Paul uses this phrase only twice in scripture; once in Romans 1:5 and once in Romans 16:26.
Reason leads one to believe that he explains the meaning of this phrase on the context of the chapter between these two verses.
This is exactly what he does.
The Two Phrases
By whom we have received grace and apostleship,
for obedience to the faith among all nations,
for his name:
~ Romans 1:5
Now to him that is of power to stablish you
according to my gospel,
and the preaching of Jesus Christ,
according to the revelation of the mystery,
which was kept secret since the world began,
but now is made manifest,
and by the scriptures of the prophets,
according to the commandment of the everlasting God,
made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
~ Romans 16:25-26
In the Greek (eis hupakoen pisteos) “for obedience of (or ‘to the’) faith” literally means, ‘to the obedience of faith.’
Instead of explaining the context of this holy command (for that would take a small book). I am going to give my heartfelt understanding underlying the motive and the necessity to lay hold of this command and to take it faithfully to the end.
First, let’s discuss a little about Paul’s literary style.
In the first example, Paul writes, ‘By whom we have received grace and apostleship.’
Paul often times uses the word ‘we’ when he is fervently sharing in his blessings, persecutions, or curse.
When Jesus met Paul on the road to Damascus, he was given the gift of grace while simultaneously receiving the gift and calling of apostleship. For him they are inseparable.
He was writing to the church in Rome who certainly were not called to be apostles but were given the gift of grace.
Just like God who so loved the world that he not only gave His only begotten son, He also shares with us all the blessings bestowed upon His creation, i.e., rainbows, the Bible, Holy Spirit, etc. God’s grace is so abundant that it overflows everywhere; pouring out a river of opportunity to any soul who will heed redemption’s call.
Paul’s apostleship and grace are examples of this. He shared with the church throughout the ages the love of God that was unfolded in him to the furtherance and completion of the gospel world-wide the end as written by John in Revelation.
Just like Romans 7 when Paul cried out, ‘O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?’
Here ‘body’ (soma) refers to the sinful nature of self that is sold to, under the sway, and power of sin.
When Paul wrote Romans, he was no longer under sin’s power since he was wholly saved and freed from sin by the power of God. But this was not the case before the precious blood of Jesus cleansed him from sin and guilt.
that our old man is crucified with him,
that the body of sin might be destroyed,
that henceforth we should not serve sin.
For he that is dead is freed from sin.
~ Romans 6:6-7
In Romans 7, he was sharing his experience of living under the law as a Pharisee, unregenerate, and bound to the law of sin and death. When he wrote this, he was freed from the law of sin and death and was resting in the Grace of God. He was writing to those who know the law and it implications as well as those who have not crucified the flesh through entire sanctification and still struggle when ‘the old man’ rears its head in their heart.
He shared the whole process of realizing God’s holy work when he was suffering under the bondage and power of sin to the road to Damascus and how he would eventually reveal the fact that the ‘old man’ can be completely put to death and crucified in Christ. We must strive to walk in complete obedience of faith lighted by Jesus and pioneered by the apostles.
Then and only then can we be overcomers; truly dead to sin and alive in Christ.
This is how God works: Everywhere the gospel is preached . . . it is preached to those in the bondage of sin. Rarely, are those who preach preaching from a pure heart free indeed from the reins of sin and bound and yoke of sin.
Throughout the ages this has been Christianity’s dilemma but Paul and a few others have shown us a more excellent way.
He shared in our sin,
so we can share in His suffering.
and rest in the hope,
that one day we’ll be counted worthy,
and join in holy union,
with Him for all eternity.
This my friend is the big picture of the overflowing, bountiful Love of God through the obedience of faith.
Okay. So, we see what God is sacrificing and sharing with us; He calls us to share with Him and give every bit of our self in obedience to His service.
A God that loves us so much to create a universe, provide a perfect salvation plan in case we mess up His perfect creation: And then, we not only mess up ourselves, we mess up every other creature and plant on the planet, and the very universe in which it exists. All because of our sinful disobedience.
Is it any wonder He commands us to stop (sinning): to cease from all willful transgressions of His law? To live a righteous life, for all unrighteousness is sin: And, to have a simple childlike faith, for anything not done in faith is sin.
There you have in a nutshell. The meaning and importance of ‘our obedience of faith’ is to submit uncompromisingly to the Lordship of Christ. If this is the case in your life; Glory to God! Keep fighting the good fight. Weary not in well doing for great is your reward in heaven.
If this is not the case in your life, then please read my post on ‘Stand in the Ancient Path.’ In it is a story of a Christian, who believing, being baptized, and following after the apostles, who was told by Peter that he would perish in Hell if he did not repent of his sin and get his mind, life, heart and nature right with God.
I apologize if the words in this post seem strong, course, or harsh. They were pulled from my heart in this fashion for a reason I know not of.
They are far from the beauty and sweetness of many who write of the things of God.
On that note, this is what has been singing in my soul all the day long today. May the words ring true in your heart.
’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.
I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.
Through preaching and study of the word; the mystery of the ages has been made known to you and me.
God has commanded us to obey the faith He has given us. He is more than able to establish and keep us in this faith. May you learn of Him more dearly; remembering and cherishing His love, wholly unto the end. For it is His love only that we are called to have and obey.
Compare your life with the life of the believer found in the beatitudes and see how you match up to the obedience that God expects from all who claim His precious name. God would not tell us how to live without providing a way for us to do it. I pray that God provides the grace to enable you to do just as He commands.
I am reminded of a title from one of Chick’s tracts, ‘This was Your Life.’