7 Ways Paul Shows us How to Live by Faith in Romans 1:8-17
At the end of Romans 1:17, Paul says, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Faith is believing what God says about salvation and trusting in God for salvation. With that said, Paul shows us how to live by faith in these 7 ways in Romans 1:8-17.
1 Have an attitude of thanksgiving.
Paul’s first priority, as we see in verse 8, is to thank God for the faith of the Roman church. Paul had never visited the church in Rome at this point, but he’s heard about how the Roman believers were openly sharing their faith with non-believers. Not only had he heard of their faith, but all of the world has. And Paul’s thankfulness is not just for the Roman church, or even for their faith, but for the fact that the gospel was advancing. In Paul’s life, his number one priority was to see the gospel advanced and he was thankful when he saw it. Even with a church that was less than perfect. The same should be true in your life. You have the gospel, be thankful. You have the ability to share the gospel, be thankful. You have the ability to watch the gospel be advanced through other people, be thankful.
2 See your faith as a personal relationship with God.
In verse 8 Paul refers to God as his God (“First I thank my God”). Paul doesn’t see his faith in God simply as belief in an arbitrary force. He saw himself as belonging to God (Romans 1:1). To Paul, God was a close companion, a friend, a father. God has saved you. And he has adopted you as a son (Ephesians 1:5). If you have surrendered your life to God you are a son or a daughter of the King. Yes, the King is powerful and can be scary, but he’s your father! To live out your faith as a personal relationship with God you have to talk to God ( through prayer), listen to God (through his word), and walk with God (live by faith).
3 See everything you do as an act of worship to God.
In verse 9 Paul says, “For God is my witness whom I serve with my spirit…” The word that Paul uses for serve is the word latreuō which means serve/worship. With everything he has, even his very soul, Paul serves/worships God in all he does. Your number one motivation for everything that you do, should be to worship, or serve, God. EVERYTHING. Paul says in 1 Cor. 10:31, “…whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” When you do that, you will be amazed at how God advances the gospel through you.
4 Submit everything you do to the will of God.
Romans 1:8-17 makes it very clear that Paul desperately wanted to go to Rome. Particularly in verse 10, we see that Paul prayed to God that he would let him go to Rome. But notice the phrase in that verse, “…somehow by God’s will…” Paul’s desire to go to Rome to help in the advance of the gospel was a good desire. But the only way Paul was going to Rome was if he knew for sure that God was calling him there. Don’t just do things because you want to. In everything you do, seek the will of God.
5 Live in community with other believers.
One of the reasons Paul wanted to go to Rome was to encourage the believers there and to be simultaneously encouraged (Romans 1:12). We cannot live by faith without the community of faith. We need people to encourage us with the gospel when we are weak, to love us in the midst of pain, and to confront us when we sin. Satan’s work thrives when believers are in isolation. He wants you to be starved of community, so seek to be encouraged and seek to encourage other believers with the gospel.
6 Be friends with people who don’t believe in the gospel.
While in community with other believers, Paul sought to “reap some harvest” (Romans 1:13). Reaping harvest means seeing people come to know God. Living by faith, believing and trusting in God for salvation, is a commitment to the command of Jesus to make disciples of all people. As you go, as you live by faith, you also must be sharing your faith. The advance of the gospel, throughout all of history, has been contingent on believers’ willingness to share their faith. One of the most effective ways to spread the gospel is by being a friend to those who don’t believe the gospel – not just to preach the gospel at them, but to share the gospel through your genuine love and care as a friend.”
7 Trust in the power of the gospel in the midst of your sin.
Implied in verse 16 is the idea that Paul may have been tempted to feel some shame from the gospel. As John Stott points out, “There’s no sense in declaring that you’re not ashamed of something unless you’ve been tempted to feel ashamed of it.” Paul was not perfect, but Paul leaned on the power of the gospel to sustain his relationship with God and the declaration of his faith in God. You will never be perfect, and that’s okay. If you believe what God has said about salvation, namely that you need it because you’re not perfect, then you know you can’t be perfect. If you trust in what God has said about salvation, you know that you’ve been given a new standing by God that not only says, “not guilty,” but also means “new life.” That new life cannot be taken from you.