Romans, Theology

Obedience of Faith

I’m working on adult curriculum on the book of Romans (you’ll hear more about this).

Paul fills most of his introductions very full and the introduction to Romans is no exception–it may be the longest and most significant theologically (along with Ephesians). In Romans 1:5 Paul begins to shed light on the subject matter of the book.

through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations (ESV)

Two key thoughts:

1. The gospel message does not distinguish between evangelism and discipleship. I don’t believe God envisioned a two stage process. Accept Jesus’ as savior and at some time also become a disciple. Or as some might believe, all can be saved, but discipleship is for the committed.

The call to faith is not based on works, it is a call to a new kind of life–a relationship with God that requires obedience. So Paul calls it “obedience of faith.”

I do agree with those who see intentional ambiguity in the phrase, “faith, if genuine, always has obedience as its outcome; obedience, if it is to please God, must always be accompanied by faith” Doug Moo, NIV Life Application CommentaryBut for those who are interested there are at least four options (the NET Bible provides a simple explanation)

The phrase ὑπακοὴν πίστεως has been variously understood as (1) an objective genitive (a reference to the Christian faith, “obedience to [the] faith”); (2) a subjective genitive (“the obedience faith produces [or requires]”); (3) an attributive genitive (“believing obedience”); or (4) as a genitive of apposition (“obedience, [namely] faith”) in which “faith” further defines “obedience.” (NET Bible)

2. The message of the gospel is not man-centered, it is God-centered, it is about God’s glory (referred to as “doxological”). The purpose of Paul’s calling as an apostle and our mission as believers is the “obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations.” God desires His name to be praise, not just by me/us, but all nations.

Obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations–that is the mission. What an awesome privilege.


Soli Dio Gloria (Glory to God alone)

Author: Steve

Steve Kilgore joined the staff of Calvary Church in Lancaster, PA in the fall of 2002 as the Pastor of Discipleship to facilitate the equipping ministries, which include Adult Bible Fellowship and other adult discipleship ministries, and work with the rest of the education ministries. He currently serves as the Executive Pastor of Ministries with a focus on providing ministries that facility individuals taking intentional Next Steps for growing and participating in the leadership and administrative aspect at Calvary. He has also taught part-time at Lancaster Bible College in the area of Spiritual Formation and New Testament. Prior to coming to Calvary he served in two churches as well as taught part-time at Philadelphia Biblical University. He was born in Dallas, Texas, but spent the first 13 years of his life in Guatemala where his parents were missionaries. It was there at the age of four and a half that Steve placed his faith in Christ as his Savior. Steve received a Bachelor’s degree in Bible from Philadelphia College of Bible and a Masters of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Steve and his wife, Mary Anne, have their two boys, Andrew and Nathan (both in college), and live in East Lampeter Township. Steve lives and ministers by the personal motto, Know what you believe and why, live it, be able to defend it. His hobbies, other than playing with his family, include tinkering with computers, reading, drinking coffee with his wife, playing and watching basketball. Steve and Mary Anne are looking forward to exploring new hobbies as they transition to life as empty-nesters.

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