Authentic faith in our Creator is not a blind leap into the dark, but it is a committed trust in God based on His revelation of Himself in nature and in Scripture. It is not an act of irrationality but a conviction grounded in the surety of the resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 15). Knowing that the Lord is trustworthy, faith holds firm to God even in the most difficult of circumstances, confident that He will never fail to keep His promises (Gen. 22:1–14).
Faith is eminently rational because it is faith in the supreme revelation of God—Jesus Christ. And as we see in the Gospels, those who trust in Jesus are never the same. Faith results in a life of ever-increasing obedience to our Maker, in our being willing to die unto ourselves more and more and to take up our cross in following Jesus (Mark 8:34).
In sum, righteous people live by faith; their continuing trust in God demonstrates that our Lord sees them as righteous, and they bear fruit in acts of righteousness. This is part of what Paul is getting at in today’s passage. Of course, our acts of obedience are not the ground on which we are declared righteous in God’s sight, for only the perfect righteousness of Christ is the basis for our acceptance by God (Rom. 5:12–21; 2 Cor. 5:21). This righteousness is received only by faith. Nevertheless, those whom God declares righteous He is also conforming to the image of His Son. Faith continues after our conversion, our trust in God proving that we have been reconciled to Him in Christ and moving us to greater and greater obedience.
A few days ago, we saw that one essential component of saving faith is fiducia, which is the personal trust that we place in Christ to save us. But fiducia means not only that we entrust ourselves to Christ once but that we do so over the course of our lives. We give our lives continually to Jesus, pledging and living out our loyalty to Him. Inspired by our personal trust in the promises of God, we are loyal to Him, and we strive never to compromise our loyalty to Him and His way.
Loyalty to God bears fruit in our continuing commitment to Him but also in our loyalty to others. Those whom God has declared righteous live lives of integrity because they live by faith, by abiding trust and commitment to God. Living by faith means we keep our promises to God and to other people. It means we can be trusted when we make commitments. By faith, we are being conformed to Christ, the eminently trustworthy One, and so we imitate Him in becoming more trustworthy ourselves.