The Berean Expositor
Volume 17 - Page 109 of 144
Index | Zoom
The Epistle to the Romans
The just by faith shall live (Rom. 1: 17).
Three items of great importance remain to be considered before we can leave
Rom. i.17.They are:
1. The facts involved in the word" revealed."
2. The meaning of "faith."
3. The quotation from Hab. 2: 4
The Revelation of Righteousness and Wrath
The gospel of God was promised by the prophets of the Old Testament Scriptures.
With this fact Romans opens (1: I, 2). Not only so, but upon the declaration of the gospel,
the law and the prophets come forward as witnesses (Rom. 3: 21). Both Abraham and
David are cited in Rom. 4: as bearing witness to the initial fact of this gospel, namely,
the imputation of righteousness apart from works and only by faith. The inner teaching,
the mystery of it as associated with Adam and Christ, is opened up for the first time in
Rom. 5: 12-21, nevertheless Gen. 3: remains as originally written, and but confirms the
revelation given through Paul.
In Rom. 10: 6-10 a witness is found to the righteousness which is of faith in the
somewhat strange words of Moses recorded in Deut. 30: 12,13. The gospel, however, is
the chosen instrument for the REVELATION of the righteousness of God by faith,
which constitutes the power of the gospel, "But now the righteousness of God without
the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets" (Rom. 3: 21). Isa.
Ivi. I says, " My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed." Isaiah
said" near" ; Paul said" now."
Until the Lord had made the one great offering for sin, the full revelation could not
be given, the types and shadows could not be fully interpreted. Paul could preach Jesus
Christ according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret in times aionion,
but was then made manifest and by the Scriptures of the prophets confirmed, as we have
already seen, and made known among all nations for faith obedience (Rom. 16: 25-27).
We must not omit from our reckoning the statement of Rom. 1: 18-20. Here had been
another" revelation," other facts of God had been" made known," if not since the age
times, yet" since" the creation of the world. This revelation made known the" power" of
God, and left the disobedient without excuse, but it was not the power of God unto salva-
tion; it revealed the "wrath of God," but not the "righteousness of God by faith."
Conscience and creation declare the glory of God, and set forth His eternal power and
Godhead, but the gospel reveals that which alone can save poor sinful men, viz., "a
righteousness of God by faith."
The meaning of faith.
Perhaps no simpler illustration of the essence of faith is found in Scripture than is
contained in the words of Paul, "I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me"
(Acts 27: 25). The circumstances in which this statement was made were those of
human extremity. The ship on which Paul was being taken a prisoner to Rome had been
caught in a violent tempest. In the graphic language of Luke, an eyewitness, we learn that
when the ship could not bear up into the wind, " we let her drive." The strain on the great
central mast caused the timbers of the ship to spring, which necessitated what is called"
undergirding." The sailors then strake sail," or "lowered the gear," so that the great sail
should just steady the ship, "and so were driven." The danger increased and the ship was
further lightened, neither sun nor stars appearing for many days, and" all hope that we
should be saved was taken away." It was then that faith arose victorious. It was not just a
passing mood, nor the hysteria of a religious mind, it rested upon the spoken word and
promise of God :