Romans 10: 5 – 10 (NKJV)
5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” 6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Righteousness of the Law
This scripture begins to draw our attention to two kinds of righteousness (Righteousness is the state of being right, getting things right). The righteousness which comes from the law and the ‘Righteousness of Faith’. It essentially describes the working of the law and the working of faith. The righteousness of the law ‘does’. It depends on the ability of a man to ‘do’ what is right. It is directly impacted by the imperfections of the doer. The weaknesses and short comings of the performer reflects directly on its outcome. Simply put, it depends on human effort. It is performance oriented. The workings of the law puts the burden on man. No wonder the Bible says that “No one is made righteous by the works of the law because the law will only expose the imperfections of man”. It is like asking a 2 year old child to lift 50 liters of water in order to show his strength. The task will not show his strength but will only expose how weak he is. It will show his inability to perform the task.
Righteousness of Faith
On the other hand, faith is not based on your ability. It is based on the ability of the one in whom you have faith, which is Christ. It is confident enough to speak! While the righteousness of the law “does”, the righteousness of faith “speaks”. Faith is not concerned about how it is going to get done. It does not bother itself with the complexities around, it does not see the impossibilities. Faith is fully persuaded by what Christ has accomplished, not what He is going to accomplish. It does not say “who will bring Christ from heaven or who will raise Him from the dead” because Christ has come and Christ is risen. That is where faith is different from hope. Hope talks of what will happen but Faith only talks of what has happened already. Faith believes these accomplishments and appropriates them by confessing them. Faith can only appropriate what Christ has accomplished.
1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV)
24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
We can have faith for health because “you were healed” it is accomplished. We don’t hope for healing, we were healed therefore we live in health by faith
2 Corinthians 8:9 (NKJV)
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
We can enjoy prosperity because “Christ became” poor that through His grace we might be rich. We don’t hope for prosperity, we prosper by faith.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. We are not going to be righteous he has made us righteous, therefore we live righteously by faith.
Notice in all the scripture examples above, the past tenses used. Which means they have all been accomplished. Our faith can only be based on what Christ has accomplished because there is no other foundation which can be built apart from that which has been built which is Christ. That is why the bible defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1). Verse 3 of the same chapter says that “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible”. When we are in faith, we have gone past hope we are talking of things which are already a reality. But not all these realities are visible. The fact that they are invisible does not make them less real. Our faith gives evidence to the things which are real but are not visible.
Giving Evidence to Invisible Realities
Our human courts admit different kinds of evidence. It could be physical, oral or other forms. A murder weapon is admitted as physical evidence while the testimony of a witness is admitted as oral evidence. In the same way, faith is the evidence we give to unseen realities, things which are accomplished but not yet manifested. When a woman expectant of a child goes to the market and buys baby things, she is giving physical evidence to her faith. When we confess by faith the things we believe, we are giving oral evidence to the things we have not yet seen. We also give evidence by taking a course of action that is in line with what we believe.
The Faith Process
The righteousness of faith is a 2 step process:
- It believes! The believing that the bible talks about in the opening scripture is not a mental assent or head knowledge. It talks about believing with your heart. And it goes further to say that “with the heart one believes unto righteousness”. It goes beyond knowing and assenting to what you know, it is an awareness (Epignosis) of the reality of the things Christ has accomplished for you, the finished works of Christ. You are already living in the reality of these things before ever they manifest. It is the point where the word of God is more real to the believer than the clothes he/she is putting on.
- It Speaks! The righteousness of Faith does not just believe, it speaks boldly of the things that it believes. When we make confessions as believers, we are not saying those things to convince ourselves, neither will the confession cause those things to happen, NO! We declare them because they have happened. God lives in eternity. In eternity things don’t happen by time sequence. Rev 13: 8 refers to Jesus as the “lamb slain from the foundation of the world”. We know that it took about 4000 years from Adam to Christ. It took 4000 years for an activity completed in eternity to manifest in time. Whatever is coded in eternity will need to be arranged in sequential order in order to be decoded in time. Translating eternity to time is like draining an ocean with a pipe. All the water already exists in the ocean of eternity, but to get it through the pipe of time, the water has to pass in sequential order because the bandwidth of time is limited, you have need of patience. The last drop of water may arrive at the other side of the pipe after many years, it does not change the fact that that last molecule of water was already in existence at the time the first drop came through the pipe. Our confessions are eternal realities.
How does Faith Come?
Romans 10: 17
17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
This scripture has 2 components. In order to understand it, let us break it down into its component parts
- Faith comes by hearing
- Hearing comes by the word of God
When we listen to the word of God, we hold the information in our mind, but the word of God in our minds cannot produce faith. It is intellectual knowledge. It is not more profitable than the physics principles we learnt in secondary school. The hearing that the bible is referring to here is what happens when you take the word of God from your mind, as raw material and process it into your spirit man. This entrance (hearing) of the word into your spirit brings light to your spirit. It is this hearing by the word that produces faith in a believer. When you locate what Christ has accomplished for you through the word and this becomes a reality in your spirit, and you make bold to declare these things, you are in Faith!