The One Who By Faith Is Righteous Shall Live!

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation
to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed *beginning and ending in faith,*
as it is written,“*The one who by faith is righteous shall live.*”
Romans 1:16-17 (ESV, *with more literal order of Gk. phrasing*)

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
…Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means!
On the contrary, we uphold the law.
Romans 3:28, 31

Faith upholds the law of God by its object and substance being Christ alone, who is “the end of law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Rom 10:4) It is only those who are righteous by faith that discover the transformative power of God’s grace. For if they shall ever have faith pure enough to walk righteously, it must be the same faith by which they were first declared righteous – even the faith of Christ, the free gift of God. It is He who begins the good work that must be allowed to finish it; lest having begun by the Spirit, we now seek to perfect ourselves by the flesh.

The scriptures declare that in this gospel “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith…” And this “to” is not to say that maturity develops into a different kind of faith, but greater faith of the same stock: indeed, that very same faith ever being freed of man-made baggage and dead works. For how is faith greater if it is not purer? The righteousness of God is revealed beginning and ending in faith. The faith like a mustard seed which grows into a great tree does not lose the nature of that mustard seed, nor can it afford to despise that pure form from whence it first sprouted. For the man doing so is “trampling the Son of God, and counting common the blood of the covenant in which he was sanctified, and insulting the Spirit of grace…” (Heb 10:29) Those who consider themselves to have advanced beyond Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice for sins make themselves incompatible with His continuing benefits. They abide not in the one keeping them, and their branch will wither. They forget that only the blood of Christ cleanses them from all sin; seeing that, just as Abraham’s faith ultimately rested in He who was to come, ours likewise can only rest in that same everlasting covenant. He who passed over our former sins at the same time passed over our future sins also; that we, having died and been raised in in Him, might now live to God. And only that same faith of the new child of God shall suffice to please Him. We do not grow out of the gospel, we grow into it. “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” (Rom 14:23) At the judgement seat of Christ, there will be a fiery judgment of everyone’s works – and what a shame it shall be for those whose foundation remains, yet nothing gracing it except filthy rags! They have stifled the possibilities of those great rewards by which they could praise God for His glorious grace in the midst of His assembly.

For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw – each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15

Therefore, let that which each man builds upon the foundation be derivative of the precious and immeasurable resource who IS that foundation! Many have forgotten that the faith of a child, lost in the wonder of God’s grace and the innocence of new life, is the only faith immense enough to truly move mountains. And shall not our Lord be allowed restore our souls day by day to such an estate? Only such unencumbered and unentangled faith has this capacity for holy increase, because it is ever rooted in God’s love and ever deepens in its discovery of His unceasing mercies.

He that followeth after righteousness and mercy
findeth life, righteousness, and honour.
Proverbs 21:21

We love because He first loved us! This is why He holds His own to such a high account. But if He had not loved us first, we would not be His own, and He would not hold us to account as a loving father holds His children. We would be with out hope in the world.

Yet some,under the guise of maturity and moving onward from the elementary principles of Christ, end up forsaking the elementary principles as though they were not compatible with the obedience of maturity. The faith of these is nearing shipwreck unless they repent of their dead works to fully believe the gospel. But if they return to that old vomit, they crucify to themselves the Son of God a second time and put Him to an open shame; and such are those whose inheritance is weeping and gnashing of teeth in the outer court of heaven. They kept not the garments freely given to them for the wedding feast, and they buried their talents. They undermined faith rather than walking in its fullness; therefore their souls do not prosper. But those who first find rest in the work of Christ find the key to surrender, that His works may show forth in them as they are finally liberated to obey Him. They are found working out the salvation already given, in the assurance that it is God who works in them to will and to do according to His good pleasure.

It is those who know that they are not condemned based solely upon the work of God in Christ who discover the freedom to abide in His grace, the only place where strength to walk uprightly is truly found. This is a great irony in light of the natural man, who cannot understand this mystery; for he seeks to establish its own righteousness rather than that which is by the faith of Christ.

