Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 1

Godís people must live by faith

Romans 1:17

This verse repeats some words from Habakkuk 2:4. Those words were important to the first Christians; they also appear in Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38.

There are different opinions about what the Book of Habakkuk means by those words. However, what the first Christians meant by them is very clear.

The first Christians saw, firstly, that only a person with a right relationship with God could please him.

They read the descriptions of such a person in the Bible, for example in Psalm 1 and Psalm 15. It was their eager desire at all times to please God (2 Corinthians 5:9).

They also saw that it is impossible to achieve such a relationship by human effort. Nobody lives in a truly perfect manner (3:10). The result of our wrong deeds is death, not life (6:23). However, Jesus came to give to people life that never ends (John 3:16).

Therefore, we must come to God by means of trust in Christ, in other words, faith. The first Christians recognised that their relationship with God, from beginning to end, depended entirely on faith in Christ.

In Galatians 3:1-5, Paul warned the Christians in Galatia that they had accepted a false idea. They began their Christian lives when they trusted God in faith. However, now they were trying to please God by their own efforts. Instead, they should be trusting God to direct their lives by his Holy Spirit. In other words, they should live by faith (by trust in God).

That was how Godís people had lived in the past (Hebrews 11:13). In fact, it is the only right way for Godís people to live at any time. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

Next part: We have no excuse when we do not obey God (Romans 1:18-21)


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© 2022, Keith Simons.