Core Values guide companies in their work. When a company has strong core values, every decision they make takes those values into account. Strong core values can prevent companies from making mistakes that ruin their reputation and end up destroying the company. When companies and employees fail to live up to those values, the business begins to slide. Profit allows companies to stay in business, so most companies include profit as a part of their values. It’s a funny thing, though, but when making money becomes the prime core value the company looks at, the company goes downhill.
Just as businesses need to follow their core values, so do churches and people. You will see that most churches have mission statements. Activities and ministries of the church should relate to the mission statement. People have core values too. We don’t normally write them down, because, hey, we’re just living, but we have those core values. Paul, writing to the Romans, shared a core value that every Christian should have. “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” (Romans 1:17)
This verse explains why Paul is not ashamed of the gospel (vs. 16). The gospel reveals the righteousness of God that is available to all people. That righteousness is found in living by faith. This passage and passages in Galatians brought Martin Luther to the point of breaking with the Roman Catholic Church as he realized that God deals with us through faith alone. No amount of good works can make God happy. If we want to live in a righteous relationship with God, it must be through faith. Micah deals with this same concept in chapter 6. If you are trying to make God happy, there is nothing you can do. Paul quoted the book of Habakkuk (2:4) as a reminder to the Jews that this doctrine of righteousness by faith alone was not new. There are a lot of things that I “do” as a Christian, but not one of them would please God if I wasn’t living by faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him. (Hebrews 11:6) I’m sharing these different passages because living by faith is a core value for Christians and this belief appears throughout God’s word.
Living by faith produces changes in the way we live. It affects our dealings with other people. The counter example to living by faith is shown in the rest of Romans 1. (vs. 18-32) The descent into wickedness leads to horrible behaviors. That descent is caused because people are not living by faith. They have decided that they can do things on their own. They don’t honor or recognize God as God. The lowest point of living without faith is found in vs. 32: “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” That last verse is a pretty accurate description of our world today, including many who claim the name of Jesus as Savior. When you live by faith and you see wickedness, the knee jerk reaction is to look at the behaviors of wickedness and try to change them. The cure for wickedness is not a behavior change though, it’s a faith change. We need to show people who are caught in their sin the mercy and grace of God through Jesus Christ. Our lives should show the joy of living by faith. If you don’t have the joy; if following Christ is drudgery, then stop trying to please God with your efforts and begin living by faith. Trust God. Trust Him to lead you and guide you in your daily life. Experience joy in His presence throughout each day.
Lord God, living by faith is such an exhilarating experience. Thank You for the joy of experiencing Your presence each day. I pray that my joy may show others how to live by faith.