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed
beginning and ending in faith, as it is written,
“The one who by faith is righteous shall LIVE…”

IN HUMILITY:

Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
Romans 4:4-8

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 5:6-11

WITH CONFIDENCE:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
Romans 8:1-5

…So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Romans 8:12-17

So let us not only be saved from the wrath of God; let us also keep the faith unto the fullest preservation of the soul! Shame on us; that there is much in God we have yet to obtain, while many have yet to be firmly rooted in the first things of Christ in order to go forward without shipwrecking their faith!

The man after God’s own heart is the man who keeps the faith. It is the man unwavering in his devotion to Christ, despite his failing heart and flesh, who discovers increasing victory over the darkness therein by the Spirit of God. Those who do not find rest in God must be reminded again of the elementary principles of Christ should they be able to be kept by Him from stumbling. It is those who see the faithfulness of God in Christ that are enabled to pursue faithfulness. It is those who know they are holy by God’s account that are enabled to be holy. It is the scandalous mercy of God in His holy Son being offered for the filth of the world which turns the hearts of men to the fear of the Lord. That we should adjust this gospel to appeal to the self-righteous heart is a reprehensible notion; and it reveals self-righteousness in ourselves.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God.
John 3:17-21

It is those who see HIM that become like Him. That which they have seen and heard, they declare. There is a famine of seeing and hearing Jesus Christ and Him crucified in this land. There may be much teaching about the forgiveness of Christ; but men are not called to the substance of a faith which denies the tyranny of self-reliance and the restless man-made religion of the inner heart. Many of God’s children still need to be fully reconciled to Him in Christ. He is the vindicator of those who hang themselves fully upon Him.

Christ Jesus came trading life for life. All the evils of the curse which ail men are the symptoms of Christ not being lifted up in their place. But the church has lifted up man in the place of Christ – this is the very definition of antichrist. It is the gospel inverted. It is man’s ascension without God’s gracious condescension. It is the partaking of the tree of knowledge to the removal of the tree of life. It is the seeking of all but the kingdom of God and His righteousness to the ultimate loss of all. It is the disguise of the flesh as having made itself spiritual, to the quenching of the Spirit of God. In pursuing for themselves the thing spoken by God to His heavenly offspring, “Ye are gods” (Ps 82), they will never arrive at it and they will die like all men. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”” (Rom 9:32-33)

The lie of the serpent has never changed. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Then do not throw away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of patience, that having done the will of God you may obtain the promise.
“For, yet a very little and the One coming will come, and will not delay. But the just shall live by faith; and if he draws back, My soul is not pleased in him.”
But we are not of those withdrawing to destruction, but of faith, to the preservation of the soul.
Hebrews 10:35-39

Keep the faith.
Run the race.
Hold fast in the gospel.

But, brothers, I reveal to you the gospel which I preached to you, which you also received, in which you also stand, by which you also are being kept safe, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you in the first place what I also received, that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised the third day, according to the scriptures…
1 Corinthians 15:1-4

And we who are kept safe by holding fast to this gospel do not believe in vain; not because of our works, but because HE is risen.

But if Christ has not been raised, your faith is foolish; and you are still in your sins. And then those that fell asleep in Christ were lost. If we only have hope in Christ in this life, we are of all men most miserable. But now Christ has been raised from the dead; He became the firstfruit of those having fallen asleep. For since death is through man, also through a Man is a resurrection of the dead; for as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:17-22

In the flesh dwells no good thing. But in HIM we are no longer in our sins. It is the unbelieving who die in their sins. But the new creature cannot sin for he is born of God, and God’s seed abides in him. It is for a good witness and great reward unto God’s glory that we must walk by faith after the Spirit, and not by sight after the flesh. For “faith is the substantiation of things having been hoped, the evidence of things not having been seen. For by THIS the elders obtained WITNESS.” (Heb 11:1-2, LITV)

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed
beginning and ending IN faith, as it is written,
“The one who by faith is righteous shall LIVE.”

