:  “What did it say?  How does it fit into what I already know?  Is it a believable truth?”  Finally, a decision may be made to accept it as truth.

The messages we accept as truth in the process of learning in our minds must move to the affective, or feeling, stage of learning if faith will be the result.  The process goes something like this:  “Can I trust the one who said it?  Do they have the power to do what they are promising me (Rom. 4:20, 21)?  What is the benefit?  Which of my inherent needs will it satisfy or give me a hope of satisfaction?”  Now comes the big decision; am I ready and willing to commit my life to this word they are preaching?  If so, then I have internalized the message I heard.  This means “the faith” becomes my faith (Jude 3).  We really want to get this point.  It is the cutting edge between seeking God’s righteousness by works or by faith.  Christians are not immune to seeking God’s graces by works.

A Christian’s faith consists of how he or she feels about every word that proceeds from “the mouth of God.”  Matt. 4:4.  To say we have faith in Jesus is to say we have faith in the complete gospel He lived and taught; including the graces He made possible for those who have faith.  Our faith does include the cross; however, it includes all the truth Jesus taught.  The word preached becomes synonymous with our faith (Rom. 10:8).  We cannot talk of one without talking about the other.   In fact, we need to carry this thought one step farther.  The real deep basis for a Christian’s faith is not merely the gospel of God and Jesus but God and Jesus’ power to do what they promised.  Our faith is in the very Deity of God.  All of Deity was in Christ (Col. 2:9).  The result of having faith in Jesus Christ is “Christ in you the hope of glory.”   Col. 1:27.      

Point Three.  Christians are obedient to our faith (Rom. 1:5).  “Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them.  And this is how we know that He lives in us:  We know it by the Spirit He gave us.”  I John 3:24.   Being obedient to our faith is the final step in a Christian’s learning process.  It is the behavioral process of learning.  We internalize what we learned in the cognitive and affective stages.  We heard the gospel of Jesus.  We took it in our mind (cognitive).  We accepted it in our heart (affective).  A person’s habits come from whatever has been internalized in his or her mind and heart.

James said, “I will show you my faith by what I do.”  James 2:18.  Abraham’s faith and actions were working together and this is what made his faith complete (Jas. 2:22).  In other words, his faith became a part of the identity of his “complete self” – the integrated man.  Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on a rock.”  Matt. 7:24.  Jesus was talking about people whose habits, or practices, were being formed by internalizing the life principles He taught in the “Sermon on the Mount.”  This is the practice of the “righteousness of God” by faith of Christians who have received a gift of God’s righteousness by grace through faith.

We must not overlook the “If” in verse nine in relation to the salvation of our souls.  James spoke of a faith made complete by obedience but he also spoke of a useless dead faith (Jas. 2:17, 20).  In the scripture text for our lesson, Paul has established the place where a Christian’s faith abides.  It is in the heart; therefore, Christ is Lord of how we feel about our own personal life; how we feel about people; how we feel about God.  He is Lord of all consisting of our “world view” – our base by which we make our judgments and decisions.

We know we are sinners justified by faith, however, are now ready to speak out.  We have found our voice in this present evil age (Gal. 1:4).  We are not ashamed of Christ or His words (Luke 9:26).  The intent of Romans 10:10 is not merely a statement people might make before baptism.  This is the voice of a Christian with indwelling Deity.  This is a person who desires to proclaim his or her hope to those who do not have hope (I Pet. 3:13-16).  “As the scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.’”  Rom. 10:11.

Every Christian can speak about Christ to somebody – unless our faith has become useless and dead.  God forbid it should be true; however, should it be, we need to realize we are not saved.  We are in the same condition as were Paul’s kinsman according to the flesh.  Christians routinely examine our selves.  It is a part of our prayer lives.  We now know one thing we need to look for to determine if we presently have salvation.  Romans chapter ten, verse ten, clearly points out what we want to look for:  Faith in our hearts in Jesus gives us a justified life (Rom. 5:18).  If this faith is regularly confessing Jesus to the world, all other things being right, we know we are saved.  Salvation basically means our “self” is safe.  Our “safety net” is our faith, but faith alone will not provide the net as many false preachers proclaim (Jas. 2:24).    

Thanks to God, “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”  Romans 10:13.

Questions for Discussion

  1. How should chapters nine through eleven be viewed and read?
  2. How far back into the Old Testament do we need to go to find some of the roots of the Christian religion?
  3. What was Paul’s main concern as he wrote chapter ten of Romans?
  4. Make a summary paragraph about what we need to remember from chapter nine as we read chapter ten.
  5. Explain the way in which righteousness and life are synonymous.
  6. Why was Paul correct for being concerned about most of his fellow countrymen?
  7. Explain what is meant by the requirements of the law?
  8. What is the connection between the righteousness of God and the requirements of the law?
  9. List the three learning processes as they are described in this lesson.  Why might it be important to understand these processes in order to follow Paul’s thinking in our text?
  10. What is the relationship between the heart and faith of a Christian?
  11. How does righteousness by faith make intelligent sounds in this world? 
  12. How does Romans chapter ten, verse ten, relate to the doctrines of justification and sanctification?
  13. How inclusive is a Christian’s faith in relation to God’s word?
  14. Make the connection between faith in the gospel of Christ and “Christ in you?”
  15. How does evangelism enter into a discussion of how to locate “the word of faith?”

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply