This passage is the nuts and bolts of Romans where, in one sentence, Paul sums up his epistle and his life. Paul lived his life, not in theory, but in the fact that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, and shows the only way of justification! Paul was totally surrendered and poured out to God with gratitude and indebtedness that infused and permeated all that he was and did. Our faith and trust in Christ must infuse us also so that all we do is a reflection of Christ working in us! If not, all we have is a religion and a philosophy-and not righteousness and impacting faith. As Christians, we are to live out our faith with passion and conviction, being not ashamed of who we are in Christ.
· OurPower refers to the life-changing power of the Word of God-the Gospel-and of the Spirit to totally transform us as He did with Paul. Only this power can remove our stubborn nature that bonds us to sin and that refuses His grace. We cannot receive His grace without the Power that intervenes and removes our bond of sin. (Rom. 5:6; 8:5-9). Power is Salvation; it is by the work of Christ alone, through the Holy Sprit!
· We are not to be embarrassed of who we are as Christians, nor, are we to fear sharing our faith! Thus, we as Christians must live by faith as this is the smart thing to do (1 Cor. 1:22-30)!
· Faith is based on knowledge given by God.
· Faith is not just simple trust; faith is not blind trust either, because we know the One who is leading!
· Our faith is based on historical evidence, logical reasoning, and valid testimonies. Our life must be dictated and expressed by what Christ has done for us.
· Faith is still trusting what is not seen and believing our God (Rom. 1:16-32; 5:1-11; 10:14-17; Gal. 3:1-4; Eph. 2:8-9; James 2:14-26)!
· We did not earn our faith; hence, grace is the ultimate free gift.
· Every aspect of faith is built on faith, and nothing else; this is the corner stone of the Gospel (Hab. 2:4). This means we are to trust God and His promises and provision. In Habakkuk, those who survive the Judgment do so because of their faith in God. Faith in the O.T. meant to pledge one's life on the assertions that God gives (Jos. 24:15).
· Our response to faith is by godly living, and exercising out our faith with trust and obedience, whatever we face! It is not looking at our situation; rather, it is looking to God. God desires and deserves our whole-hearted loyalty, allegiance, trust, obedience, and devotion; so, what is stopping you?
· Have you realized that your debt has been cleared, your sin has been covered, and your dread has been replaced with wonder and eternity? Then, how has it affected your life? Do you obey His call and precepts? Does this transformed life impact others around you? Do you "get it" that everything you are is because Christ is in you? If not, why? What is in the way? Are you willing to go on your knees to seek His face and His righteousness for your life? Without it, you have nothing but debt and sin!
· Thanksgiving of faith; who Christ is and what He has done (1 Cor. 11:4; Phil. 1:3; Col. 1:3; 1 Thess.1:2; 2 Thess.1:3; 2 Tim. 3:1; Philemon 4).
· We are to Obey the Holy Spirit and submit to His precepts and Will (Rom. 8:13)! Not our will (Eph. 1:15; Phil. 1:9; Col. 1:9; 1 Thess. 1:3; 2 Thess. 1:11; 2 Tim. 1:3)!
· Encouraged. One of the chief purposes of the Church is to encourage and strengthen one another in faith for His service, something so few of us actually do (Eph 1:15; 4:15-16; Phil. 1:6-9)!
· Devout Jews in Paul's time would spend many hours a day in prayer-as do many dedicated Christians today!
· We have our plans; He has His. Guess what? His will win out!
· Paul's will was conquered with a sense of gratitude and indebtedness to Christ. Are you totally submitted to God's ways? Do you feel indebted, or do you feel owed (1 Cor. 6:19-20)? Being "poured out" means to take the focus off yourself and place it on others, as Christ did for us. Paul spent his life to express it! Jesus gives us the ultimate example of being poured out (Matt 26:28; Rom. 5:5)! Our response is John 3: 5; 30; Phil. 2:14-18!
· Mutual faith means encouragement, support, and using spiritual gifts, all working as a team. (Eph. 4:15-16) This is the strength of the church; without it, we will fail.
· Beware the failure to hear the call of our Lord because of the noise of our will. Being set apart for the Gospel is to be totally at the disposal of our Lord and master.
· Paul calls himself a "bondservant" (Rom. 9:3), the lowest form of a slave in Greek times who was totally at the master's disposal and even expendable; they rowed the boats of war with a whip at their back. This means totally surrendered devotion; the slave/disciple of the Lord has a will that has been sacrificed to God's will, and thus is totally at the disposal of our Lord! Paul's slavery is his freedom (Gal. 1:15; 2:20)!
1. What does it mean to live by faith and express it? Make sure that you look for it in others to find a mentor for yourself. Not being ashamed of who we are in Christ is the key to the necessary courage needed for sharing our faith and building our church. Do you agree?
2. In view of the fact that we are free from sin, what are we going to do about it? How is it going to affect our lives and develop our purpose?
3. How does the Holy Spirit come into play with your courage?
4. Read 1 Cor. 1:22-30; what are your stumbling blocks?
5. How do you live out your faith with passion and conviction?
6. How can you live out your faith better with passion and conviction?
7. Are we, as Christians, focused on Christ and what He did for us, then showing that thankfulness back to Him and to those around us? Or, are we self focused, only caring about ourselves and giving God maybe a thought on Sunday? This focus will create our determination and purpose for our lives, based either on God or on our wrong doings!
8. Our response for what Christ did for us is godly living, and exercising our faith with trust and obedience in whatever we face! How have you done this? How can you do this better? What about when your life is crashing in all around you, maybe through a job loss, death or divorce of a spouse, cataclysmic sickness, or everything all at once?
9. Do you feel better, stronger, and more mature and ready to face things now that you have gone through adversity?