Fear & Holiness

The fear of God is the crucible in which those who earnestly seek Him and His ways are perfected in holiness.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Proverbs 9:10

Most teachers of men today boast of a “wisdom” which, in its true practice, exists utterly apart from a real and tangible fear of the living God; and they speak of an “understanding” which could never stand under the scrutiny of the light of His holiness. If only they could behold the sight of the living creatures before the throne, who, though they are perpetually in His immediate presence, have nothing to express except to cover their eyes and feet and cry, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY!” But would this people take such things to heart, even if they saw them with their waking eyes? Would they see that to fear Him is no evil thing, but it is rather to have the fountain of life; and that by walking the fear of Him they are delivered from the snares of death (Prov 14:27)?

What dread we ought to have in this late hour for the lack of the knowledge of the holy! What fear and trembling ought to overtake the heart of any who would claim to know the Lord, He who now speaks of great and dreadful things coming upon the assembly of His people! What zeal for obedience and righteousness ought to consume them, for the spirit of repentance and of weeping over their desolate state! O, that they would behold the horror of their iniquity, and turn, and cry out for the purging and purifying fires of the Lord’s altar to fall upon them and consume all that offends HIM!

“For it is more profitable to you that one of your members should perish
rather than all your body be thrown into Hell.”

Yet who will ask of the Lord to reveal the hidden things of darkness and expose their sins before Him, knowing that in His light no man can hide the unfruitful works of darkness? For only in His light shall we see light for ourselves; for their cannot be a holy people consecrated unto God unless all the ways of filthiness, dishonesty, and strife are put away, and the hearts turned away from stubborn rebellion to faithful obedience, and the spirit of a flaunting prostitute changed for the spirit of a devoted bride.

O that there would be such a heart in them, that they would fear Me,
and keep all My commandments always, that it might be well with them,
and with their children for ever!”
Deuteronomy 5:29

There is an unholy “gospel” in the land, which hates the exposure of sin, which passes over the bonds of wickedness so that the unrighteous are justified to remain in them. A man is told that to sin willfully without recompense is to be free in the in the grace of God. Not a more vile and soul-damning lie has ever been published from the gates of hell!

For the scriptures declare, By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.” (Prov 16:6) A gospel with no power to purge a man of iniquity is a gospel devoid of mercy and truth. A gospel which does not invoke the fear of the Lord is a gospel which does not challenge the presence of evil. The gospel of which Paul was not ashamed is a gospel not worthy to be ashamed of! For it is not the gospel of the lawless, to whom Jesus will say “Depart from Me.. I never knew you;” but rather it is the glorious gospel of God which reconciles men unto HIM by conforming them to the image of His Son!

And of the victory found in this gospel of the new covenant, the apostle Paul could say,
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death…” (Rom 8:2)
Now every law has a lawgiver, and every lawgiver is the arbiter of the judgements according to it. And if our Lawgiver has even provided the very means by which the righteous requirement of His law might be fulfilled in us, “how then will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”

The true gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation: it is the impartation not only of forgiveness of sins past, but also of freedom from the very power of sin and of deliverance from evil, that we might serve the Father in heaven and walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called; so that to the powers both in heaven and on earth, the manifold wisdom of God might be shown through the redeemed, who are the pure and spotless bride of His Beloved Son (Eph 3:10). THIS is the victory in which Christ triumphed over sin, death, and all the power of the enemy.
Therefore “let everyone who is called by the name of the Lord depart from iniquity,” and let soberness of mind be cultivated in us all, waiting upon the voice of He who says to the meek, “Come.”

Ezekiel was given an ear to the council of God when the Lord commanded His angels that those who wept and sighed for the abominations done in their city were to be marked, so that they might be spared when those without His mark were slain by the angels. And to the ones carrying out the slaughter of the profane He commanded, “begin at my sanctuary.” (Read Ezekiel ch 8-9)

It is into such a day that I am convinced we are now quickly moving. While abominations are being tolerated in the midst of those who claim to be His people, and most of that which calls itself the house of the Lord is truly the greatest spiritual whore upon the earth, who now is found weeping and sighing before Him? Who is found bearing the heaviness of the burden of His heart, interceding on behalf of the people, repenting for their sins and calling them out of Babylon, that He might relent and show mercy to them? The scriptures say, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” (2 Chr 16:9) He sees all that is done in secret, whether good or evil. He discerns the thoughts and intentions of the heart. He knows whether this one is righteous or that one wicked, and He shall repay every one according to their deeds, that they may eat the fruit of their ways. “The Lord knows those who are His.” He is preparing to mark His own and to cleanse HIS house of that which does not belong.

It is not a working of man’s arm, but rather of God’s hand.

Therefore let yourself be judged only by the word of Christ, truly obeying His call, knowing that the love of this present world and the lusts thereof are the bondage of one not fearing God. For the world does not fear Him, nor do those who are ensnared in its lusts; but the one who fears Him and obeys the word of the Spirit of Christ is the one who truly loves Him. Those who fear the Lord need fear no other, for the Spirit He has given is “of power, of love, and of a sound mind.” For if, in the fear of God, you have died with Christ and thereby abide in His love, your soul shall live, and you have also overtaken “the second death” (which is the lake of fire – Rev 20:14).

And if anyone rejoices in the truth, let them be found living in the piercing light of His word, which expels the darkness both within and without; that in the fear of God we may have fellowship as we walk in His light, in which we remain cleansed (1 John 1:7).

This is the judgment: that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.
(John 3:17-21)

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty.
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:2

He Is Worthy

The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Thou art worthy, o Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for THY pleasure they are and were created.”
Revelation 4:10-11

The life of a true worshiper takes no thought of its own pleasure in receiving back from God, nor considers what reward may come of service, but rather delights in only God Himself being glorified; for one who has beheld the Lord of Glory knows that their is no good apart from Him. The living creatures before the throne of God are always in His immediate presence, yet even they still cannot utter a word without the accompaniment of “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God Almighty…”

Those who have not been undone as Isaiah was upon the revelation of the holiness of God (Isa 6) cannot touch the depths of the heart of the Father for the purification of His children, nor know His grief for their deviations and so humble themselves and repent. Let us humble ourselves and be brought to the only pure motive of service to the pleasure of the Almighty: that He is worthy. Do you not find it wonderful that He is worthy even to receive the “amen” of both those who He blesses and those whom He curses? For every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. On the day of judgement, their will not be one among the wicked, as each stands before the Holy One, who will not respond to their verdict with, “amen.”

The judge of all the earth will do right. And how can He not be praised for such virtue? Surely He who will not compromise justice in pouring out wrath upon His enemies, and yet is longsuffering with us all and forgives the repentant, even we who have opposed Him; surely He alone is worthy of all that He demands, and is right to do so!

Yet the ascribing of such worthiness to God is not the posture of those who have not sincerely and humbly asked of the Lord, “Show me THY glory.” Such is the pure-hearted request of one who fears God, one who is of a single eye toward HIS purposes, who seeks the knowing of the Holy One, which is true understanding. But who will so forsake what they have in this world and consider it refuse for the sake of knowing Him? For the only true and eternal life is that which is hidden with Christ in God. There is no good apart from him!

“If we deny Him, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny HIMSELF.”

He is faithful to himself! He cannot be faithful to us unless we are in Him! He is faithful to his own word! So let us be found in submission to His word lest we be found outside of His pleasure! It is for HIS will and pleasure that all things were created; being created “by Him, through Him, and to Him.”

“Think this within you, which mind was also in Christ Jesus, who subsisting in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, having become in the likeness of men and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, having become obedient until death, even the death of a cross. Because of this also God highly exalted Him and gave Him a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly ones, and earthly ones, and ones under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
(Philippians 2:5-11)

O, that even one among the children of men would forsake the pride of this life in seeking the glory of God, according to Whose mercies we are not consumed in wrath! For there is no effective resistance of the devil and his devices apart from humility before God. There is nothing which God hates more, or can do as little about (beyond utter judgement), as unrelenting pride. Whoever exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted. The body of Christ remains in atrophy so long as we its members are unwilling to have our hearts cut through by His word, our pride crushed under the heaviness of the conviction of His holiness, and our minds renewed through submitting to His loving discipline

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the LORD, and HE will exalt you.
James 4:4-10